Student Doctor Network – Great Tools For Pre-Med Students

Choosing a medical career has always been an extremely esoteric and difficult path. While many choose it for prestige, the great compensation, to benefit others’ lives, or to take on the ultimate educational and responsibility test, becoming a certified physician or medical expert in any field is no easy feat.

This problem is exacerbated by the amount of data available online, acting as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be extremely beneficial to have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, but the data provided to you must mean something if it should be given any merit. With so many options to choose from, Physicians Thrive is proud to review the Student Doctor Network – A non-profit aimed at helping students and physicians break the barrier of access to information.


What is the Student Doctor Network?

The Student Doctor Network is a non-profit that is volunteer-led and puts the community first. It brings together different resources, fact-checks them, and provides unique insights to its users and readers. SDN was created to cater to students who were having a difficult time deciding which path to take in their life. Student Doctor Network is not just focused on those who are looking to advance their medical career during their studies but also connects practicing physicians and specialists in their field with the network and resources necessary to increase their earning potential, and peace of mind, and get some time back in their day.

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History of Student Doctor Network

Student Doctor Network was founded in 1999 by licensed medical professionals, doctors, and a combination of medical and pre-med students. The core foundation was focused on the dissemination of proper data and information to its readers and users, and not on turning a profit. This has been at the core of the SDN principles, being funded through sponsorships and donations. The not-for-profit aims to achieve its mission of building a diverse doctor workforce by providing resources, tools, and community forums where members can discuss with one another.

For more than 2 decades, the SDN has remained independent and unbiased in its publications. The core competencies that first began this community have not changed, even with the advent of social media. Before mainstream platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok were used in daily life, it was difficult for students to find the necessary information on the web. In time, the opposite issue has arisen. Not only is there too much information being offered, but much of it can also be biased toward the person giving out the information, especially if it is sponsored or for-profit. Furthermore, marketing and advertisements can cloud the message, so much so that those who claim to help, can sometimes provide further detriment.


Student Doctor Network Mission

The mission statement for the Student Doctor Network website is to “provide free, independent and unbiased information to students” as well as “(offering) an education website that is dedicated to building a diverse doctor workforce.” As stated above, this originally meant going beyond counselors and advisers that were offered by some established educational institutions, who either did not have enough resources available to coach and mentor each student or took a more generalized approach to deal with the demand for information and guidance. SDN utilized the power of the growing internet phenomenon at the time to create a website that contained all the information necessary for taking your studies further, and where to seek additional guidance.

This was revolutionary at the time, as many were using the power of the internet for entertainment, rather than for informational purposes, much less so without seeking to turn a profit. Fast forward to today, social media, blogs, websites, and articles are constantly being created in an attempt to either:

  1. Attract a following to monetize through sales of goods and services, such as consultations and survey reports
  2. Offer free, generalized information while capturing an audience, and selling this information to larger corporations for advertisements and re-targeting efforts.

This is why the site monitors all information that is coming into sight for tracked marketing, stealth advertisements, and overall generalized, useless, or low-effort data/information. Every sponsor, poster, and partner is carefully scrutinized to tie into the mission statement that the SDN is upholding 23 years later.

Originally, SDN was a series of multiple websites that were tied together in 1999, which was the year of inception. Since then, many websites that fit the same niche and category have joined the network. Sites such as Medschooldiary.com, MedSchoolReady, MD Applicants, and Scutwork became part of the SDN brand, which fits with the ongoing message that tailors its information to the relevant information that is available today on all platforms.


How The Student Doctor Network Helps Its Users

SDN prides itself on being a one-stop shop for all answers within the medical realm. On the home page, students and physicians can choose between their fields, which include:

Once you click through to the field of choice, immediate resources are available to get you started. The site can seem overwhelming at first but is carefully curated so that all information and sections can display their intended audience. For example, the medical field introductory page contains a checklist of the resources and steps needed to take for proper entry into your medical school of choice. The click-through link contains a free pre-made planner app that allows users to observe and interact with all steps necessary for completion, finally finishing when you start your first year in medical school. This also tracks extracurriculars.

The help doesn’t stop there. Under the resources tab, you can find various helpful instruments that are conducive to having a long-term career in your desired field. This includes an activity finder, “How-To” style admission guides, MCAT study prep, and various test site reviews. For those who are looking for more specialized assistance on a current topic, there is a search bar available at the top right of the page for you to query. This can often lead you to a fact-checked article on the site that has been reviewed, moderated, and checked for validity. Articles often feature Q&As with surgeons, AMA (ask me anything) style posts with doctors, and various steps to take if you fall on hard times, such as being fired from a residency program.

Finally, the site includes a community forum that is strictly moderated. This is to invite open discussion not only between the users but allows those who have taken the same steps as you would like to in the future to communicate the journey and path that they took to get there. This provides unique learning opportunities, and may even propel you forward faster when learning not only what to do, but what should not be done.

There are multiple resources available to pre-med, medical students, and graduates, as well as current practicing physicians, to either grow their practice or to compare salary ranges. While SDN does have some articles available on financial assistance, it does not paint an entire picture of your possible circumstances. This is why Physicians Thrive was created, to help you determine whether you have achieved your best possible compensation package, and to review your financial bill of health, so you can focus on your clients.

Pre-Med Students

Pre-Med students are offered curated content and information on the site, as it was created for someone who was just embarking on their educational journey. Perhaps the most helpful resources for Pre-Med students are:

  • The Specialty Selector
  • MCAT Study Schedule
  • Q&A/AMA Articles

The specialty selector allows you to explore every resource available for going down a certain path. While this does not focus on extremely specialized fields, such as different types of surgery, it does help you choose which education you’d like to pursue to weigh the pros and cons of your selected passion. For example, going through this site as an aspiring dentist will give you access to all guides and planners necessary for the steps taken towards venturing off on this journey. Perhaps you may stumble upon the veterinary page and find that this is more suitable. This can come down to

  • Interests
  • Education
  • Compensation
  • Availability in your area
  • ….and a variety of other factors.

Related: How to Write a Medical School Letter of Intent

Medical Students

Medical students have different and unique needs from Pre-Med students. While it is not uncommon to switch one’s focus, it is much less probable that you will change an entire career path, such as becoming a podiatrist vs a psychologist. Furthermore, medical students have a degree of other needs. You are not focused on your MCATs, and you most likely will not be looking to switch schools once you are there. The issue with many sites is that the information does not apply to you, because it is mostly focused on preparing someone for admissions or the actual steps necessary for entry onto the campus.

Medical students need to start preparing for residency, their practice and looking at where they would like to spend their time learning. This is why the resources section would be extremely beneficial to you. Here you will be able to find many tools at your disposal to advance or prepare for your medical career once you have finished your studies. The activity finder is a carefully built tool that provides you with many opportunities around your field. This includes

  • Medical and Clinical Work Experience Locator
  • Research Experience Locator
  • Shadowing Experience Opportunities
  • Local Volunteer and Community Service

Your admission cost and your school fees are bad enough. Don’t spend another dime looking for your first opportunity.

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Physicians

The name, Student Doctor Network, generally describes who this site is going to be useful for. Physicians can still benefit greatly, especially if they are just opening their clinic or finishing residency. Most of the tools available may contain certain opportunities, but may not be useful for someone that is already established, or already has a few years under their belt. For physicians, the articles and forums are a great way to network with others in your specialization to determine your standing. Furthermore, there are a variety of articles that focus on your finances, such as budgeting, malpractice insurance, tax planning, and investing. All-in-all, while there are over 1000 articles related to the medical field, there are less than 10 available on the topic of insurance and long-term investing.

While Physicians Thrive does find most of the information valuable on the SDN site, physicians that are looking to get their finances in order may benefit greatly from our site. Check out our complete guide to life insurance, where we answer your questions on term vs permanent life insurance, common riders, and the importance of investing in an insurance package as early as possible.

Related: What Do You Do About Your Job When Your Life Changes?


Cost

We’ve scoured the website to determine any additional fees and costs that could occur as a result of using the site. SDN claims that its site is completely free and that it is a non-profit. Both claims turn out to be 100% true. SDN is a non-profit educational organization, whose site is kept running by volunteers, regular donations, sponsorships, and expert article submissions. Articles and experts who speak on different topics are rigorously vetted before they are allowed to disseminate their information on the site. This not only ensures that the information is current and accurate but also catches more nefarious actors, such as those who are looking to market their services covertly or to capture an audience’s interest in their consumer data.

In this regard, SDN also claimed to have made a portion of its proceeds from Google AdWords. While this is a common way to monetize an informational site, it would go against their principles to not sell their data to larger corporations. Upon reviewing the site, there are no sponsored posts or affiliate links, simply un-intrusive banner ads that sometimes are found at the top or bottom of the page, which are given by 3rd party providers.

Overall, it seems that SDN is not only free in terms of monetary cost but is also free in that it doesn’t capture your data for resale.


Conclusion

Overall, SDN is a great site for new and current students and does offer a great community for already-established physicians. With this being said, compensation reviews, financial articles, and mitigating risk for your clinic or profession seem to be lacking on the site.

This is the importance of using a dedicated compensation review provider such as Physicians Thrive. Our comprehensive free report answers your most common questions, such as:

  • Which physicians make the most money?
  • How does your specialty compare against the salaries of physicians in other areas of medicine?
  • How much are physicians making?
  • Which specialties are in the greatest demand?

Read our free report today!

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