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Hey everyone, over this past year I've spent a large amount of time prowling through SDN and today I decided it was time I made an account and joined the community. I'm about to start my second year of community college and I'm just beginning to wonder if my ultimate goal of becoming a doctor is still a good idea in today's world. Now I know this question has been asked several times before and I have read most of those threads but unfortunately the vast majority of those threads were too old to be reliable and/or turned into those annoying "how dare you want to go into medicine to live a comfortable life" bashing sessions. So I thought it'd be a good idea to start a new one. So what do you guys think? Is medicine still as respected, lucrative, and rewarding at it used to be? Is the time and debt worth it? Given the chance, would you do it all again?
 
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Worth it means different things to different people.

Why do YOU want to be a doctor?

If you're chasing money, you'll never be happy.

Do what you love and the money will follow.
 

MrLogan13

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The value of a pursuit depends on what your motivation is. The question is not if medicine is worth it, the question is if it's worth it to you?
 
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Spector1

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if you want to do medicine, then do it

if you don't want to do medicine, then don't do it. simple as that. Its not a "worth it" question, its a matter of what you want to do with the rest of your life
 

torshi

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Hey everyone, over this past year I've spent a large amount of time prowling through SDN and today I decided it was time I made an account and joined the community. I'm about to start my second year of community college and I'm just beginning to wonder if my ultimate goal of becoming a doctor is still a good idea in today's world. Now I know this question has been asked several times before and I have read most of those threads but unfortunately the vast majority of those threads were too old to be reliable and/or turned into those annoying "how dare you want to go into medicine to live a comfortable life" bashing sessions. So I thought it'd be a good idea to start a new one. So what do you guys think? Is medicine still as respected, lucrative, and rewarding at it used to be? Is the time and debt worth it? Given the chance, would you do it all again?
Are they respected? Yes & No (you still will get treated as **** regardless by higher ups. Public perception isn't that good these days, but it shouldn't be a reason not to pursue medicine in general)
Lucrative? Of course, however, reimbursements may be lower in the future. Medicine has been & will always be a bureaucracy w/ years to come. Still will have enough money
Rewarding? Subjective to each person. Some burn out. Some don't. Typically, many realize it's something they should have thought about more before getting on the path (once you're in, hard to turn away)

There are other options to contemplate. Medicine does not only = Physician.
 
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MyNameWasUsed

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I dont think its worth it. I'm making sure my younger brother stays the hell away from medicine. By asking this I feel like you might not be extremely passionate about medicine and if you aren't then just do something else. Computer science perhaps?
 

Catalystik

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I'm just beginning to wonder if my ultimate goal of becoming a doctor is still a good idea in today's world.
1) Is medicine still as a) respected, b) lucrative, and c) rewarding at it used to be?
2) Is the a) time and b) debt worth it?
3) Given the chance, would you do it all again?
1) a) Yes, though not during the training process.
b) No, but a comfortable income is probable and you'd have good job security.
c) Yes. [And by "rewarding" I mean that one has a satisfying sense of a job well done at the end of the day, more times than not.]

2) a) If you enjoy learning, getting a good sense of how the body works, how it is changed by various disease processes, and how to approach each patient in a standardized way to facilitate caring for them, you will think of med school positively, and the time spent "worth it" despite the associated stress of accomplishing all this in just four years. Residency fine-tunes your diagnostic process sand makes it more efficient. You learn to take on more "paperwork" and responsibility and to coordinate and teach a team of caretakers. You sleep less. You learn to relate better to sick people and their families. This can be rewarding, and is essential to eventual independent medical practice, but is often exhausting, in both a physical and emotional sense.
b) I was debt averse, so I worked up to three part-time jobs in med school and participated in medical studies to earn cash and minimize loans. With less study time, I did not remain at the top of my class, but I thought the tradeoff was worth it. Many med schools now have rules against employment during the academic year, though.

3) Yes, I'd do it again, though I might work a few years first to enhance cash reserves, considering today's interest rates.
 

WingedOx

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Well this begs the question: ...as opposed to what else?

/shocked no one has made the inevitable I-Banking comparison yet. C'mon SDN college students, you're slipping.
 
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1. What is your personality? Do you have patience and nice demeanor when met with stressful situations? If no, either practice on these attributes or don't bother (seriously, I've met some people go whack when this happens and it isn't pretty)
2. In the next 10 years, where do you want to be? If you support someone, do you want to spend the majority of your time with them? If yes, reconsider medicine
3. Do you like secondary provider work...as in not being considered so highly educated or perhaps prefer taking orders and not taking your work home with you? If yes, consider NP, PA, or anything similar besides a medical doctor
4. If you are good at another lucrative field like engineering or computer science- get out and be one because this is the right time before life gets you too old and stressful
5. Have you shadowed anyone in medicine? dentistry? podiatry? optometry? Not yet? well, go and do it. It's the only way to know and build personal experience rather then getting yourself stuck in medicine and then wishing you were a dentist from heresay
 

7331poas

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I dont get why people are saying dont do it for the money. Clearly they dont know how hard it is for the other 99% of americans. As an MD, you have a very high chance of finding a job, something that every other degree in america cannot say outside of CS.

Yea, you can make more money in investment banking, but your chances of succeeding on wall street is much lower than your chances of becoming an attending once you get into medical school (nearly 100%).
 

WingedOx

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I dont get why people are saying dont do it for the money. Clearly they dont know how hard it is for the other 99% of americans. As an MD, you have a very high chance of finding a job, something that every other degree in america cannot say outside of CS.

Yea, you can make more money in investment banking, but your chances of succeeding on wall street is much lower than your chances of becoming an attending once you get into medical school (nearly 100%).
I mean, about 3/4ths of the way through med school I decided that I'd be happier in a specialty that makes anywhere from 25-30% less than the specialties I went into med school thinking I'd be doing. Also, I'm still young-ish and enjoying living downtown in a major city, which depresses the income I could be making*. I'll never make the money my parents are making in medicine, but I'm set to live more than comfortably, my debt is manageable, life is good, and I enjoy what I'm doing. (My future kids could afford private school someday, etc...)

*I don't disclose what I'm making, but suffice it to say I've seen people (mostly future surgeons) post that it's below "the level at which medicine is no longer worth it." I see stuff like that and it just kinda reminds me that "worth it" is about how you set your expectations rather than the actual financial numbers at play.
 

allantois

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It's worth it, but don't expect to be your own boss or anticipate making a fortune off Medicare.
 

efle

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1) Medicine is a vast world. There are some positions which from a lifestyle, money, respect PoV are far >> other positions. Are we talking about someone heading into HMS with dreams of competitive lifestyle specialties, or are we talking about a typical person likely bound for primary care?

2) As someone said above, what else are we talking about medicine relative to? If you're from a family of billionaires and could run an arm of the family business instead, very different thought process than someone from lower or middle class that only wants to consider job options that would grant them security and enough wealth to own a home, send their kids wherever they want for college etc. Other careers can be much more lucrative (law/finance/business) but the uncertainty/failure rate there is high, while medicine is about as sure of a bet as you can find.

3) Some people would never be happy doing commonly cited alternatives like comp sci or engineering. For many it is easy to be fascinated by the body and medical thought processes, and not so easy to be fascinated by math and code!
 
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Mad Jack

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MJ's "Is Medicine For Me Flowchart, v1.0"

1: Are you motivated? If yes, proceed to 2, if no, proceed to 15.
2: Do you hate yourself? If yes, proceed to 14, if no, proceed to 3.
3: Do you hate other people? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 4.
4: Do you place a very high value on your free time? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 5.
5: Do you feel like paperwork, being unable to have ultimate control over your patient's treatment, and regulations are infuriating? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 6.
6: Are you comfortable with a salary that does not keep pace with inflation by the time you enter practice? If no, proceed to 15, if yes, proceed to 7.
7: Is there anything else you could see yourself happy doing? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 8.
8: Do you care about prestige? If no, proceed to 9, if yes, proceed to 15.
9: Are you the sort of person that desires instant gratification? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 10.
10: Will you only be happy in one specialty, and be completely unhappy if that specialty is not available to you? If yes, proceed to 16, if no, proceed to 11.
11: Do you handle stress well? If yes, proceed to 12, if no, proceed to 15.
12: Do you value your youth? If yes, proceed to 17, if no, proceed to 13.
13: Do you handle criticism well? If yes, proceed to 18, if no, proceed to 15.
14: Medicine is worth it.
15: Medicine is not worth it.
16: Is that specialty extremely uncompetitive (i.e. primary care, psychiatry, community IM, community pediatrics)? If yes, backtrack to 11. If no, backtrack to 15.
17: Will you have regrets resulting from the loss of your youth that result in you being unfulfilled later in life? If nontraditional over age 30 or no, regress to 13, if yes, regress to 15.
18: Do you have a problem with authority that you cannot overcome, such as finding it difficult to follow through with decisions you disagree with, or to have many aspects of your life determined by people you largely disagree with, to the point that you will be extremely unhappy or will lash out at those in a position of authority? If yes, regress to 15. If no, regress to 14.
 
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Medicine sucks. Be an administrator, make stupid decisions that negatively affect patient care and do your best to take money away from your providers so that you can pay yourself as much as possible despite your dubious utility
I always love hearing your perspective. :)
 
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Trismegistus4

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2) As someone said above, what else are we talking about medicine relative to? If you're from a family of billionaires and could run an arm of the family business instead, very different thought process than someone from lower or middle class that only wants to consider job options that would grant them security and enough wealth to own a home, send their kids wherever they want for college etc. Other careers can be much more lucrative (law/finance/business) but the uncertainty/failure rate there is high, while medicine is about as sure of a bet as you can find.
I agree with this. I was a carpenter's son who grew up going to school with a bunch of more upper-middle class kids whose parents were doctors, lawyers, etc. At some point, I said to myself, "you know what? I'd like to have a house with central air conditioning, and a nice stereo system, and an up-to-date computer, and be able to get my kids braces and send them to summer camp, like all these other families." Yeah, I could have theoretically gone off to college and majored in engineering or accounting, but because of my family background, I barely even knew what those fields were. I actually stumbled into the beginning of a career in IT, but realized that from there, in order to have the aforementioned life, I'd have to climb the corporate ladder into management, which requires being a politician. You can make a comparable income in medicine without being a politician.

I wouldn't want to go through this whole process all over again, but I wouldn't say it was a terrible mistake, either. When you grew up sweating through countless July and August nights, pleading with your parents to be allowed to run the window AC, but being told "we can't afford the electric bill," words can't describe the feeling of getting multiple emails/voicemails every day from people offering to pay you $220k/year.
 
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MJ's "Is Medicine For Me Flowchart, v1.0"

1: Are you motivated? If yes, proceed to 2, if no, proceed to 15.
2: Do you hate yourself? If yes, proceed to 14, if no, proceed to 3.
3: Do you hate other people? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 4.
4: Do you place a very high value on your free time? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 5.
5: Do you feel like paperwork, being unable to have ultimate control over your patient's treatment, and regulations are infuriating? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 6.
6: Are you comfortable with a salary that does not keep pace with inflation by the time you enter practice? If no, proceed to 15, if yes, proceed to 7.
7: Is there anything else you could see yourself happy doing? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 8.
8: Do you care about prestige? If no, proceed to 9, if yes, proceed to 15.
9: Are you the sort of person that desires instant gratification? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 10.
10: Will you only be happy in one specialty, and be completely unhappy if that specialty is not available to you? If yes, proceed to 16, if no, proceed to 11.
11: Do you handle stress well? If yes, proceed to 12, if no, proceed to 15.
12: Do you value your youth? If yes, proceed to 17, if no, proceed to 13.
13: Do you handle criticism well? If yes, proceed to 18, if no, proceed to 15.
14: Medicine is worth it.
15: Medicine is not worth it.
16: Is that specialty extremely uncompetitive (i.e. primary care, psychiatry, community IM, community pediatrics)? If yes, backtrack to 11. If no, backtrack to 15.
17: Will you have regrets resulting from the loss of your youth that result in you being unfulfilled later in life? If nontraditional over age 30 or no, regress to 13, if yes, regress to 15.
18: Do you have a problem with authority that you cannot overcome, such as finding it difficult to follow through with decisions you disagree with, or to have many aspects of your life determined by people you largely disagree with, to the point that you will be extremely unhappy or will lash out at those in a position of authority? If yes, regress to 15. If no, regress to 14.
I can tell you that 99% of the people would probably end up with #15.....but I kind of disagree with this chart because while paperwork is very frustrating, I think that someone needs to go shadow to understand what the volume is like and which speciality's is more handleable in accordance with personality. I hit on #15 quite a bit and it had nothing to with the premonition of "what a doctor is made for in society rather than what society has converted it into".
 

Mad Jack

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I can tell you that 99% of the people would probably end up with #15.....but I kind of disagree with this chart because while paperwork is very frustrating, I think that someone needs to go shadow to understand what the volume is like and which speciality's is more handleable in accordance with personality. I hit on #15 quite a bit and it had nothing to with the premonition of "what a doctor is made for in society rather than what society has converted it into".
It was a joke that is more about making you think about each step along the way more than it is about actually making the decision for you. Mark my words though, each time you loop back to 15, you're more likely to be miserable as a doctor in the future.
 
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StudyLater

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Now I know this question has been asked several times before and I have read most of those threads but unfortunately the vast majority of those threads were too old to be reliable and/or turned into those annoying "how dare you want to go into medicine to live a comfortable life" bashing sessions. So I thought it'd be a good idea to start a new one.
Studying statistical extrapolation would do you wonders.

So what do you guys think?
I think it's literally the tippy top of the working class food chain. Period.

Is medicine still as respected, lucrative, and rewarding at it used to be?
The answer to the bolded is supposedly no. But who knows -- you might come up with something if you've got some business sense and totally knock this medical business out of the park once you're an attending with your own practice(s). As for the other two things, they're relative. Docs are happy like 20% of the time, I gather. And it's really not that they're not great people -- they've just got one of the most stressful/intense jobs in existence. So it's not particularly surprising to me that many of them aren't in the mood to sing the praises of their profession.

Is the time and debt worth it?
There is nothing else that has the same ratio of stability to income potential that you could achieve by going the UG --> professional school --> training --> career route.

Given the chance, would you do it all again?
Kinda the wrong board to ask this particular question.
 
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StudyLater

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Medicine sucks. Be an administrator, make stupid decisions that negatively affect patient care and do your best to take money away from your providers so that you can pay yourself as much as possible despite your dubious utility
MJ's "Is Medicine For Me Flowchart, v1.0"

1: Are you motivated? If yes, proceed to 2, if no, proceed to 15.
2: Do you hate yourself? If yes, proceed to 14, if no, proceed to 3.
3: Do you hate other people? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 4.
4: Do you place a very high value on your free time? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 5.
5: Do you feel like paperwork, being unable to have ultimate control over your patient's treatment, and regulations are infuriating? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 6.
6: Are you comfortable with a salary that does not keep pace with inflation by the time you enter practice? If no, proceed to 15, if yes, proceed to 7.
7: Is there anything else you could see yourself happy doing? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 8.
8: Do you care about prestige? If no, proceed to 9, if yes, proceed to 15.
9: Are you the sort of person that desires instant gratification? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 10.
10: Will you only be happy in one specialty, and be completely unhappy if that specialty is not available to you? If yes, proceed to 16, if no, proceed to 11.
11: Do you handle stress well? If yes, proceed to 12, if no, proceed to 15.
12: Do you value your youth? If yes, proceed to 17, if no, proceed to 13.
13: Do you handle criticism well? If yes, proceed to 18, if no, proceed to 15.
14: Medicine is worth it.
15: Medicine is not worth it.
16: Is that specialty extremely uncompetitive (i.e. primary care, psychiatry, community IM, community pediatrics)? If yes, backtrack to 11. If no, backtrack to 15.
17: Will you have regrets resulting from the loss of your youth that result in you being unfulfilled later in life? If nontraditional over age 30 or no, regress to 13, if yes, regress to 15.
18: Do you have a problem with authority that you cannot overcome, such as finding it difficult to follow through with decisions you disagree with, or to have many aspects of your life determined by people you largely disagree with, to the point that you will be extremely unhappy or will lash out at those in a position of authority? If yes, regress to 15. If no, regress to 14.
Too busy reviewing pharm to make one :p Maybe later this week I'll make a nice flowchart for the lulz.
rough attempt at capturing @Mad Jack flowchart

EDIT: looks like the full image still gets resized/shrinked, so for those of those with non-20/20 vision, you can zoom in @
This needs to be put on a separate thread and stickied. All OP's wondering if medicine "is worth it" should be redirected to that sticky after their thread is immediately closed.

Also any BS about getting money/power/prestige should be focused in that one thread. It'll grow to 1000+ pages easy within a few weeks.
 
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Goro

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This does not merely deserve a sticky, it should be published in the New England J Medicine, Lancet, or JAMA!


MJ's "Is Medicine For Me Flowchart, v1.0"

1: Are you motivated? If yes, proceed to 2, if no, proceed to 15.
2: Do you hate yourself? If yes, proceed to 14, if no, proceed to 3.
3: Do you hate other people? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 4.
4: Do you place a very high value on your free time? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 5.
5: Do you feel like paperwork, being unable to have ultimate control over your patient's treatment, and regulations are infuriating? If yes, proceed to 15. If no, proceed to 6.
6: Are you comfortable with a salary that does not keep pace with inflation by the time you enter practice? If no, proceed to 15, if yes, proceed to 7.
7: Is there anything else you could see yourself happy doing? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 8.
8: Do you care about prestige? If no, proceed to 9, if yes, proceed to 15.
9: Are you the sort of person that desires instant gratification? If yes, proceed to 15, if no, proceed to 10.
10: Will you only be happy in one specialty, and be completely unhappy if that specialty is not available to you? If yes, proceed to 16, if no, proceed to 11.
11: Do you handle stress well? If yes, proceed to 12, if no, proceed to 15.
12: Do you value your youth? If yes, proceed to 17, if no, proceed to 13.
13: Do you handle criticism well? If yes, proceed to 18, if no, proceed to 15.
14: Medicine is worth it.
15: Medicine is not worth it.
16: Is that specialty extremely uncompetitive (i.e. primary care, psychiatry, community IM, community pediatrics)? If yes, backtrack to 11. If no, backtrack to 15.
17: Will you have regrets resulting from the loss of your youth that result in you being unfulfilled later in life? If nontraditional over age 30 or no, regress to 13, if yes, regress to 15.
18: Do you have a problem with authority that you cannot overcome, such as finding it difficult to follow through with decisions you disagree with, or to have many aspects of your life determined by people you largely disagree with, to the point that you will be extremely unhappy or will lash out at those in a position of authority? If yes, regress to 15. If no, regress to 14.
 

Perrotfish

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Is medicine still as respected, lucrative, and rewarding at it used to be? Is the time and debt worth it? Given the chance, would you do it all again?
You're asking several different questions here. I will try and answer them each separately

Is medicine as lucarative as it used to be? : Not as much as when the medical reimbursement bubble peaked in the 80s, no, but medicine still makes more than most professions in this country. At current reimbursement levels an attending physician make 5-10 million in a career. The average college educated worker makes 2 million in a lifetime, and the average blue collar worker makes 1.2. Even with loans taking 0.5-1 million of that (pre tax, including interest, compounding over residency, assuming no loan forgiveness) you still double to quadruple your earning by choosing medicine. Since medicine, unlike other lucrative professions, reimburses more rather than less in lower income areas, physicians who are willing to live away from the big wealth centers can really be quite rich, and even in a major city most of us do pretty well (as long as you avoid LA/DC/Manhattan/Silicon valley). Combine that with relatively low risk for your investment and you have a financial decision that any financial advisor would bless. Of course future reimbursement rates are in flux, but so is future reimbursement for every other profession. While some people predict regulation will drive us out of business I always bet on market forces over government regulation, and the American population is only getting older and fatter.

Is medicine as respected as it used to be? That depends, respect by who, exactly?
-The floor staff? The answer here is a definitive no. For better or for worse doctors have stopped being captain of the team and have become part of the team. Unless you run your own practice and hire/fire your own staff respect from those you work with is pretty rare. The best you can hope for is 'collegial' and even that is difficult to get in an inpatient environment.
-The patients? I think so, though its tough to say. If you make a hobby out of reading old medical stories you'll find that universally respectful patients have never exactly been a part of medicine. You will still get the deep respect from anyone who perceives that you made a difference in the life of their loved ones, like in any professions
-From the public? Less than at our peak, I think. There's no perception of heroism in medicine anymore. However I think that perception heroism used to come mainly from the fact that physicians used to have to be brave. The mortality rate from contagion in previous generations made physicians a lot more like Marines and First Responders, running towards danger. I will happily leave that kind of respect for others. Now I feel that physicians are viewed more as successful technocrats, its like saying you're an engineer for Apple. It definitely causes mostly positive reactions.

Is medicine as rewarding as it used to be? I think it more rewarding in some ways and less in others. On the one hand our actual capabilities to heal and help are increasing at an exponential rate. Your odds of actually saving or improving lives is higher than it has ever been. I find that pretty satisfying. On the other hand as our technical capabilities have increased, the interpersonal component of the profession has gotten smaller. Knowing that we have so many therapies patients are more impatient when we offer simple advice or compassion, and having so many more things to screw up means that we are more bogged down in checklists and paperwork to make sure that we get it right. We're becoming more of a technical profession. I think medicine is less and less a good career for people who otherwise might have been businessmen or chaplains, and is increasingly a good career for people who might otherwise have been engineers or industrial chemists.

Is it worth it? This depends on you. Part of the reason, I think, that so many people say no to this question is that its easy to have an unreasonable view of the alternatives. There are too many family practice doctors who think that they were a phone call away from a seven figure job in high finance, a job which would have lasted until they chose to quit. Take a long look at the profession, then a long look at yourself, and then be really honest about your strengths/weaknesses/options. After that either dive in or don't.

Would I do it again? Maybe. I feel like I don't really have a good enough feeling for being an attending to answer this yet. Check in with me in 5 years.
 
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OP
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1) a) Yes, though not during the training process.
b) No, but a comfortable income is probable and you'd have good job security.
c) Yes. [And by "rewarding" I mean that one has a satisfying sense of a job well done at the end of the day, more times than not.]

2) a) If you enjoy learning, getting a good sense of how the body works, how it is changed by various disease processes, and how to approach each patient in a standardized way to facilitate caring for them, you will think of med school positively, and the time spent "worth it" despite the associated stress of accomplishing all this in just four years. Residency fine-tunes your diagnostic process sand makes it more efficient. You learn to take on more "paperwork" and responsibility and to coordinate and teach a team of caretakers. You sleep less. You learn to relate better to sick people and their families. This can be rewarding, and is essential to eventual independent medical practice, but is often exhausting, in both a physical and emotional sense.
b) I was debt averse, so I worked up to three part-time jobs in med school and participated in medical studies to earn cash and minimize loans. With less study time, I did not remain at the top of my class, but I thought the tradeoff was worth it. Many med schools now have rules against employment during the academic year, though.

3) Yes, I'd do it again, though I might work a few years first to enhance cash reserves, considering today's interest rates.
Thank you! I really do appreciate you covering all of my questions instead of getting condescending
 

StudyLater

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You're asking several different questions here. I will try and answer them each separately

Is medicine as lucarative as it used to be? : Not as much as when the medical reimbursement bubble peaked in the 80s, no, but medicine still makes more than most professions in this country. At current reimbursement levels an attending physician make 5-10 million in a career. The average college educated worker makes 2 million in a lifetime, and the average blue collar worker makes 1.2. Even with loans taking 0.5-1 million of that (pre tax, including interest, compounding over residency, assuming no loan forgiveness) you still double to quadruple your earning by choosing medicine. Since medicine, unlike other lucrative professions, reimburses more rather than less in lower income areas, physicians who are willing to live away from the big wealth centers can really be quite rich, and even in a major city most of us do pretty well (as long as you avoid LA/DC/Manhattan/Silicon valley). Combine that with relatively low risk for your investment and you have a financial decision that any financial advisor would bless. Of course future reimbursement rates are in flux, but so is future reimbursement for every other profession. While some people predict regulation will drive us out of business I always bet on market forces over government regulation, and the American population is only getting older and fatter.

Is medicine as respected as it used to be? That depends, respect by who, exactly?
-The floor staff? The answer here is a definitive no. For better or for worse doctors have stopped being captain of the team and have become part of the team. Unless you run your own practice and hire/fire your own staff respect from those you work with is pretty rare. The best you can hope for is 'collegial' and even that is difficult to get in an inpatient environment.
-The patients? I think so, though its tough to say. If you make a hobby out of reading old medical stories you'll find that universally respectful patients have never exactly been a part of medicine. You will still get the deep respect from anyone who perceives that you made a difference in the life of their loved ones, like in any professions
-From the public? Less than at our peak, I think. There's no perception of heroism in medicine anymore. However I think that perception heroism used to come mainly from the fact that physicians used to have to be brave. The mortality rate from contagion in previous generations made physicians a lot more like Marines and First Responders, running towards danger. I will happily leave that kind of respect for others. Now I feel that physicians are viewed more as successful technocrats, its like saying you're an engineer for Apple. It definitely causes mostly positive reactions.

Is medicine as rewarding as it used to be? I think it more rewarding in some ways and less in others. On the one hand our actual capabilities to heal and help are increasing at an exponential rate. Your odds of actually saving or improving lives is higher than it has ever been. I find that pretty satisfying. On the other hand as our technical capabilities have increased, the interpersonal component of the profession has gotten smaller. Knowing that we have so many therapies patients are more impatient when we offer simple advice or compassion, and having so many more things to screw up means that we are more bogged down in checklists and paperwork to make sure that we get it right. We're becoming more of a technical profession. I think medicine is less and less a good career for people who otherwise might have been businessmen or chaplains, and is increasingly a good career for people who might otherwise have been engineers or industrial chemists.

Is it worth it? This depends on you. Part of the reason, I think, that so many people say no to this question is that its easy to have an unreasonable view of the alternatives. There are too many family practice doctors who think that they were a phone call away from a seven figure job in high finance, a job which would have lasted until they chose to quit. Take a long look at the profession, then a long look at yourself, and then be really honest about your strengths/weaknesses/options. After that either dive in or don't.

Would I do it again? Maybe. I feel like I don't really have a good enough feeling for being an attending to answer this yet. Check in with me in 5 years.
What's your specialty?
 
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Perrotfish

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In terms of money it is obviously not worth it in majority of cases.
Any good financial planner will tell you that you evaluate components of your portfolio primarily based on their average return on investment. By that standard un-sexy investments like vanguard funds are ideal investments. They have the best ROI, on average

Any good financial planner will also warn you that a really BAD way to build your wealth is to evaluate your investments based on their maximum potential growth. By that standard the best investments are individual stocks, particularly penny stocks with their potential for growth. Actually by that standard lottery ticket are a great investment. A whole lot of people go broke trying to build a portfolio that will get them rich quickly.

In case the metaphor isn't getting across, medicine is the index fund and the careers its often compared to are the penny stocks. Physicians who casually say that there are easier ways to get rich than medicine are usually looking at the success stories (the successful I banker, the lawyer who landed the rare job with lockstep pay, the business major who got promoted to CEO) and aren't seeing the average return (most people end up groveling for job security in cubicles, and the median lifetime earnings for college educated workers remains rock steady at 2 million dollars).
 
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cbrons

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Any good financial planner will tell you that you evaluate components of your portfolio primarily based on their average return on investment. By that standard un-sexy investments like vanguard funds are ideal investments. They have the best ROI, on average

Any good financial planner will also warn you that a really BAD way to build your wealth is to evaluate your investments based on their maximum potential growth. By that standard the best investments are individual stocks, particularly penny stocks with their potential for growth. Actually by that standard lottery ticket are a great investment. A whole lot of people go broke trying to build a portfolio that will get them rich quickly.

In case the metaphor isn't getting across, medicine is the index fund and the careers its often compared to are the penny stocks. Physicians who casually say that there are easier ways to get rich than medicine are usually looking at the success stories (the successful I banker, the lawyer who landed the rare job with lockstep pay, the business major who got promoted to CEO) and aren't seeing the average return (most people end up groveling for job security in cubicles, and the median lifetime earnings for college educated workers remains rock steady at 2 million dollars).
We'll see if your optimism holds up when health care is completely socialized and doctors make about as much as a pervert wearing a TSA uniform or an air traffic controller.
 

allantois

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We'll see if your optimism holds up when health care is completely socialized and doctors make about as much as a pervert wearing a TSA uniform or an air traffic controller.
Canada is socialized; their physicians are doing just fine. Everyone who's in it for the money, is free to get out.
 
OP
Asiflicious
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I'm just curious, why do people say medicine doesn't make good money? From what I know, you'd have to be a successful businessman, IB, or partner at a prominent law firm to make significantly more than a doctor does. The very lowest paid medical specialties still make more than 150k which is much much higher than most Americans will ever make. Now I realize that in areas like LA and NYC, 150-300k is nothing, but in normal suburban cities that sort of money is way more than enough for a luxurious and comfortable life. Obviously no Manhattan penthouses or new Ferraris, but a 150-300k salary is still upper middle class. So please explain to me why this salary isn't enough?
 

cbrons

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I'm just curious, why do people say medicine doesn't make good money? From what I know, you'd have to be a successful businessman, IB, or partner at a prominent law firm to make significantly more than a doctor does. The very lowest paid medical specialties still make more than 150k which is much much higher than most Americans will ever make. Now I realize that in areas like LA and NYC, 150-300k is nothing, but in normal suburban cities that sort of money is way more than enough for a luxurious and comfortable life. Obviously no Manhattan penthouses or new Ferraris, but a 150-300k salary is still upper middle class. So please explain to me why this salary isn't enough?
Its called taxes
ANd opportunity cost
And student loans

Are u new?
 
May 4, 2015
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It was a joke that is more about making you think about each step along the way more than it is about actually making the decision for you. Mark my words though, each time you loop back to 15, you're more likely to be miserable as a doctor in the future.
I don't know. This chart was pretty believable because these things seem to occur very often in medicine.
 
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Canada is socialized; their physicians are doing just fine. Everyone who's in it for the money, is free to get out.
yea and long wait times for physicians is also something I would prefer....I don't think that country has it great at all. Too many people are over-educated and end up finding jobs here in the US.
 

medic86

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We'll see if your optimism holds up when health care is completely socialized and doctors make about as much as a pervert wearing a TSA uniform or an air traffic controller.
There is a gigantic difference in pay between a random TSA uniform wearer and an air traffic controller.
 

Mad Jack

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I'm just curious, why do people say medicine doesn't make good money? From what I know, you'd have to be a successful businessman, IB, or partner at a prominent law firm to make significantly more than a doctor does. The very lowest paid medical specialties still make more than 150k which is much much higher than most Americans will ever make. Now I realize that in areas like LA and NYC, 150-300k is nothing, but in normal suburban cities that sort of money is way more than enough for a luxurious and comfortable life. Obviously no Manhattan penthouses or new Ferraris, but a 150-300k salary is still upper middle class. So please explain to me why this salary isn't enough?
There's a lot of extra costs that go along with being a physician. Some states, your license week cost as much as $1,000 to renew. Your student loans will likely run between 20-35k a year, after tax, and are ineligible for loan interest deduction because your income is too high. Many of the deductions, in fact, that most middle class citizens get, you end up being ineligible for, as many phase out at higher incomes. Then there is CMEs, which can run in the thousands per year, plus flight costs, the higher state and local tax brackets you sit in, paying for your own health insurance and benefits if you are working a 1099, etc etc. If you're pulling 180k in primary care, it can easily dwindle to 70k or less after all is said and done if you happen to live in the wrong region and are working a 1099.
 
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