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UCFMOP

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With malpractice, NPs and PAs becoming independent, long years of medical school, huge amount of debt, and a low salary (for PCP) why even bother becoming a doctor?
 

TexasTriathlete

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I'm so good at playing doctor that it seems like it would be a smooth transition.

Seriously though, I want to do something I will like, and I think this is it.
 
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If you don't know, then perhaps it's not for you.

Not trying to sound mean, but it isn't a journey for everyone. At the same time, there are several PAs that have gone on to med school. Everyone has their own reasons. But I'll also say that if your reasons aren't ones you firmly believe in at the very depths of your soul, you won't be happy (or perhaps won't even make it). The journey can rather suck moldy monkey patties at times.

Think about this one carefully.
 

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With malpractice, NPs and PAs becoming independent, long years of medical school, huge amount of debt, and a low salary (for PCP) why even bother becoming a doctor?

I worked for the British Secret Service since the late 1950s. Obtained double 0 status, defeated a lot of bad guys, bedded countless women etc. My career was going fairly well, however, I wasn't satisfied and decided that a career in medicine would be more exciting. So, I dropped everything I was going, turned in my walther ppk and started my pre-med courses. :thumbup:
 

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You get paid for taking care of people that need to be taken care of. You get paid for doing good. Why not be a doctor?
 

UCFMOP

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I guess I should have said; In light of issues that many people discuss intensely on SDN such as CRNAs, lack of P.C Physicians, lowering reimbursements, Insurance companies telling you how to practice, and future compettetion from midlevels, why do you still want to become a doctor?

As shy wisely suggests, medicine is not for everyone and the decision to enter medical school should not be taken lightly.

I can say for myself, it was always something I have wanted to do, and the more I learned about it, the more I liked it.
 

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...........a low salary (for PCP) why even bother becoming a doctor?

Yea, I guess 6 figures lands you in the poor house now-a-days. If I could just pull in about 500k a year I would be set. Oh well.

I guess I should have said; In light of issues that many people discuss intensely on SDN such as CRNAs, lack of P.C Physicians, lowering reimbursements, Insurance companies telling you how to practice, and future compettetion from midlevels, why do you still want to become a doctor?

As shy wisely suggests, medicine is not for everyone and the decision to enter medical school should not be taken lightly.

I can say for myself, it was always something I have wanted to do, and the more I learned about it, the more I liked it.

If this is true, than none of the stuff you listed should matter. In every job you will find problems. Either the boss is telling you how to do something or some middleman is trying to cut into your sales, it is in every job. Now, like I said, if you like medicine, you will learn to look past the shortcomings of this country's medical management.
 

UCFMOP

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It is my understanding that PCPs make about 120k before taxes and malpractice. After taxes this is about 90 something, I read it before here on SDN. I know low pay of PCP has already been discussed alot, I guess I just need a boost from other people who are in this journey (especially after my biochem rappage today)
 

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It is my understanding that PCPs make about 120k before taxes and malpractice. After taxes this is about 90 something, I read it before here on SDN. I know low pay of PCP has already been discussed alot, I guess I just need a boost from other people who are in this journey (especially after my biochem rappage today)

PCPs make a lot less. It's more likely around $45k/yr. Most docs are on welfare and drive cabs on the weekends and weeknights are shifts. Haven't you heard?:sleep:
 

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Yoda: "This sarcasm is strong in this one..."
 

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You know, we're supposed to shadow docs to get a feel for medicine, but really we should shadow people in a half dozen professions so we get to hear the universal bitch fest that is the average career. There's a downside and a fear factor in any direction you go. Engineering? Outsourcing. Business? Recession. Law? Tort reform. Nursing? Imported labor. Medicine doesn't own misery.
 
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Because pirating was outlawed not long after man took to the seas. Not that I should dignify the low income comment with a response, but, I have yet to see a doctor in the soup kitchen lines.
 

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I am a premed student who is just beginning to question my choice of career path. I have always wanted to go into medicine but recently I am being faced with various dilemmas. At the start of it all, before all the hardships of the profession, fundamentally what made you decide to go to med school and become a doctor?
 

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i look pretty good wearing a doctors coat.

there really is nothing else I want to do in my life than becoming a physician, really... nothing. Accept maybe an actor who plays a doctor.
 

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I am a premed student who is just beginning to question my choice of career path. I have always wanted to go into medicine but recently I am being faced with various dilemmas. At the start of it all, before all the hardships of the profession, fundamentally what made you decide to go to med school and become a doctor?

Hello,
Sorry if this thread seems a bit overwhelming, its sometimes difficult to remember that people come here for good information. There are a lot of reasons to go into medicine in my opinion. However, the universal truth is: if you aren't dedicated or a little unsure, there are a LOT of easier thing to do in life. Sometimes when its 3 AM and I'm trying to memorize the synapomorphies of the craniata I sit back and think 'what the hell am I doing?' I think about how I could kinda coast and try my hand at business later on, or get a JD, or write. However, it is that burning passion to want to be a physician and help people and forge a life for yourself in medicine that keeps me going at that moment. I've had buddies that were on the fence about being pre-med, and I can honestly tell you that I don't know a single one who evaluated pre-med vs anything else and didn't choose anything else.

You need to ask yourself if it is really, really what you want. If you yearn to become a doctor, the sacrifice is completely worth it in the end. I would personally rather work hard now and achieve what I've wanted forever opposed to maybe finishing quickly, starting a career, and five years down the road completely regret not being a doctor. Ask yourself if this is how you feel, and if it is ... go for it 100%.

Also, I fell prey to a common stereotype in my response, which is people thinking that medicine is the only difficult path to choose in life and everything else is a cake walk. About once a month there is a person on the boards who says something like: 'Why get an MD when I can screw around in college and become an I-banker right out of undergrad making 300k then eventually 1 million dollars in a few years?' The mistake here is thinking that you can just wake up one morning and stumble assbackwards into success in something like business. Finding success in anything in life takes hard work, dedication and some raw talent.

No matter how much he wants to believe it, the pre-med with no knack for business isn't going to moonwalk their way into upper management at a fortune 500 company. The guy who graduated top of his class in Econ at University of Chicago, got his MBA at a top 20 Biz school and then worked 80 hour weeks for the first five years of his career does.

So long story short ... there is nothing that says you have to make a decision right now. My advice is to realize that everything in life takes hard work and if you do find a passion for medicine or business or anything else, work as hard as you can to succeed in it.
 

justletmeinplz

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i look pretty good wearing a doctors coat.

there really is nothing else I want to do in my life than becoming a physician, really... nothing. Except maybe an actor who plays a doctor.
fixed.

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM9ziBfuGvM[/YOUTUBE]
 

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It is my understanding that PCPs make about 120k before taxes and malpractice. After taxes this is about 90 something, I read it before here on SDN. I know low pay of PCP has already been discussed alot, I guess I just need a boost from other people who are in this journey (especially after my biochem rappage today)

No offense UCFMOP to whoever posted those #'s, but they are wrong. I work with Physician salary averages on a daily basis, and have for 6 years. I negotiate contracts for Physicians in every major specialty, and have worked in every part of the country (yes even Alaska). Hopefully this will end the debate on Primary Care Incomes. The following numbers come from the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association), the most widely accepted standard for Physician salaries Nationwide. If these have already been posted then I'm sorry for the repeat. Three numbers, 50th%, 75%, and 90%:

FP (w/o)OB - $164,021; $207,119; $267,922
IM - $177,059; $220,796; $277,922
PED - $174,353; $222,345; $284,867
PSY - $185,957; $224,202; $267,183
OBG - $271,425; $350,000; $451,410

For those in it for the money, here's some hope, for the rest some peace of mind. If you'd like info on any of the other specialties, drop me a PM. I can also break down for you if you like the best/worst malpratice states as well as rural medicine vs. metro medicine from a business perspective.

Hope ya'll are having great week!
 

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Seneca20, fellow future fin, where are you staying (on campus or local apartment or house). I just filled out the online housing form and was wandering your take on it. Second question, do you know the average salary for an ER doc, the field that im currently in has people talking about ER docs that make like 240/hr, this seems real high to me. thanks in advance.
 

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Seneca, don't come bringing "facts" and "statistics" into the equation. This is SDN, where anecdotal evidence, hearsay and speculation reign supreme. :D
 
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Three numbers, 50th%, 75%, and 90%:

FP (w/o)OB - $164,021; $207,119; $267,922
IM - $177,059; $220,796; $277,922
PED - $174,353; $222,345; $284,867
PSY - $185,957; $224,202; $267,183
OBG - $271,425; $350,000; $451,410

Um..... seems to me that the 90% number is totally useless. Shouldn't it be 25%, 50%, and 75%? That would draw a more accurate picture. Based on the percentiles you are using, I'm not surprised that these numbers look very inflated.

To the OP.... my reason for wanting to be a Doctor is that if I were to become anything else, I'd have to change my username. Hope that helps!
 

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Sorry for bringing in the facts and stats, its the finance guy in me - I just can't seem to kill him. Can ya'll ever forgive me??? One last bit of #'s and I'm done.

Doctor:

As for the inflated #'s I work on the Doc's behalf, so I don't even touch 25%, if its not 50th% or better I don't come to the table. Just added info the 25% is generally Docs working in the heart of major metro, VA or other government employees. For the sake the conversation I would think that the 50% numbers would most apply, I'm just used to throwing out 50, 75, and 90th numbers out of habit. Here are 25% sorry for not including them earlier:

FP - $134,272
IM - $144,886
PED - $137,536
PSY - $159,019
OBG - $216,815

Hope that clears things up everyone.

UFPharmDO:

Look forward to meeting you. I'm moving down there the beginning of June. I decided not to live on campus, bought a condo about 4 miles from campus, haven't looked at the housing form. As to EM docs, $240/hr is definitely on the high end. Depending on the part of the country, size community, and trauma level, I see $120-180/hr. As far as total income they are averaging right at $250K a year.

OP to your question: I'm shallow, narcissistic, totally obsessed with money, and figured I'd finally have an excuse for the whole God complex....... Is that bad?:smuggrin:
 

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UCFMOP,

Your original question would be best answered by folks who have finished med school and have some experience at "doctoring...no offense to pre-meds. I would suggest posting in the general residency forum. You'll get some bites.

PM me if you have questions. I'd be happy to help you out. I have my own jaded opinions but I still like what I do. That might not make any sense to a pre-med and that's exactly my point. Also, I think I can stay pretty objective about other people's experiences as well.
 

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UCFMOP,

Your original question would be best answered by folks who have finished med school and have some experience at "doctoring...no offense to pre-meds. I would suggest posting in the general residency forum. You'll get some bites.

PM me if you have questions. I'd be happy to help you out. I have my own jaded opinions but I still like what I do. That might not make any sense to a pre-med and that's exactly my point. Also, I think I can stay pretty objective about other people's experiences as well.

This is actually a very good point. Pre-meds can give you their opinion on why they did this, but if you want information on the real journey, a med student/residents pov would be good.
 

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Sorry for bringing in the facts and stats, its the finance guy in me - I just can't seem to kill him. Can ya'll ever forgive me??? One last bit of #'s and I'm done.

Doctor:

As for the inflated #'s I work on the Doc's behalf, so I don't even touch 25%, if its not 50th% or better I don't come to the table. Just added info the 25% is generally Docs working in the heart of major metro, VA or other government employees. For the sake the conversation I would think that the 50% numbers would most apply, I'm just used to throwing out 50, 75, and 90th numbers out of habit. Here are 25% sorry for not including them earlier:

FP - $134,272
IM - $144,886
PED - $137,536
PSY - $159,019
OBG - $216,815

Hope that clears things up everyone.

UFPharmDO:

Look forward to meeting you. I'm moving down there the beginning of June. I decided not to live on campus, bought a condo about 4 miles from campus, haven't looked at the housing form. As to EM docs, $240/hr is definitely on the high end. Depending on the part of the country, size community, and trauma level, I see $120-180/hr. As far as total income they are averaging right at $250K a year.

OP to your question: I'm shallow, narcissistic, totally obsessed with money, and figured I'd finally have an excuse for the whole God complex....... Is that bad?:smuggrin:

are these numbers before or after taxes? I am not surprised FPs earn this much but I am just wondering if this is what they take home.
 

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You know, we're supposed to shadow docs to get a feel for medicine, but really we should shadow people in a half dozen professions so we get to hear the universal bitch fest that is the average career. There's a downside and a fear factor in any direction you go. Engineering? Outsourcing. Business? Recession. Law? Tort reform. Nursing? Imported labor. Medicine doesn't own misery.

So true. Everyone has problems in their careers. Its not like medicine is unique with its hours and problems at all.
 

digitlnoize

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You know, we're supposed to shadow docs to get a feel for medicine, but really we should shadow people in a half dozen professions so we get to hear the universal bitch fest that is the average career. There's a downside and a fear factor in any direction you go. Engineering? Outsourcing. Business? Recession. Law? Tort reform. Nursing? Imported labor. Medicine doesn't own misery.

True-er words have never been spoken. At least not on SDN :laugh:

I've worked in other fields. They all suck. Every field will have someone trying to get a leg up on you...whether it's PA's, NP's, some young hotshot, the Chinese, India, outsourcing, The Jury, Wall Street, the "Shareholders", that other District Manager who is gunning for the VP position, etc...

I am pursuing medicine because it is an exciting field that does good work and pays well. I like learning, reading, the amazing technological advances, most of the people, and the work.

As someone who was not brought up in a medical family...the things we can do today are friggin' awesome. I've watched a lung get deflated, so a tumor can be removed from above a kid's beating heart thoroscopically. Awesome. Pretty run of the mill by today's standards too.

Also, it should not be forgotten that no matter HOW much autonomy is given to PA's...they are still "Physician Assistants." They assist us, not the other way around. It's stuck in their name for eternity.

Their increased autonomy might spell trouble for Primary Care, but I rather doubt it. There's more than enough to go around. The relatively low pay for FP's is mostly due to the horrible way reimbursements are done.

Btw...those salary numbers seem about right to me from what I've heard. The ER docs I work with are making around 250k-280k starting. 35-40 hour work weeks, no call, scribes, small community hosipital. Nice gig.

150k is about right for FP's too. And, their work week has been averaging around 42-45 hours...much lower then the 60+ hours seen in radiology for 300k...and they don't have to deal with hospital administration or bosses. Might be worth it to some people.
 

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are these numbers before or after taxes? I am not surprised FPs earn this much but I am just wondering if this is what they take home.

Just so you know, salaries, wages, and any other income is NEVER reported in post-tax figures. It would be way too hard to compile that way because everything is apples vs. oranges. Each one of the 50 states has a different tax system so that the same salary in any 2 states won't end up being the same. Even in the 6 or so states without an income tax of their own, they have different sales tax amounts that will still eat into your "take home" unless you never buy anything or buy even your groceries out-of-state via the Internet.

A good rule of thumb is you get around 60% after taxes, so if your salary is going to be $150,000 expect to go home with $90,000 (and it will be a lot less than that after you pay rent or a mortgage, etc.)
 
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True-er words have never been spoken. At least not on SDN :laugh:

I've worked in other fields. They all suck. Every field will have someone trying to get a leg up on you...whether it's PA's, NP's, some young hotshot, the Chinese, India, outsourcing, The Jury, Wall Street, the "Shareholders", that other District Manager who is gunning for the VP position, etc...

I am pursuing medicine because it is an exciting field that does good work and pays well. I like learning, reading, the amazing technological advances, most of the people, and the work.

As someone who was not brought up in a medical family...the things we can do today are friggin' awesome. I've watched a lung get deflated, so a tumor can be removed from above a kid's beating heart thoroscopically. Awesome. Pretty run of the mill by today's standards too.

Also, it should not be forgotten that no matter HOW much autonomy is given to PA's...they are still "Physician Assistants." They assist us, not the other way around. It's stuck in their name for eternity.

This is exactly what i tell people when they ask "why not PA?" Because i want to call the shots, that's why. PA's, NP's---both great careers, but they have a professional and intellectual 'ceiling'. You will always be #2. If someone is ok with that i think it's an awesome career choice.

Their increased autonomy might spell trouble for Primary Care, but I rather doubt it. There's more than enough to go around. The relatively low pay for FP's is mostly due to the horrible way reimbursements are done.

Btw...those salary numbers seem about right to me from what I've heard. The ER docs I work with are making around 250k-280k starting. 35-40 hour work weeks, no call, scribes, small community hosipital. Nice gig.

150k is about right for FP's too. And, their work week has been averaging around 42-45 hours...much lower then the 60+ hours seen in radiology for 300k...and they don't have to deal with hospital administration or bosses. Might be worth it to some people.


Anesthesia is where its at, IMO. Great salary, predictable hours, and excellent lifestyle potential if that's what youre after. Plus it's a cool job. You get to work with phys/pharm, do procedures, and the patient interactions are usually positive. How cool is it to relieve someone's pain every day?
 

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This is exactly what i tell people when they ask "why not PA?" Because i want to call the shots, that's why. PA's, NP's---both great careers, but they have a professional and intellectual 'ceiling'. You will always be #2. If someone is ok with that i think it's an awesome career choice.

Aren't NPs allowed to open their own clinic and be the Primary Care Provider alone in a lot of states? Maybe they have to have a physician come by for 2 hours a week or something. Also, they can prescribe anything a doctor can in a lot of states (like New York and New Jersey) without consulting a physician, including narcotics.

The FP doctor shortage is going to have NPs and the dreaded Dr. Nurse filling that role themselves... which I admit is a very scary prospect!
 

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Because being a doctor is the most fun you can have with your clothes on :D

..a quote from an old professor...
 

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UCFMOP,

Your original question would be best answered by folks who have finished med school and have some experience at "doctoring...no offense to pre-meds. I would suggest posting in the general residency forum. You'll get some bites.

PM me if you have questions. I'd be happy to help you out. I have my own jaded opinions but I still like what I do. That might not make any sense to a pre-med and that's exactly my point. Also, I think I can stay pretty objective about other people's experiences as well.
I think that this is an important point premeds need to heed. As the wife of a physician I can tell you that I've thought about it more than once. I would love to go to medical school but there are also other things in life that I'd like to do. What I want to do (rural medicine) isn't for the money and I'd most likely lose money. Because I don't want to spend the next 10 years of my life in school/residency/fellowship but hey, I'm still going to be aging gracefully either way. But its a personal opinion.

My husband would tell you get out whilst you can and has been telling every premed to think carefully about what you want. I think being a non-trad helps a bit because you have seen the "other side" as well. So taking a year or two off after college is something that I tell people might be a good idea.
 

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Financially, becoming a doctor, generally, is not the most lucrative move.

That being said...why do people become teachers, PhD's, police officers, go into the military, or become social workers.

All of these professions take a lot of time and money to become members of....but people still do it year after year.

Finances aren't everything for everyone. Most people would give up money in light of job satisfaction. And I would say the majority of doctors enjoy their job....a survey I looked at ranked the profession in the upper echelons of job satisfaction...this coming from a profession that yields a significant number of 'me first' personalities.

And even with finances...you will find many docs who make way above the average...because there are many, many part time docs. They like to spend more time with the family, and work 'part-time', relatively speaking, so they can do that...but are included in the average.

Shoot, I know PCP's that make over 500K a year....and PCP's who teach that still make over 200K.
 

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I would love to hear Dr. Paul Farmer's response to the OP's question...
 

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OP, there was a thread sometime back where the question was posed to current med students " If you knew what you know know after being in school for awhile would you do it all again?"

It was very informative, a lot of great information from many current med students, something about 80 pages long. Do a search for it.
 

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Anesthesia is where its at, IMO. Great salary, predictable hours, and excellent lifestyle potential if that's what youre after. Plus it's a cool job. You get to work with phys/pharm, do procedures, and the patient interactions are usually positive. How cool is it to relieve someone's pain every day?

Yep. My husband chose this specialty as the only really viable option for the lifestyle that we wanted. He calls it his "physiology lab". :D It really works for us....except when he's on OB call for 24hrs. Yuck!

Don't know if I'll end up going "gas" or not though. I really love Peds!
 

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I love this thread, money this money that. I was in a profession where I made quite a bit of money, in fact someone just one level above me was making over $1 million a year, I probably would have been at that point if I stayed on with my firm but left to become a physician because that is what I wanted to do with my life. Doctors definitely earn enough to live decent, maybe not a life of luxury like in the past, accounting for inflation doctor salaries have actually dropped, but that is beside the point.
 

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"Medical education does not exist to provide students with a way of making a living, but to ensure the health of the community." -- Rudolf Virchow
 

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Aren't NPs allowed to open their own clinic and be the Primary Care Provider alone in a lot of states? Maybe they have to have a physician come by for 2 hours a week or something. Also, they can prescribe anything a doctor can in a lot of states (like New York and New Jersey) without consulting a physician, including narcotics.

This is utter b.s., in my opinion. Especially the prescribing authority.

Its not that i think they shouldnt be able to prescribe general meds, but anything, including narcotics?!? This has nothing to do with MD-elitism, it has to do with less-educated and less-trained practitioners being legally able to dole out narcs and the like without physician approval.

I have no problems with PAs, NPs, and CRNAs until they want priviledges that are reserved for trained doctors. You have to draw the line here.
 

tells

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Because it's pure. Whether you do research or primary care, your intentions are only to gain knowledge and to use that knowledge to help others. Simple.

Sure, you can do this by being a physical therapist, psychiatrist (maybe), or a social worker. But there is the thrill of being the last line of defense for people. It's nice to know that when people are in their greatest hour of need they turn to you for help.
 

Dakayus

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OP for me I just can't WAIT until ER rotation, although I won't be doing much, I still get to watch :eek:. I just think people running in with nearly dead patients on gurneys running at top speed for the OR where their lives hang in your hands is just where it's at. I know I'll probably end up killing a lot, but hopefully saving tons more. My Prof was explaining when he was on ER this one guy was bleeding internally, fast bp drop, and they knew it was to the lower extremities, not sure how, and so they had to slice the guy open from slightly below the ribs to clamp the descending aorta *is this right? It's the major artery going down*. They barely got it in time and the guy survived.

I just thought WOW!

I know it'll be stressful, but being an ER doc sounds so challenging and interesting.
 

EricH

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I gotta spend my life doing something, the only thing that make me feel human is helping humans. I believe I can make the greatest impact in medicine.

I don't sweat the money because I am not a big fan of money. I just want to be happy. I used to own a house, have a nicer car, go on fancy vacations and I was less happy than I am today being broke in an apartment and riding my bike.
 

GreenShirt

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If you want a verification of Seneca20's numbers visit this AAMC website: http://www.aamc.org/students/cim/specialties.htm. It gives you a description of all the specialties with salary ranges.

Here's a government report on malpractice insurance rates: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03702.pdf. They range from $10-100K+ depending on specialty and state (Ex: OB/Gyn in california will spend 1/2 their income on insurance).

I believe the tax rate for the six figure income is 30%.

Add in loans, mortgage, car payment.....you still end up with a good sum, but not living in Beverly Hills money.

......of course a search will give you many hits on this topic.


Here's one way to think of the OP's question: Professions such as dentistry, optometry, and PA allow you to make 6 figures with a lot less time spent in school. They all allow you to help people with their health and make a difference in their lives, just like medicine. So why go to medical school instead? That's something you should be able to answer for yourself before you apply.
 
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