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Happy with medicine?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by conrad, Jan 11, 2002.

  1. conrad

    conrad Member
    7+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I was going thru the old posts and saw a number of people who were dissatisfied with their medical school... I was wondering, along a similar vein, whether people change their views on medicine as a profession while they are in medical school. I mean, in med school interviews you are asked many questions along the theme of, "Why do YOU want to be a doctor?" People usually say something about wanting to help people, interested in science, etc. But once you've gotten into medical school and been there a while, do you feel as though your expectations for your personal career goals have changed? Do you think that the training has been a part of changing your perception? And does it make you want to become a physician any more or less?

    I guess I'll start... I'm curious about this because at times I find myself struggling to remember why exactly I wanted to go to medical school. Don't get me wrong -- I do enjoy the material, and I do like the clinical work, but I also find myself thinking about my "fleeting youth" and other things that I might have done if I hadn't gone to medical school. Maybe I've just become jaded, or at least used to, the medical community, and it's just become my life. But I do think that the rigorous training has played a part in changing my perception of medicine from one of ideal philanthropic gestures (ie., helping people!) to one of business-minded power struggles hiding beneath the ideal philanthropic gestures. Whoa, that sounds pretty bitter -- I'm not really that bitter, but in the darkest hours I do get frustrated by angry patients, demanding attendings, volumes of books to memorize, etc. And while I still think that I am going to enjoy practicing medicine, one thing that has definitely changed in me since the beginning is the fact that I am no longer sure that the end justifies the means...

    (Before I get flamed for that last paragraph, I want to say that I know I'm fortunate to be in medical school at all! and that I still enjoy being in medical school, studying and patient care and all. :) I'm just wondering how other people feel...)
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  3. Fanconi

    Fanconi Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    May 29, 2001
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    I'd post a long, considered response, but I'm too f***ing tired from being on inpatient internal medicine. So, for now, I'll just say "ditto."


    Just one thought before I go take my nap... All the pre-meds and med students in their preclinical years could easily jump all over this thread, stating the stuff you mention above. That it's a privilege, etc. I just don't think you really KNOW how insane becoming (and being) a doctor can be until you get there. So keep that naive optimism. You'll need it in a year or two, depending on where you are in your education. Yes, medicine can be rewarding, but for now I find it to be more draining, frustrating, and exhausting than rewarding.

    The scariest part, I think, it that the exhaustion and frustration just gets worse (i.e., internship/residency). I'm hoping there is a light at the tunnel beyond that part of medical training...

    The biggest lesson I've learned these past few years is that there is so much more to life than medicine. Keeping outside interests and having a full life outside of medicine is the best thing we can do to make ourselves better doctors. Otherwise, we'd just crash and burnout.
  4. Whisker Barrel Cortex

    10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2001
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    As a fourt year med student applying to radiology residencies, I'd like to add my view.

    I actually enjoyed much of the clinical years, including time intensive rotations such as internal medicine, surgery, and peds. For the most part, I enjoyed my interactions with patients. It was the 20-30% of patient interactions that were highly unsatisfactory that hurt my opinion of clinical medicine in general. That being said, if I hadn't loved radiology as I did on my rotation, I would have been happy doing internal medicine.

    There have been several times over the past few months when I have questioned my decision to leave clinical medicine. Then, on one of my interview tours, we were walking down the hall when a patient walking by made a comment: "I really hate them doctors." This reminded me of the parts of these specialties that I don't like. Patients that don't listen to your advice, don't appreciate your help, and don't care enough for their own health are very prevalent. For me, this was very frustrating and made my job harder and less satisfying.

    Just my views on the topic.

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