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Why Medical School??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by OleDoc, Apr 10, 2001.

  1. OleDoc

    OleDoc Junior Member

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    It seems the previous thread has been removed or lose in the "update". I was also "un-registered". Let's assume it to be due to computer error. Since some had responded with good questions I will repost the previous notes for your review and,as usual, welcome your comments.
    ===========================================
    Why go to medical school? What are the pro?s and con?s? Now, 50+ years since high school and
    after 32 years in surgical practice, I?m convinced there are valid reasons why sane and rational people would (should?) not go to medical school--even if they have ability, grades, etc. Society, medical schools, and drug and insurance companies have vested nterests in a good supply of physicians and ?other health care providers?, but unfortunately the disadvantages to the individual are little discussed or known except by those ?on the inside? . But then it is too late.
    I do and will continue to admire and support those who, in whatever way, honorably participate in medicine but I also believe ?full disclosure? is important to those in the process of deciding to go into medicine. I have no interest in participating in preaching or harangue, but if there are any
    who wish to have a conversation, I?d be pleased to participate.
    Thanks. ?OleDoc?
    =============================================
    Doggy
    Member

    Posts: 41
    From:
    Registered: Mar
    2001
    posted April 06, 2001 04:21 PM

    As an insider, can you disclose some of the "cons" of a career in medicine? In what ways did it not meet your expectations or ideals?
    Thanks.

    =============================================
    praying4MD
    Senior Member

    Posts: 69
    From: Houston,
    Texas USA
    Registered: Feb
    2001
    posted April 06, 2001 04:55 PM

    I, too, would be very interested to know why you feel so disillusioned with medicine (if I have interpreted your post correctly). Could you tell us the cons as, obviously, you are someone with much more insight and experience than we have. Any thoughts of yours would be appreciated. Thanks.

    =============================================
    dfleis
    Senior Member

    Posts: 52
    From:
    Gainesville, FL
    USA
    Registered: Dec
    2000
    posted April 06, 2001 05:52 PM

    My father is an MD... and unfortunately we've experienced more downs in the career of medicine than ups. I'm talking in terms of economics, physical and mental wear and tear,
    and the uncertainty of basically working for an insurance company.
    .... or about dealing with patients who are hooked on drugs and only go to the doctor to refill; then the problems that occur after the doctor has to expel them from the practice...
    .... or the patients who basically have the doctor's words travel into the void, only to return a week later and complain that the symptoms are getting worse....
    .. or about working for an HMO that sees patients as #s instead of individuals. This is particularly disturbing because
    1) the doctor is basically coerced into seeing a certain amount of patients per hour,
    which leads to 2) the quality of care for the patient drops, which leads to 3) the doctor will have his ass nailed by a malpractice suit, which leads to 4) the price of malpractice insurance goes up for all the
    doctors, which leads to 5) a battle, instead of a relationship, between some patients who are hoping to get rich from their doctors visits and the doctor himself. (This one, fortunately we did not experience)
    My life has revolved around medicine, because my father has been consumed, as all doctors are, by the profession. I hear about the horror stories of his colleagues and friends, and I always feared that something like that would happen to my father (getting burnt out, for instance). While growing up, my father always made sure I heard about these stories, because he didn't want to give me the one dimensional view of medicine that the world around us sculpted.
    I'm sure 'OleDoc' may tell you about these stories, and perhaps it would be good for some of you who are more distant from some of the realities of your future profession.
    Let me tell you, though, after all his... there's nothing I would rather do in my life than being a doctor. The only reason why I've bothered writing this is because there may
    be one or two of you that are scared of some of these horror stories.I'm just going to tell you that I've lived through a share of these "horror stories" .....
    I can't wait until I'm there, myself.


    =============================================
    OleDoc
    Member

    Posts: 2
    From:
    Registered: Apr
    2001
    posted April 07, 2001 12:54 PM

    In reply to dfleis, doggy, and pray4MD

    First, thanks ?dfleis? for your note. If you know the ropes and think medicine is for you - go for it. I certainly wish you every success and know society wants and needs
    doctors. Your true comments are true to life and should be known and carefully considered by anyone going into medicine. You do not exaggerate. However, the 44 year old pediatrician husband of my niece (his father was also a doctor) recently said ?I?ve had enough? and quit.
    A few thoughts from the other end of the line.

    Undergraduate school -- Medical school folklore to the contrary, in the final analysis it is the GPA that gets you into medical school because there are plenty of ?well rounded? applicants with interesting hobbies or family histories. This fact results in a serious tilt toward sciences, little time for the humanities, and the chase for a high GPA. Is this a ?well
    rounded? education? And then think of the games played, work done, and time spent in just getting admitted and especially if you want to ?get into a good school? -- as if there is not more in any school than
    anyone can absorb.

    Medical school -- regardless of your ability, there will be an almost unbelievable increase in the work load and in the abilities of your fellow classmates. Most who are admitted will graduate. Partly because the schools will not admit to the inexactness of the selection process and partly because most medical students are both smart and hard workers. Those rejected may be unjustly
    labeled as ?failures?.

    Residency -- The stakes rise again. You again play the game. Not just any residency, but a ?really good? one. One with a name, reputation ! Another 4-8 years and, according to friends and relatives, you are ?still in school and do not have a job?.

    Post residency -- You must now become board certified. Yes, you are an M.D. but only tenatively acceptable to most hospitals, insurance companies, government agencies, and employers. Sort of a ?non-entity? until you get another piece of paper.

    Post board certification -- after about 10 years (varies with specialty) you will be required to be ?re-certified? or you lose that piece of paper and you ability to work
    at your profession. ( Or should we say, ?remain employed?). And so, every ten years for the rest of your life.

    These are only the educational wickets that you will live with. They do represent significant ability, accomplisment, and a lot of work, but only permit you to try to do
    more work to ?put bread on the table? and is understood and appreciated only by your fellow doctors.
    Meanwhile, your relatively relaxed college classmate may be the president of a hospital company and just been given a $450,000 bonus on top of his $500,000 yearly salary and $13 million in stock options. [numbers from today?s news]

    And I have not mentioned the relative position of the physician in society today, the economics of medicine nor related more of what ?dfleis? calls the ?horror stories?.

    Priests serve a useful function in society but not every one is cut out for the job. Maybe something ?just does not compute??
    I?ll very much appreciate comments.

    OleDoc

    =============================================
    kimberlicox
    Senior Member

    Posts: 778
    From: California
    Registered: Apr
    2000
    posted April 07, 2001 01:29 PM


    quote:

    Originally posted by OleDoc:
    Another 4-8 years and, according to friends and
    relatives, you are ?still in school and do not have a
    job?.

    Ha Ha...have you been talking to my family Ole Doc?



    #############################################

    In reply to dfleis, doggy, and pray4MD

    First, thanks ?dfleis? for your note. If you know the ropes and think medicine is for you - go for it.
    I certainly wish you every success and know society wants and needs doctors. Your true
    comments are true to life and should be known and carefully considered by anyone going into
    medicine. You do not exaggerate. However, the 44 year old pediatrician husband of my niece
    (his father was also a doctor) recently said ?I?ve had enough? and quit.

    A few thoughts from the other end of the line.

    Undergraduate school -- Medical school folklore to the contrary, in the final analysis it is the GPA
    that gets you into medical school because there are plenty of ?well rounded? applicants with
    interesting hobbies or family histories. This fact results in a serious tilt toward sciences, little
    time for the humanities, and the chase for a high GPA. Is this a ?well rounded? education?
    And then think of the games played, work done, and time spent in just getting admitted and
    especially if you want to ?get into a good school? -- as if there is not more in any school than
    anyone can absorb.

    Medical school -- regardless of your ability, there will be an almost unbelievable increase in the
    work load and in the abilities of your fellow classmates. Most who are admitted will graduate.
    Partly because the schools will not admit to the inexactness of the selection process and partly
    because most medical students are both smart and hard workers. Those rejected may be
    unjustly labeled as ?failures?.

    Residency -- The stakes rise again. You again play the game. Not just any residency, but a
    ?really good? one. One with a name, reputation ! Another 4-8 years and, according to friends
    and relatives, you are ?still in school and do not have a job?.

    Post residency -- You must now become board certified. Yes, you are an M.D. but only tenatively
    acceptable to most hospitals, insurance companies, government agencies, and employers. Sort
    of a ?non-entity? until you get another piece of paper.

    Post board certification -- after about 10 years (varies with specialty) you will be required to be
    ?re-certified? or you lose that piece of paper and you ability to work at your profession. ( Or
    should we say, ?remain employed?). And so, every ten years for the rest of your life.

    These are only the educational wickets that you will live with. They do represent significant
    ability, accomplisment, and a lot of work, but only permit you to try to do more work to ?put
    bread on the table? and is understood and appreciated only by your fellow doctors. Meanwhile,
    your relatively relaxed college classmate may be the president of a hospital company and just
    been given a $450,000 bonus on top of his $500,000 yearly salary and $13 million in stock
    options. [numbers from today?s news]

    And I have not mentioned the relative position of the physician in society today, the economics of
    medicine nor related more of what ?dfleis? calls the ?horror stories?.

    Priests serve a useful function in society but not every one is cut out for the job. Maybe
    something ?just does not compute??

    I?ll very much appreciate comments.

    OleDoc

    ======================================================
    To ? kimberlecox? -- aha! Sounds as if it rang a bell !

    To ?oscar505?

    Why are so many people competing to get into medical school? Maybe that is an opening for
    some comment about the position of the physician in society today. Historically physicians have
    had a place of honor and respect in society. They often were the better educated people, they
    were honorable, and they generally tried to help the people with whom they had contact. This is
    still true today in my experience. It is this ?hold over? view of the world that still brings people to
    medicine. The young ?physician to be? says, ?Even if all around me are corrupt, I will stand for
    right, I will selflessness, I will be caring !!? And in most case that is a very genuine commitment.
    But times have changed. Society has changed. Science marches on!
    Only within the past 75-100 years could a person consulting a physician have a chance that the
    course of his illness could be significantly changed. With the very real advances of medicine in
    recent years, expectations have advanced even more rapidly and, as a result, there is much
    frustration and anger when the expected cure is not achieved. This leads to poor patient
    relations, claims of malpractice, anger about costs, etc. Today?s reality is that as ?dfleis? points
    out above ?it?s a jungle out there?. Regardless of what area or community you work in the
    physicians will usually be thought of in derisive terms as being ?uncaring, golf-playing, and
    interested only in money?, etc,etc.
    One of the sharpest, hardest working and most conscientious internists I know said in jest ?the
    public expects only three things from medicine: Eternal Life, with full sexual vigor, free? There is
    wisdom in that quip and current expectations are closer than many like admit. The
    medical/scientific community will not say so but the obvious result of ?stamping out? heart
    disease, cancer, lung disease, degenerative disorders, etc, etc is something approaching eternal
    life. Unrealistic expectations, prematurely and unconsciously assumed, result in much very deep
    anger often directed toward the closest medical person around--the doctor, or the nurse.
    The ?Mother Teresa?s? of the world may be able to accept this, and should be honored for doing
    so. But ?lesser mortals? may not choose to spend their life in such a environment. That is why I
    am writing this and why 50% of the currently practicing physicians do not recommend medicine
    to their children. It not a matter of being a Luddite. It is not about whether I am disillusioned it.
    It is about whether those who think medicine is for them will be disillusioned. It is about
    responsibility to individuals rather than amorphous society. It is a matter of telling both sides of
    the story. It is about ?informed consent? as the lawyers would say.

    To ?Methuselah?

    I don?t have a lot of stories in this area. Close to home, I mentioned my niece?s husband who
    quit, moved to Hawaii and started planting coconut palms. Says after a while he may work in an
    ER.
    The internist mentioned above (easy going, sharp as a tack, thorough, kind, hard working,
    patient) eventually went for a MBA and planned to get out of clinical medicine. Some who have
    been in clinical practice leave for administrative jobs, shift work in the E.R.(a brief period of
    terror traded for continuing patient care responsibilities perhaps ? ), Business school or Law
    School. There are not a lot options without going back to school and so many are obliged to
    stay. What options does a pre-med have even immediately after graduating with various
    combinations of Major/Minors in Chemistry, Biology and Physics? As to how they have done
    financially. Only with a streak of luck and great frugality can a physician ?retire? at age forty. The
    amount of debt that some recent have on leaving school graduates is staggering. There are very
    few out in the real world before age 33-35.
    So they stay. And look for an option. Sadly, it is not the few ?ner do wells? in medicine who want
    to opt out, it?s some of those with the highest standards and ability. Thanks for your news
    report. My 50% number above was from a survey of the American College of Physicians several
    years ago.

    Thanks. I welcome comments.

     
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I was also unregistered OlDoc and lost my 800+ post totals. I've been told its probably a server switchover error and they're working on it. I'm not sure why we (and vegeta from what I've seen) were singled out...I've apologized for any misbehavior here! [​IMG]

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  4. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    OleDoc: What do you feel is the best method for dealing with the dilemmas you have discussed? Also, looking back on your career, do you regret going into medicine altogether? Or just what the field has become? How would you have done things differently? And if it's not too personal, did your family life suffer because of your committment to medicine?

    I feel I am dedicated to this field. Of course, this is coming from an inexperienced and very idealistic pre-med, but I have strong convictions about my choice of profession because I came to this decision of my own accord and after extensive experience in the field... well, as much as is possible at the age of 20 anyway (which is probably not much.)

    Anyhow, may I ask what your kids' career plans are and how you helped shaped those decisions? If that is too personal, there is no need to answer, I am just curious.

    Also, do you think that the future of medicine is dim because of the insurance conglomerates or because of the people entering the field itself? In essence, is it the cutthroat competitive nature of interns/medical students/pre-meds these days that are ruining the system or others?
     
  5. OleDoc

    OleDoc Junior Member

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    Let me try to respond to ?Methuselah?s? question about what happens to physicians who quit
    medicine, I did a quick web search for ?doctors leaving medicine?. Only 4 or 5 items came up.
    Two were of note. The first, from Ireland
    <http://www.imt.ie/news/vol175/12794.php3> showed these concerns are not unique to this
    country. The second, <http://www.aamc.org/newsroom/reporter/july2000/woes.htm>, shows
    that these issues are so real that ?the market place? is creating its niche, and that the higher
    echelons of establishment medicine see the problem. Unfortunately, most pre-med students
    have something more to do than peruse the AAMC ?Reporter!?. It confirms that many are looking
    for an exit but there are no easy exits. Medical training is very narrow (but very deep) and a 45
    year doctor fit for only one job -- take care of sick folks. And that is a problem. In his note
    above, ?dfleis? talks of medicine ?consuming? --sadly, that may be true.

    The article may be a bit ?touchy-feely? and ?psychobabblish? but it is well worth reading. Take a
    minute to read it and let me have your comments.

    To ?Praying4MD?
    I?d have to say I don?t regret going into medicine in the ?alas and alack? sense but I do resent
    the tremendous amount of time spent on science to the exclusion of the humanities while in
    undergraduate school. The humanities are the sine-qua-non of an education and probably a
    complement to a truly ?good life?. I frequently say to myself, ?Where has this book (or idea)
    been all my life??.
    As to my children, neither chose medicine. They were adequate students but not champion
    grade makers. Both are in business, doing well, and seem to be enjoying what they do. My
    influence on career choice was primarily one of trying to promote reliability, honesty, and the
    importance of working, living within you income and ?rowing your own boat? where ever you
    are in life.

    As to the ?future of medicine?, I?m no expert. I have high respect for most of the individuals I?ve
    know in medicine. I have no reason to think the current medical student is any less respectable
    or capable. The motives are good. I?m proud to claim membership. The competition is part of it
    and will increase unabated. My concern is that ?society? probably is making and will continue to
    make demands that even these elite individuals can not satisfy. Note-- I say ?can not? rather
    than ?choose not?. If I am correct, frustration is inevitable!
    My guess is that most of the people who would like to leave medicine today still have moments
    of satisfaction but increasingly it may be like enjoying swimming but having only a fetid pond to
    swim in. From profession (what distinguishes ?profession? from ?trade??) medicine has turned
    into BIG business. BIG hospitals, BIG insurance companies, BIG HMO?s, BIG PPO?s, BIG
    government all need the little doctor. The BIG?s will employ you if you jump through the proper
    educational hoops mentioned earlier in these notes. Then you will become a commodity--doctor,
    nurse, secretary, gardeners, toilet paper, floor wax -- all are ?things? to be bought for doing
    business! And you with hat in hand are in the position of saying, ?By your leave, sir?. But you are
    the one with the requisite ?M.D.? , you are the one that has spent the first 30-35 years of your
    life with your nose to the proverbial grind stone, you are the one perhaps starting your work
    career with thousands of dollars debt, and you were the one that has been denied any real
    earning power during these 35 years and at some point you may think that something doesn?t
    add up.

    You will also be the one in the forefront when the inevitable lawsuits occur. After all, it wil be
    said, you are the one who did the ?malpractice?. And regardless of outcome the 1-5 years of
    dealing with this lawsuit will take a personal toll on you and your family. Even if acquitted, this
    record follows you. And do not be deluded that only ?bad?, ?uncaring? or ?incompetent?
    physicians are sued--?taint so! And once more, you may think maybe something doesn?t add up
    for you as a person.

    And when it is time to try seek employment you will asked to sign a contract. How much do you
    know about contracts? - especially when compared to the legal department of the HMO or
    insurance company. Why are medical ?professionals? considering unionization at a time union
    membership is at an all time low? Again, maybe this is not what medicine is about.

    The so called ?high cost of medical care? problem is one that continues to talked about, written
    about, legislated about, and worried about; all in an environment that ignores common sense
    and the most basic concepts of economics.
    NOTA BENE: In what other area of life is it assumed that one is not only entitled to benefits,
    goods, or services but these are to be delivered in unlimited amounts, in unlimited quality, by
    individuals at or near 100% peak performance, at the time of demand by the recipient, and at
    essentially no cost to the recipient?? If anybody can think of something like this let me know!
    Yet this is essentially the situation that exists in medicine now but it is almost heresy to say so.
    The patient with ?good insurance? has little or no motivation to make compromises for cost
    reduction because he will not receive the savings. The insurance company or employer will be
    the beneficent. Likewise recipient of the various governmental medical benefits has to
    motivation to compromise since he will receive no benefit. And guess what? You, the physician
    will be expected satisfy the demands of the patient for the best and the most and
    simultaneously do so at minimum cost to the employer or insurance company. Once more this is
    not what medicine should be about but unfortunately that?s the way it is. There may be a more
    agreeable way to live one?s life and I believe a lot of folks in medicine are belatedly realizing this
    and saying, ?Let me out?!


    [This message has been edited by OleDoc (edited April 12, 2001).]
     
  6. B-Flatblues

    B-Flatblues Member
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    Why go to medical school? Somebodies gotta do it.
    Russ
     
  7. Doggy

    Doggy Member
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    testing
     
  8. youngjock

    youngjock Membership Revoked
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    It doesn't matter what your job is, there are always going to be someone that is not satisfied or unhappy of his/her own profession.

    It is not just doctors. so isn't that obvious to you all? even the president might have his own doubts on why being a president.

    that seems to be so simple to me. If you don't like what you do, then you don't. There are always going to be new people pursuing medicine. And there are always going to new people who wish that they didn't study medicine.
     
  9. jayd177

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    edit: I realize I'm resurfacing a long dead thread, but too bad. Some might get something worth while out of my novel sized rant below.



    I graduated med school a bit more than a year ago and was thoroughly disappointed. I did one year of residency in internal medicine because I didn't know what I wanted to do and then realized I wanted nothing more than to get out. It wasn't because of the residency. It was because of my attendings lives and the work I would be facing for the next 35 years of my life. I originolly wanted to be an engineer but my parents "influenced" my decision and at the time I was stupid enough to go along with it. My mother is an OB/GYN who is constantly complaining about her job and hours. You can 2 of my posts at http://www.mommd.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/15/t/000189 and http://www.mommd.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/15/t/000186 for some of my reasoning.

    Some quick reasons include health insurance, malpractice, hours required to make a business work even well into practice, responsibility, lack of respect from the majority of the patient population, self inflicted illness from diet, lifestyle, drugs/alcohol, lack of cooperation from patients, etc. I became irritated at the seemingly endless demands (yes, demands) for that quick fix magic pill. Certain TV shows and lack of education on the subject, as well as other things, has unrealistically raised the expectations of much of the general population. I don't like dealing with the general public and especially their feelings when they're at their worst. I want more time for family and less stress in my life. I got tired of the lack of creativity involved with the rote nature of the work, the symptom pattern and buzz word recognition of the diagnosis and then guideline established treatment to be implimented....wash, rinse, repeat. I really got tired of telling people they had a horrible illness and trying to help them cope. (I may seem cold hearted, but I only let myself be like this on the inside. Colleges and attendings actually complimented me every day on my bed side manner and tact. I forced it or faked it for the patients sake. If any of them only knew how I really felt.) I've got a near endless list of reasons why I left.


    Thank God for the docs that truely have a passion for and enjoy their work because they're defiantely needed, and yes, they actually do exist, though in declining numbers it seems. They were usually the ones in which medicine was not only their job but their hobby and passion. I noticed this usually came at a steep steep sacrificial price involving med school debt, lack of family time, missing little league, divorces, and diminished social life (though not in every case). I admired them, but most of my attendings were worn, beaten, defeated, bitter and full of regret.

    Sure every career has it's downside, but I am fully convinced that some people are better matches for some careers than others, and some jobs are just flat out worse.

    If you are considering medicine be honest about what's truely involved. Some people are meant for this work, others are not and it has less to do with ability and more with preference. My best advice would be to shadow and volunteer as much as possible in the specialties you are most interested in. See it for what it is, not what you want it to be. Ask the docs the hard questions like some of the stuff I mentioned above. Ask them what bothers them the most and ask them to be straight with you. Many will tell you the rosey side as a high school or pre-med student because they don't want to smash your dreams. Consider this an investment in which you need to know the honest truth up front to make the best decision.

    In college my purpose was to find a job I truely enjoyed and I could make a living at. I was also naieve and thought that my level of education and the salary of a physician would somehow allow me to work less hours for less pay, but that pay would still be pretty hansome. Reality is that busting your butt in medical school is only preperation for a life of working much longer and harder hours than the average person.

    In response to dfleis's post up in the OP's copy 'n paste-his post is something to consider. He grew up under a doctor and says he still wants to be one even after the horror stories. He may be the type of person that gets there and truely enjoys it. I on the other hand also grew up with the horror stories under an MD parent and I give this one bit of caution dfleis.... you think you may know, but by the end of your fourth year and especially your first year of residency you'll look back and realize that despite the MD parenting and horror stories you had no clue. I realized it's impossible to experience until you're the one living it and your the one responsible for the decisisons. I found a tremendous new respect for my parents after realizing what they'd gone through to provide for me and my brothers.


    In response to oledoc's saying "Medical school -- regardless of your ability, there will be an almost unbelievable increase in the work load and in the abilities of your fellow classmates." Oh how true that was. In undergrad I was taking courses to catch up and did 3 semesters of 21-23 credit hours. This was at the end of my molecular biology major and so all the courses were upper level science and math courses, and I graduated with a 3.9. I did very well on my MCAT. Everyone my entire life kept saying "high school will be so much harder and you can't get away with the same stuff there" "college will be so much harder and...ditto ditto" So when I heard "medical school will be so much harder and...ditto ditto" I thought to my self, "yeah, whatever." As it turned out those 23 hour upper class semesters were candy land play time in comparison. Ditto for the competition. I was used to blowing the bell curve in undergrad. I was lucky to finish near the 50th percentile at the end of med school. I'm not a rote kind of guy, I prefer the logic of physics and math.

    I'll give one example that should give you a taste. In our first year we were taking a molecular, cellular, and tissue biology course. It was only one of several simultaneous courses at the time. A particular segment was some biochemistry and the specialty professor gave two days of lectures, 3 hours each day. So in total he lectured us for less than 6 hours taking breaks into account. Our test was in two weeks EVERYTHING that was crammed down our throats that month, his measly 6 hours only being a small part. Here's the punchline.... He told us for his 6 hours we would probably be okay if we were able to complete his practice exam on file at the library. I diligently checked it out and guess what it said at the top. "BioChem 625 Final Exam" Yep...he ran us through a graduate level biochem course in two days and expected us to get it. That was fun. Thankfully I was a molecular bio major in undergrad. I felt especially sorry for my friend who was a humanities major and had only taken the basic pre-reqs to get in. No suprise the best students in the class were those that had masters in Anatomy or had been working other related fields. Ironically enough my humanities major friend absoluetly fell in love with medicine and is very happy with it and doing very well.

    Another large quote from Oledoc that I could not agree with more: "In what other area of life is it assumed that one is not only entitled to benefits,
    goods, or services but these are to be delivered in unlimited amounts, in unlimited quality, by
    individuals at or near 100% peak performance, at the time of demand by the recipient, and at
    essentially no cost to the recipient?? If anybody can think of something like this let me know!
    Yet this is essentially the situation that exists in medicine now but it is almost heresy to say so.
    The patient with ?good insurance? has little or no motivation to make compromises for cost
    reduction because he will not receive the savings. The insurance company or employer will be
    the beneficent. Likewise recipient of the various governmental medical benefits has to
    motivation to compromise since he will receive no benefit. And guess what? You, the physician
    will be expected satisfy the demands of the patient for the best and the most and
    simultaneously do so at minimum cost to the employer or insurance company. Once more this is
    not what medicine should be about but unfortunately that?s the way it is. There may be a more
    agreeable way to live one?s life and I believe a lot of folks in medicine are belatedly realizing this
    and saying, ?Let me out?!"


    to Youngjock's post- While technically a correct response you have over simplified they problem and do not comprehend the challenges inherent in leaving the medical career. Yes... if you don't like it than don't. But... it's near impossible to understand what the medical field is like unless you are a participating member. I, and so many others, thought they knew via our parents, friends, volunteer experiences, etc., until we actually got there. By that time the debt is so absoluetly overwhelming ($175k here, plus time comitted) that it feels like you've dug such a large hole that you can't possibly escape unless you continue digging through to the other side. In addition, as I mentioned above somewhere, various jobs are worse than others for various people. Some jobs are just flat out worse. It's a shame that many people don't realize that this particular job is not what they imagined it to be but find themselves stuck in the quick sand. Thankfully I have a wife who threw me a rope, pulled me back to reality, helped me restructure my priorities in life, and is supporting my decision to pursue something else.

    I think I'll end in response to another quote from oledoc "There are not a lot options without going back to school and so many are obliged to
    stay." Very very true, and I felt the same way which is why I kept going as long as I did. I knew during the first year I made a mistake, but said to myself "everyone hates the first two years, wait until your rotations and something will pop out." By the end of third year I was thoroughly disappointed with my options and realized that even if something did pop out it would not change the reality of working the field the next 35 years. At that point "pop out" really meant which field would be like the "lesser evil" for me in order to survive until retirement. Eventually I decided that the prediciment I found myself in was very much akin to the "sunk cost" logical fallacy (look it up). After High school I wanted to be an engineer and absolutely loved physics. After getting out of medicine I took some career assessments that only confirmed my originol inclination. I've already got applications out to schools and I plan on doing a combined program to get my mba and masters in engineering at the same time. The goal being to work in the biomedical engineering industry and work my way up to upper level management or potentially start my own company. It works out pretty great because at this point it will take me just as long to finish that as it would to go back and complete a residency, so really no time is lost. It will cost more money, but what's funny is that I can defer my med school loans and the money I'll save each month is more than enough to pay for the tuition for engineering. LOL. Thankfully I found a field in which my title will still prove extremely valuable, even though I would not ever be putting it to use as it was intended. The gaurenteed salary of a physician is obviously higher than that of an engineer, but for me it's worth being happy in my job and having time for family. Plus, the potential salary (by no means gaurenteed) if I ever make upper management or start my own company could be much higher. I'm looking at this like a risky business investment that just might pay off big, and even if it doesn't I'm happier with my daily routine.

    Wow. Now I need to find one of them docs that still enjoys their job to do a little carpal tunnel syndrome work on my wrists. hehe


    Edit: To Oledoc (if you still post here): If you happen to know of any other ideas or resources for career options for people who left the medical profession I'd appreciate hearing about them. I'm pretty sure about engineering, but it's possible something else my strike me as a better idea and more exciting. Thanks
     
  10. jayd177

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    sorry for the double post.
     
  11. luv2sd

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    I wanted to be an engineer when I was in high school and I took A.P. Physics B.C. and... everything changed...
    (I wanted to be an engineer because I thought only smart people became engineers haha)

    I realized that physics was just not for me! So I decided to go into medicine :idea:
    I'm only an undergrad in college right now so I won't know whether this is for me or not until
    I actually get into medical school but I'll give it a try anyway :rolleyes:

    I have a feeling that my story is the opposite of jayd177's :oops:
     
  12. ExKitty Doctor

    ExKitty Doctor Junior Member
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    bump this thread. I love that people have come on here and brought some reality into a sometimes over idealistic pre-allo forum. Back to the ground is a good place to be. These posts are disillusioning, but at least they are based in reality - one that looks like our futures!
     
  13. LifetimeDoc

    LifetimeDoc EM Attending
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    Thanks for the important feedback jayd177. I hear yah, and feel exactly the same way from the opposite end of the tunnel. I worked for years as a computer programmer, and even though the money was good, I wasn't happy. I'm now pursuing admission to medical school, and I am the happiest I have been in a long time (except for the fear that I won't get in, lol).
     
  14. MDstudent101

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    Hm.. Couldn't agree more with you ...... ;) ^^^^
     
  15. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar
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    How can you say that posts like this shouldn't be here? Every doctor that I have shadowed has told me the same things that are mentioned above. Medicine ISN'T different from any other career field. People think that it's so altruistic, and that the joy of "saving lives" will fill them with accomplishment, but there are real downsides to medicine. No one should go into something without knowing the truth about it.

    It's fine if you can read this stuff and still want to be a doctor. That's probably good. But don't read it and say, "Oh, this is just some guy's opinion who hates his job... but that won't be me!" By choosing a career in medicine, you are choosing decreased time with your family, huge amounts of debt, long hours, and little respect from the general patient population who have grown accustomed to the miracle cures of television doctors. These are realities that need to be accepted if you are to become a doctor. This thread should not only NOT be bumped, but should be duplicated and read from the mountaintops of the Premed kingdom.

    Ask professors and classmates who they hate to have in a class, and it's premeds every time. Premeds have to grub for grades to get the GPA. And the majority have their heads so far up their own backsides that all they can do is prance and preen and talk about how they are premed and their ambitions are so much nobler than everyone elses. Well grow up. Medicine is a job, just like any other. The difference is that you start your career later, and with significantly higher debt. If medicine is truly your calling, then go for it, but don't try to say that the issues raised here do not exist.
     
  16. jayd177

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    2 more things in response to newer posts.
    Luv2sd and Lifetime Doc: You both will probably get some satisfaction fromt he story of my friend. He is a very upbeat person and loves meeting new people and developing new relationships (unlike me). He got his masters in Elec. Engineering and was making a little over $100k, but hated that for his own reasons. The biggest was that he worked with the same people day in and day out and felt very boxed in. He decided that it wasn't worth it for him and he tossed that and went to med school. He was in my class and we talked quite a bit and it was funny that we both realized our stories were similar but from opposing points of view. He's in a FP residency now and loves the work (hates the residency part, but loves the work...if that makes sense.)

    My point being that he and I are very different. When he volunteered and shadowed he absolutely loved it. I did not. I was dumb and did it only to put on the entrance application instead of actually evaluating it for what is was. That is why that is my #1 advice to pre-meds, or any career minded person. Shadow, shadow, shadow all the specialties you're interested in and see them for what they are. I shadowed just enough to look good and actually disliked my time there, but I told myself "I don't want to do FP anyway. I want to be a surgeon and that will be different." *smacks self in head* I should have seriously shadowed surgeons. I'm positive that with an honest perspective I would not have applied. I was too cought up in the prestige, importance, nobility, $$ potential, elite educational pursuit and challenge of it all. I was the type of person when told I couldn't do something would go to great lengths to prove otherwise, without considering the ramifications.

    I would also recommend to all that you get in touch with your universities career assistance center and do a few very easy things to learn about yourself. There are things like the meyer-briggs assessments and eDiscover that if answered honestly can really help you figure out what type of work your more naturally suited for. It should be free and some schools offer it as a course. These are meant to be done out of high school, or very early college, but I never learned of it until recently. The theory behind it is that if you work in a career that plays to your strengths, abilities, interests and values you'll be happier, more motivated and therefore more successful. You can always train yourself to get very good at something against your nature, but it's likely to be more frustrating or lead to burn out. My friend from above and I did it and I was not surprised to discover that his needs and driving factors in a job are wildly different than mine. For instance he thrives off making all the new social contacts and relationships and felt empty working more isolated in engineering. I on the other hand am the exact opposite. Enough on that, just check it out. It won't kill anybody.



    Sarg's kid- I'm pretty sure Exkitty Doctor is agreeing with you. By "bump" they mean reply to it to send it back to the top of the list in the forum so others can see it as well. no worries.:)
     
  17. concerned77

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    As I began reading this thread, the words became more and more familiar to me. You see, my boyfriend of three years has his MD in Internal Medicine. Like Jay, he was somewhat "encouraged" or pushed into the field by his mother and his then-wife. He was always an excellent student at the top of his class. Near the end of med-school, he divorced his wife. Even though he disliked medicine, he felt he was in too deep to crawl out at that point. He finished his internship and first year of residency, but then quit completely. He says he was absolutely miserable and bordering suicidal before he left. Now, he has a quarter-million in debt, no savings, and a $13/hr job, BUT he's relaxed and happy. He wants to put his degree to use in a creative way, but fears that creditors will come after him if he starts making more money. What to do? We might just have to leave the country....
     
  18. neom3x11

    neom3x11 Free your MinD
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    #17 neom3x11, Oct 26, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  19. WhiteHatDoc

    WhiteHatDoc Work hard and find joy in serving others
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    luv2sd, I'm afraid that none of us really have "stories" to truly back our commitment to medicine. Did you save a kid from drowning? Awesome. Did you deliver a baby in an elevator? Good for you. Did you spend your free time serving the underserved? Even better.

    I'm not trying to invalidate anyone's reasons for being interested in a career in medicine. Notice how I said "interest" and not commitment. How the heck can you be committed to something that you have not even begun?

    The point that Jay was making is not about having the valid reasons to go into medicine (trust me, prestige-loving gunners can sometimes make awesome and compassionate physicians). He was advising us to get to know more about the profession in EVERY way possible before Med School and see if it's the right fit.

    This is probably the most important and pragmatic advice that any pre-med can receive!

    Before writing me a letter of rec, an ER doc whom I got to know through shadowing told me that she was satisfied with my demeanor and attitude in the hospital. She told me I have a lot more to learn but that I convinced her that I'm willing to learn.

    And that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm working in a physician's partners group and meeting individuals who can tell me what being a doctor is like. More importantly I'm getting exposed to a lot of the business and paperwork-side of medicine (like our two MD's posted above, medicine is a HUGE business).

    I hope that I did not come off as arrogant but I'm just saying that there are a lot of opportunities beyond volunteering/shadowing to get a better glimpse of the world of medicine before going into it. Good luck all and thank you Jay for coming back to do us a favor.

    I hope to be doing the same thing 4-5 years down the line
     
  20. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar
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    Oh... Don't I feel like a horses a$$. (I'm of an older generation. Us class of 2000 high school kids are a little technologically challenged. You young kids with your intrawebs, and your chat stations...)

    My bad. bump away.
     
  21. eternalrage

    eternalrage Even Kal has bad days...
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    Necrothreadmancy rox!!!
     
  22. luv2sd

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    You got a good argument.

    I'm currently volunteering at an ER. I'm also going to shadow surgeons when I get a chance. So far, I'm liking the environment and I'm hoping that I'll be satisfied with my profession in the future. I might not be "committed" and "devoted" to medicine like some people, but I'm definitely passionate about it. I might not have a valid reason for going into medicine but I can tell someone a story which led me to medicine.

    So what I'm trying to say is that you completely misunderstood my post above. I never said that I wanted to go indo medicine because I had a valid reason or compelling story.
     
  23. ironman280

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    The value of the insights posted are excellent. I'm a firm believer that none of us is as smart as all of us. I'm a 44 y/o CRNA (Nurse Anesthetist) who retired from the Navy two years ago, and considering strongly going back to school to complete an MD. I am soberly aware of the realities. I have a thriving private practice and also work as a consultant anesthetist at a regional level 1 trauma center. Walking away from lucrative practice to go back to school (I have a Masters from Georgetown) prompts a few friends to beg the question "Are you freakin' crazy?" If being totally committed to what seems as much of a calling as a profession, then yes. If enjoying working around the best and the brightest, again then yes. If navigating a critically ill patient through the perioperative period or resuscitating a newborn (as I did just a few hours ago) brings some degree of satisfaction, then freakin' crazy I am. When I talked about this with a friend of mine (an exceptional anesthesiologist), and mentioned my current income (huge) the pragmatic counsel was to stay put. He mentioned one thing though that has stuck with me. Sir Edmund Hillary (Historians correct me if I'm wrong) - He didn't climb Everest for the money, or the fame. He did it because he had to. I suspect many of you have to. Even Dr Ole with his wise counsel (BTW surgeons work harder than anyone on the planet) in the retrospectoscope, can you imagine yourself doing anything else? Ladies and Gentlemen, I pose to you that this may be our calling. One we have some, but not much of a choice in defining. I'm grateful that when I arrive to the hospital one day, I will be taken care of by like-minded crazy freakin' professionals like all of you here. I postulate that you will take away, begrudgingly perhaps, an intrinsic satisfaction few others will have the privilege of realizing. Making a difference in someones life.......and an enthusiastic expectation that you will do it again, many times over for your entire career. No one will thank you. You may be sued, you will be a lone wolf, and the harsh realities are articulated throughout this string. But you will make a difference. For that I'll thank all of your for your commitment and motivation. And as for the work in getting there, its like the Navy Seals say "The only easy day was yesterday!"
     
  24. jayd177

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    I briefly considered anesthesiology, but it wasn't for me. The hours were better, but I didn't see myself enjoying the work for very long. One CRNA described the field to me as "hours and hours of pure boredom laced with minutes of shear terror." He was a funny guy, but there was some truth to that.
     

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