Would you choose medicine again?

Recently, I have seen an abundance of news articles, facebook posts, and other general commentary on the difficulties of practicing medicine in the current environment. We have to deal with difficult patients; stubborn insurance companies; declining reimbursement; etc. Doctors are discouraging young people from going into medicine, and many are choosing careers outside of clinical practice after getting burned out.
I, too, get frustrated when I have more and more papers on my desk every day from the insurance companies dictating which medications I prescribe, which tests I order, and how long my patient can stay in the hospital. I, too, feel rushed because I have to see at least 5 patients an hour to satisfy my employer. I, too, feel like I spend less time with my patients, and more time doing administrative work.
However, these frustrations pale in comparison to how I feel when a patient tells me that I am the first doctor to listen to them; or, when a patient loses a significant amount of weight; or when I help a patient overcome depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. The frustrations pale in comparison to when I catch that diagnosis at the early phase and can change the tides of a person’s life. I love my job. I may not like the bureaucracy, or the insurance tug of wars, or the drug seeking patients, or the long hours. But I love interacting with patients. When we talk to the younger generations, let us make sure that we balance the negative of medicine with the many positives that we have in our field as well.

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