Dictonary.com defines the practice of medicine as “the art or science of restoring or preserving health or due physical condition, as by means of drugs, surgical operations or appliances, or manipulations: often divided into medicine proper, surgery, and obstetrics.” With more than 120 specialty and sub-specialty areas, medicine actually encompasses a varied field of study and practice.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, medical school is organized into two training components: “Basic science training usually occurs during the first two years of medical school when you learn about basic medical concepts, the structure and functions of the body, diseases, diagnoses, and treatment concepts. You’ll also learn the basics of doctoring, such as taking medical histories and other essential competencies. The last two years of medical school will involve clinical clerkships, during which time you will receive basic instruction and hands-on experience with patients in the major medical specialties.”
By the end of the third year during the clerkships or rotations through specialty areas, students typically decide on a specialty area. During the final year, students apply for a residency.