Making a decision once and for all. Would love some advice from those who have gone before me.

Was medicine worth it to you, and would you recommend it to young would-be doctors?


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    4
Aug 16, 2016
6
2
Hello,

I am new to this forum but have been lurking for years as an undergrad. Thanks for taking a sec to read this.

(This will likely be long, so see the TL,DR below if you desire.)

I will be speaking somewhat personally here. All of my life since I was a small child, a career in medicine was the only thing that really made sense. As a college student, I did all my pre-med courses, but switched majors a few times, going from Philosophy, Biology, then to Bioengineering, and got my B.S. I switched into engineering for many reasons. I was extremely interested in making things, especially those that could be useful for Biomedical purposes.
The other side of this decision consisted of fears. Sky-high debt, horror stories of lawsuits, personal sacrifices whose costs far outweighed the benefit at times. Fast forward to this point, and I am now 24 years old and a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering. I enjoy research, and I am fascinated by this field, but I have a strong feeling in my gut that what I truly love is interacting with patients, and that I may end up regretting not going into medicine. I feel as though creating therapies in the lab is a tremendously beautiful thing to do, but I also want to be able to administer such therapies to patients and help them feel better and heal. I am just not sure about the choice and making it totally final, which is why I am here. I have done shadowing, and my favorite thing about it was the human-to-human interactions that being in this field affords you.
The very intimate involvement in someone's health and a level of trust that is unparalleled, is all very moving to me. I have also worked with recovering adolescent addicts in a rehab facility, and will shortly be working in another mental health facility soon. I really do love working with people. I watched a short documentary about Medecins Sans Frontier, and I fell in love with medicine all over again. This is going to sound melodramatic as all hell but I actually cried while watching it. I saw those wonderful doctors helping those poor and sick people, and how they succeeded as well as failed to save their lives.
My question to the lovely folks of SDN is this. What made medicine worth it to you, and what would you do if you were in my position? If it turns out that I am wrong and that medicine is not a good choice for me, I would rather find out now and not when I am knee-deep in residency. Any ideas how best to find out?

TL,DR
-Was once committed to going after med school, shyed away.
-Am now a grad student
-Thinking about medicine again
-What do
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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What does your heart tell you?


Hello,

I am new to this forum but have been lurking for years as an undergrad. Thanks for taking a sec to read this.

(This will likely be long, so see the TL,DR below if you desire.)

I will be speaking somewhat personally here. All of my life since I was a small child, a career in medicine was the only thing that really made sense. As a college student, I did all my pre-med courses, but switched majors a few times, going from Philosophy, Biology, then to Bioengineering, and got my B.S. I switched into engineering for many reasons. I was extremely interested in making things, especially those that could be useful for Biomedical purposes.
The other side of this decision consisted of fears. Sky-high debt, horror stories of lawsuits, personal sacrifices whose costs far outweighed the benefit at times. Fast forward to this point, and I am now 24 years old and a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering. I enjoy research, and I am fascinated by this field, but I have a strong feeling in my gut that what I truly love is interacting with patients, and that I may end up regretting not going into medicine. I feel as though creating therapies in the lab is a tremendously beautiful thing to do, but I also want to be able to administer such therapies to patients and help them feel better and heal. I am just not sure about the choice and making it totally final, which is why I am here. I have done shadowing, and my favorite thing about it was the human-to-human interactions that being in this field affords you.
The very intimate involvement in someone's health and a level of trust that is unparalleled, is all very moving to me. I have also worked with recovering adolescent addicts in a rehab facility, and will shortly be working in another mental health facility soon. I really do love working with people. I watched a short documentary about Medecins Sans Frontier, and I fell in love with medicine all over again. This is going to sound melodramatic as all hell but I actually cried while watching it. I saw those wonderful doctors helping those poor and sick people, and how they succeeded as well as failed to save their lives.
My question to the lovely folks of SDN is this. What made medicine worth it to you, and what would you do if you were in my position? If it turns out that I am wrong and that medicine is not a good choice for me, I would rather find out now and not when I am knee-deep in residency. Any ideas how best to find out?

TL,DR
-Was once committed to going after med school, shyed away.
-Am now a grad student
-Thinking about medicine again
-What do
 
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Aug 16, 2016
25
4
Status
Attending Physician
It is cool that you like biomedical engineering. The things biomed engineers can do to improve patient health are amazing.

Being a doctor is cool too. But being a doctor is not the only way to be directly involved in patient care. In fact, some doctors do not spend much time interacting with conscious patients. Other options are nursing, physical therapy, MSW, physician assistant, EMT . . . many choices that involve a lot of direct patient contact time. Many choices that would allow you to work with underserved groups and internationally if you want.

Maybe you were responding, as you said, out of fear. Maybe you were listening to your internal 'oh hell no'. However, debt does not need to be a problem. First, you can make a very good income. Second, you can work in places that really need doctors and get your loans repaid on a year-for-year basis. Personal sacrifice - well, doctors haven't cornered the market on personal sacrifice. Lawsuits? Insurance.

Think about what you enjoy most, what you value, and then make your decision.
 
OP
L
Aug 16, 2016
6
2
What does your heart tell you?
To at least go for medicine and see what happens.
Maybe you were responding, as you said, out of fear. Maybe you were listening to your internal 'oh hell no'. However, debt does not need to be a problem. First, you can make a very good income. Second, you can work in places that really need doctors and get your loans repaid on a year-for-year basis. Personal sacrifice - well, doctors haven't cornered the market on personal sacrifice. Lawsuits? Insurance.

Think about what you enjoy most, what you value, and then make your decision.
I don't disagree. I had a massive "oh $#!7" moment when I looked at the cost. In addition to the debt, what has your experience been so far with the above?
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,610
78,836
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
S

Sardinia

@Life's Student Get a job. Seriously. You're overqualified. Unless you have no idea about how to approach a job, you should at least be able to land a per diem job as a unit secretary or a nursing assistant/PCA at some location. A nursing home or a hospital, it doesn't matter. If you want to know what it's like to get a professional experience as an individual within health care, then start putting in the leg work today. Apply as a volunteer at the same time, just so you have a "ways in" and can work that volunteer experience and transition it into a job experience. It's not rocket science nor is it difficult. People just don't put in the leg work to get a first hand experience of what medicine is truly about and come with glorified and unrealistic expectations of what the field actually is in terms of practice.

An LPN or a phlebotomist can also "administer" the medications in the rehab facilities you were talking about. It's incredibly hard to gauge how much experience you need to breach, but you cannot simulate a "residency" experience especially when you cannot compare M1/M2 to anything directly analogous to what you went through in U.grad or a masters program. I've heard of people sharing a sense of comraderie in other fields of study, but it's all apples to oranges when it comes to brass tax.
 
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Mansamusa

2+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2015
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1,308
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Medical Student
Remember to treat opinions like Amazon reviews.

People are usually 100x more dramatic in their reviews than how things actually are. At each step so far (which admittedly isn't too far into med school) everything has been less dramatic than I was told. Even a lot of the debt management stuff. The best way to learn is to just get in there and see for yourself
 
OP
L
Aug 16, 2016
6
2
@Life's Student Get a job. Seriously. You're overqualified. Unless you have no idea about how to approach a job, you should at least be able to land a per diem job as a unit secretary or a nursing assistant/PCA at some location. A nursing home or a hospital, it doesn't matter. If you want to know what it's like to get a professional experience as an individual within health care, then start putting in the leg work today.
I have two jobs. I work in a research lab and in a residential facility for patients with severe mental disabilities. I am responsible for giving medications already. Previously I worked with young recovering addicts at another residential facility as I mentioned. It was very rewarding when a kid would tell me that a group talk/discussion I did was inspiring to him. I am not exactly super experienced, but I am not green either. When I was in high school I shadowed surgeons in the OR, helped nurses and nurse assistants with patients, and got a real feel for what medical practice is like for a semester. I did some more shadowing with a cardiologist during college as well. I am a trained SCUBA rescue diver as well. The point I am making here is that I really enjoy working in ways that I get to help others, and being a physician, to me, represents the pinnacle of it. Just my personal opinion, nothing more.
Remember to treat opinions like Amazon reviews.

People are usually 100x more dramatic in their reviews than how things actually are. At each step so far (which admittedly isn't too far into med school) everything has been less dramatic than I was told. Even a lot of the debt management stuff. The best way to learn is to just get in there and see for yourself
This is what I was really hoping to hear. It was mentioned to me that the loudest ones tend to be the most dissatisfied, whereas the happier doctors (or people in general for that matter) are out doing their thing and being happy with it.
 
Last edited:

Mansamusa

2+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,310
1,308
Status
Medical Student
This is what I was really hoping to hear. It was mentioned to me that the loudest ones tend to be the most dissatisfied, whereas the happier doctors (or people in general for that matter) are out doing their thing and being happy with it.
That and as I've gotten older, I've realized more and more that people love to complain. All the time. There are parts of medicine that people feel like they should complain about because other people have complained about it, so they start complaining even when there is no reason to (ie. many people started complaining about the workload after the first day, which only had reviews of basic physio). So you always need to find out for yourself what is worth complaining about.
 
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