Jun 20, 2013
6
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Hi guys,

I am a first year medical student seriously considering leaving because I want to have a family and lead a more balanced lifestyle sooner rather than later. I have a cousin in healthcare administration and have been looking into that as a career. I majored in Econ in undergrad and worked as an research analyst in a search firm for a year where I looked into big healthcare systems and their leadership. I understand on a broad level what an administrator does, but there is still so much I don't know. I was wondering if you guys could help me with some advice or information? Here are some questions I have?

1) What is the day to day life like of an administrator?
2) What is the career trajectory after getting an MHA? I hear you can go into consulting or hospital settings afterwards? I think I am interested in both.
3) How is the lifestyle? Is there a lot of long hours or traveling?
4) What are some skills that are essential to becoming successful in this field?
5) Is it a very competitive field? Is job security an issue?
6) What kind of projects do administrators work on?

Thank you so much in advance!
 
Jan 13, 2014
39
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Medical Student
Don't do it. I suspect Hospital Administrators would die for the opportunity to become an MD. The uncertain part of medical school is the first 2 years, really. Do you think you can tough it out for at least then? You can still be an MD and have a family successfully. It's common to experience what you're experiencing. I know it's hard but others have done it and so can you. If you still want to do it, do the MHA after you get your MD. The fact that you're in a medical school now is very valuable and you wouldn't want to give that up.
 
Feb 17, 2013
203
25
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Yeaaa, I really agree with what the above poster mentioned.

I know med school is hard. I'm in my 3rd year, and had to give up a lot my first two years. But you can definitely do it! I saw tons of people with families manage it (some who were married, people who started relationships and married in med school, people who had kids born during their 2nd year). If they did it, then so can you!

Once you get your MD, you're set for life. The degree is immensely valuable, and will grant you so many opportunities. If you drop out now and just go with an MHA, it will be considerably harder to advance in the field, and I suspect you will regret it down the road. Like the above poster said, many MHAs strongly desire to be an MD b/c of the greater opportunity for leadership in healthcare administration. Even if you don't do a residency, just having the MD behind your name will give you more leverage with getting jobs, as well as a much better income (and sure, it's a lot of debt, but again the MD on your name gets you a larger income). You can still be happy and raise a family as a med student and MD!

I've seen people in your situations present similar situations to their mentors and friends, and the advice those mentors have given them is that while med school is quite tough, the rewards are immense, and it's worth going through med school even if you don't really intend to practice medicine and just do healthcare administration or public health. Lots of people go into med school for the sole purpose of going into hospital administration (sometimes they get an MBA instead of an MHA).

Talk to your family about it, and importantly, find some mentors and friends whom you can present this scenario to (people who can provide non-judgmental feedback and advice).
 
Feb 17, 2013
203
25
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And I'm really not sure how to answer your 6 questions (some MHAs can tune in here). I don't have much expertise in that field--so I can be totally off--but I suspect that you'll still be somewhat busy, and won't make much money. It might also be hard to find a job as just an MHA. There's so many of them out there that are vying for hospital administration jobs, so that's why you need something like an MD to set you apart.

And quite honestly, it can vary. Some MHAs will have had 20-30 years experience and make a lot of money and maybe be just as busy as M.D/MBAs who just started and aren't quite as busy. Lifestyles vary from location to location.

I'm only writing these long posts b/c I've seen a couple of people in your similar situation who dropped out of med school b/c it was busy and they wanted to do public health (and get an MPH), but then later they realized that the MD would be much better for their career advancement, but the med schools wouldn't let them back b/c they had been out of med school for a while. So just think about that.

Like the above poster said, it's completely normal to have these thoughts during med school. This is just a part of the process that we all go through. But it will all be okay--things will get better. All the best with whatever decision you make, and know that everything happens for a reason :D
 
Last edited:

DrJosephKim

Advisor
10+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2008
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www.drjosephkim.com
I suggest you get your MD and pursue a career in health administration as a physician executive. Look into organizations like ACHE and the American Association of Physician Leadership (formerly the American College of Physician Executives). You can pursue an MMM, MBA, or MHA to gain valuable business and management skills.
 
OP
V
Jun 20, 2013
6
0
Status
Thank you guys!!! It's so tempting just to leave now when there isn't too much money invested. I'm terrified of the sacrifices I have to make for this MD and I question it almost every second of the day. For every person that has had a successful relationship in medical school, I feel like there are two stories of couples break up. I cannot deny that you are right though - the MD is a door opening. I'm going to give myself some room to breathe and revisit how I feel after a couple of weeks because these thoughts are interfering with my ability to enjoy the present.