Reasons why YOU want to be a doctor?

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May 2, 2002
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I was talking with someone the other day on their reasons of why they wanted to start a career in medicine and I got really annoyed on how they kept "trying" to find some all powerful all encompassing, Albert Schweitzer insiprational answer, but really came up with nothing solid in the end.

Its my personal believe that there's nothing wrong to want to become a doctor for practical reasons, as long as you can show that you're willing to put up with stress and grueling work that comes with the training and the life. There is nothing wrong with saying you want to be a doctor because its a good career with solid financial security, who wouldn't seek that in a career? I'm sure if being a humanitarian in the Congo had very high pay with good benefits, no one would object to doing it for those reasons. A few years ago I talked with a physician friend of mine who told me his reasons for entering medicine, and it was probably the most genuine answer I've heard yet. He applied during the early nineties when the job market fell in the engineering sector, he was originally an electrical engineering major at UCI, and he was looking for a solid career change. He found it in medicine and isn't any less caring of his patients than any other doctor I've met. And money was his initial interest in medicine.

Another thing is respect, why wouldn't respect be a reason to wanting to become a physician? I can think of a lot of people who work their asses off everyday and don't earn half of the respect thats entitled to them because of the nature of their job, they're called public school teachers. A doctor is well respected as a scholar in medical science and its applications, they work years to be experts in their field. Thats a nice perk having to your career versus a career where you are not appreciated for your experience and knowledge. Respect, in my opinion, is a well deserved to the men and women who choose to become doctors.

Any finally helping people, think about it...you're a highly respected well paid physician who does something everyday that many professions don't do directly, which is helping people. Who wouldn't want that? What is wrong with wanting a career that comes with the great salary potential and respect for helping sick people?

Now granted that these aspects of medicine aren't fully visible until after at least 10 years of sadomasochistic education and training is probably where all this practicality might and disappear. Under extreme stress, these reasons ALONE, may not be enough to persuade someone who is struggling, from withdrawing from school or quitting the profession all together. I understand this, and that is why doctor should appreciate and recognize the humanitarian aspects of their work, and that doing what they do everyday has a higher, all encompassing purpose to the lives of the people they treat. I have met medical students who have dropped out or considered failing out of medical school because the stress just wasn't worth it.

If you can convince yourself, for whatever reasons that you have, that it is worth it to stick through the most stressful 10 years of your youth, to gain whatever it is that you seek in being a physician...then I think that you've have got as good as reason as anyone else's to being a damn fine physician.