AMA: Why medical school may be the place for entrepreneurship

While medical school may constitute the epitome of some students' career dreams, others may discover their true passion and entrepreneurial spirit while pursuing their medical degree, according to the American Medical Association.

Such was the case with AMA board of trustees member Ryan Ribeira, MD. Dr. Ribeira is the founder and CEO of SimX, which manufactures virtual reality clinical training software.

Dr. Ribeira said he first got the idea for the company as a fourth-year medical student during his emergency medicine rotation. He was sent to practice on a limited-functionality mannequin, but realized technology could create a more varied and less costly simulation.

However, he noted that entrepreneurship is not necessarily for everyone, and "does require a pretty high degree of sacrifice of your free time." Dr. Ribeira said once he realized the potential of his project, he "didn't really go to social events. I didn't really watch TV or have other hobbies. The thing that I did for fun was my startup."

The AMA outlined six tactics young entrepreneurs may find helpful when splitting their time between medical school and their startup ideas:

  1. Create productivity time.
  2. If you need a team, get one early.
  3. Learn to follow your dreams by helping others pursue theirs.
  4. Understand financing. It takes more than a great idea to get seed money.
  5. Be prepared for some tough times.  
  6. Recognize finances are not the only measure of successes.

"Knowing the impact [SimX] has on these really important providers, who are providing a critical care [service] … is really satisfying. It's a great feeling to have created something that we know is helping save lives," Dr. Ribeira said.

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