Becoming a doctor is a long and arduous journey, and it’s important to take some time to reflect on whether it’s the right path for you. It requires years of education, dedication, and a significant investment of time and money.
Simply put, it is not what it used to be. As usual, i am going to tell you the fact of the matter and not try to swing you any which way.
Tuition costs are ridicoulousy expensive and have gone up, way past inflation, better than nearly any investment you could have made 30 years ago.
The salary has not kept up with that rate of increase in the slightest.
You will be in school, going further into debt, and missing out on opportunity cost of working during much of your 20s.
Burnout, depression, and quitting medicine is at an all time high.
Administrative burden, litigation and job dissatisfaction is at an all time high as well.
There is enroachment by people who are not doctors,advertising themselves as docotrs. In some cases, nurse practioners and pharmacists are now able to independently do certain things that previously, only a physician could do.
The prestige, status and “fanciness” is still there, depending on who you ask, but not nearly at the level that it used to be.
All that doesn’t sound too great. Because it is not. I didn’t know about any of that as a pre-med, and I just put the blinders on.
I became exposed to this stuff either directly, or hearing about it through others as i continued through medical school.
I really wished that someone sat me down as a pre-med and told it to me like it is. I don’t think it would have changed my mind completely, but it definetly would’ve tempered expectations and painted a more realistic picture than the smiles, and coffee cups with the perfect set of scrubs on instagram.
In the midst of all those downsides, a few things have remained the same about becoming a doctor.
You still get to help people. You get to help them at their most vunerable, and many of them are very thankful for your efforts. This can certainly be fulfilling.
The job security, despite mid-level enroachment is sitll second to none when compared to other industries, at least in certain specialties.
The salary, although it has not kept up with inflation, is still one of the best around when compared to other fields. You have to be careful with this though, you can’t just compare the number. You have to take into account stress, time commitment, sacrifice made to get to a certain point. All of those matter. Someone might have a high salary number, but their life is controlled by the hospital. Similarly in other fields, you might make a lot as a software engineer, but startup hours don’t look pretty.
The M.D. degree is still very valuauble and seen as respected, with a degree of authority, despite non-doctors calling themselves doctors all over the place. This can open the door for you to non-clinical opportunities whether you want to work for someone else or start an entreprenurial venture on your own.
You still get to learn a lot of complex mechanisms and details about the human body. How much this acutally interests you is obviously up to you.
Depending on your level of interest, you may have opportunities to do research and come up with new treatments/devices as a physician.
So as you can see, just like any other field, there are plenty of pros and cons to becoming a physician.
In the end, it comes down to being honest about why you are doing what you are doing and what your intentions are.
Ask yourself why you want to become a doctor. Is it because you have a passion for helping others and making a positive impact in their lives? Is it because you’re drawn to the intellectual challenge of medicine and enjoy problem-solving? Or is it because you think it’s a prestigious career with a high earning potential?
If you’re motivated by a desire to help others, then becoming a doctor may be a good fit for you. Doctors have the opportunity to make a significant difference in people’s lives, whether it’s by diagnosing and treating illnesses, providing emotional support, or simply being there for their patients during difficult times. Or even through non-traditional means by starting their medical businesses or coming up with research and inventions
If you’re someone who enjoys the intellectual challenge of medicine, then becoming a doctor may also be a good fit for you. Medicine is a constantly evolving field, and doctors must stay up to date on the latest research and techniques in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. If you enjoy learning and are willing to put in the work to stay current, then you may find a career in medicine to be rewarding.
On the other hand, if you’re primarily motivated by the prestige and earning potential associated with a career in medicine, then it’s worth taking a step back and reevaluating your goals.
Becoming a doctor requires a significant investment of time and money, and if you’re not truly passionate about the field, you may find yourself burned out and unhappy, like many do.
Another important factor to consider is your lifestyle. Becoming a doctor can be incredibly demanding, both mentally and physically. You’ll likely work long hours and be on call frequently, and you’ll need to be able to handle high levels of stress and pressure, at least for the training portion of your career.
If you’re someone who needs a lot of downtime or values work-life balance above all else, then you’ll have to consider certain specialities, or have other means of making money.
It’s worth considering the current state of the medical field. Healthcare is constantly evolving, and doctors are facing increasing pressure and burnout due to factors like administrative burden, high patient volumes, and a growing emphasis on efficiency over patient care. Before committing to a career in medicine, it’s important to understand the challenges you may face and be prepared to navigate them.
So ultimately, the decision of whether or not you should become a doctor is a personal one. However, consider all the facts before doing so. Don’t pretend that it’s roses and sunshine and cute little scrubs on Instagram. Don’t write it off as all negative either. See it for what it is. Reflect on what you want from your life and whether or not this is a fit for you. Don’t do it because everyone else in your class is aiming that way, or your parents are forcing you to. There are better ways to make money, there are more lifestyle friendly paths, but there is only one way to become a physician. Make your choice. But make sure that it is your choice.