It seems that over the past year or so, there has been an onslaught against the field of medicine by none other than medical doctors! Facebook is inundated with blogs written by disgruntled docs who at times seem to be on a mission to worsen the physician shortage. Certainly I agree that there are aspects of entering the medical field that pre-meds should know such as long work hours and debt incurred, but what’s with the obsession of attacking our field. Is it really that bad???? Well, since it seems that nobody else is doing it, allow me to be the one to say….I’d Do It All Over Again! Below is my list of 5! Five reasons I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
5) Money: It is funny that so many blog posts of late have criticized the pay of physicians and our level of debt. The truth is we still have more wealth than 95% of Americans. Just because we do not make as much as we would like to make does not mean we don’t’ make a lot of money. Would I be a doctor if I got paid 30 thousand dollars a year…..the honest answer……No, I wouldn’t. So the level of pay is definitely a plus.
4) Job Security: This sounds shallow but it is true. As long as we live in this broken world, there will always be sick patients for me to care for. One thing is for certain, we are all going to die one day and the majority of us will see doctors along the way. Obamacare, fee for service, socialized medicine…it doesn’t matter what kind of payer system we develop…at the end of the day, our services will be in demand and we will have a job. As physicians we can complain about the field all we want, but the vast majority of us would rather have this job security than not have it!
3) Intellectually Stimulating: It is VERY hard for me to think of another field as stimulating as medicine. What we often fail to realize is that medicine is more than biology and chemistry. This profession includes ethics, mathematics, technology, spirituality, etc. I challenge you to find an aspect of life that a physician does not encounter. Each day I face new challenges that stimulate my brain. Each day I learn something new. Each day I say WOW!
2) It Is an Honor: We very often fail to realize the privileges we are granted as Medical Doctors. As a 30 year old black man, an 80 year old white woman might tell me her deepest secrets, secrets that her husband of 60 years might not even know (I do not this endorse this, but it’s just the way it is). What other arena of life does this occur in??? We are entrusted with our patient’s most sacred information. More times than I can remember I have been told by patients’ and family members to do what I think is best in any given situation. The conversation often goes like this. “Your husband is dying and I can still offer him X,Y, and Z. If you do not want to pursue those options we can let him die comfortably. How would you like us to proceed? Well doc, we trust you. Just do what you think is best”. To be regarded with such high esteem. To be entrusted with the life of another human. What an honor!
1) It Humbles Me: Let’s face it, doctors are BIG HEADED!!! Conceited, arrogant, narcissistic aren’t we??? Interestingly, I’ve found that medicine has humbled me beyond expectation. This perhaps is what I love most about it. It reminds me of my mortality and to cherish this gift that is life. At the age of 30, working in the critical care environment, I have seen more people die and told more family members they lost a loved one than most people will in their entire life. This makes me VERY aware of the reality of death. You may be wondering why this would make anyone want to be a doctor …but trust me, when you truly understand that death is real and that tomorrow is not promised, you appreciate things in a different light and live in a different manner. This has done more good for me than I can explain. It is priceless!
So with an emphatic YES, I’d do it all over again. It is rare to find a field that offers the combination of these five benefits which I feel are key to establishing a satisfying career. As always, I leave you with words to consider… “All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). Work hard and don’t complain!