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How did you decide you wanted to be a doctor? Not a dentist, pharmacist, nurse, or another job in health?

How did you decide you wanted to go to med school and become a doctor? And not become a nurse or dentist, or any other job that has to do with medicine and helping people? doctor medical

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Estelle’s Answer

I have been a gynecologic surgeon for 30 years. I knew that I wanted the responsibility of leading the team. Everyone on the healthcare team is very important, from the nurses to the pharmacists to the surgery techs. I wanted the responsibility and the reward but knew that the path to becoming a physician is very long and demanding.
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Brooke’s Answer

That is a great question! I know I struggled with the same question for a long time. I started out wanting to be a veterinarian. I was committed to this path for years and decided to job shadow my local vet for a day or two. This ended up being the best choice I could have made. I came home and was disappointing because I did not enjoy my day as much as I had hoped. There was very little human interaction and I knew from a day or two in the office that I would not be happy in a profession where I had such limited contact with people.
From there, I thought I wanted to become a dentist. I thought this would allow me to have the best of both worlds-- human interaction, but also not facing life-or-death decisions as a part of my career. Because I had learned so much from my previous job shadowing experience, I thought I would do the same this time around. I job shadowed for a week this time, which was the best experience. I really thought I would want to be a dentist because it involved working with people so much and you could physically see improvement at the end of a visit. My dentist told me, though, that being a dentist is a job in which no matter how much good you want to do for your patients, they will rarely show appreciation and will likely never look forward to coming to see you. That comment stuck with me for a long time, because I knew I wanted a profession where I was making an impact, but also one in which people valued me and was not fearful to come see me.
Fast forward to undergrad (still thinking I wanted to be a dentist), I was in a cell biology class and it was then that I realized I wanted to learn everything there is to know about the human body. I was fascinated by cell biology and just wanted to keep learning. I wanted to learn how the body works as a system and not limit myself to the head/face, which is what dentists spend most of their time studying.
It was at that point, that my career path had turned again and I realized I did want to be a physician--where I have a lot of human interaction, see results on my patients, and have my patients look forward to seeing me and getting/staying well.
There are definitely a lot of things to consider when figuring out your future path. I would HIGHLY recommend job shadowing and doing a lot of internal reflection. It's not all about the money, but rather, what will give you satisfaction and make you happy. Medical school is definitely a hard path, but also one that will end up being very rewarding. But it certainly all depends on your values and goals. Best of luck!
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Karl’s Answer

Great question and ultimately it boils down to the question - What do you want to do for a living? Do you enjoy helping people? I always wanted to do something in the sciences and was always fascinated by the science of the human body. I also will add that after becoming a doctor I have seen and work with many other healthcare areas that each had active and important roles in caring for patients (ex - nursing, respiratory therapist, radiology technicians, physical therapist, nutritionists etc ). Don’t let finances get in your way and also don’t look at the time it takes to get your destination detour you. The good thing about healthcare jobs, especially those like nursing is that people achieve certifications at lower levels and work part time to support their schooling while they advance through the curriculum . Hope this helps!
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Jane’s Answer

Hi Hannah!

This is a great question. Everyone has their own personal reasons for pursuing medicine in the hopes of changing lives for the long run. I personally chose medicine, and no other career, because it allows me the ability to directly form intimate relationships with patients and influence their health and wellbeing for even generations. Being able to be the one making those decisions is a huge responsibility and therefore the area for one of the biggest impact. I am also very passionate about serving underserved communities and plan to attend a medical school that emphasizes these communities in their mission statement.

You will have your own reasons and some ways to influence those reasons would be to shadow doctors, volunteer in a clinical setting, gain some clinical experience, and do your own personal research on the real life of a physician because it is not all glitz and glamour, but it is extremely rewarding. I also recommend watching some YouTube videos on the life of pre-med students, medical students and doctors. At some point in your journey, truly examine your reasonings and plan for whatever field you decide on. After my doing my personal research, gaining experiences, and understanding my own reasonings, I was even more motivated to continue on this journey to become a physician.

In short, I decided that I wanted to be a doctor based on my own personal experiences, clinical experiences, and the great rewards that come with being a physician. Your own personal reasons, experiences, and research will impact your decision.

Good Luck Hannah!