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Is becoming a doctor "worth it"?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Vickie’s Answer



Hi Anthony! This is a great question to start with when exploring if becoming a physician is your path.

I am a 4th year medical student, studying to be a physician and will graduate this year.

As someone who is nearing the end of her medical school training and will begin to apply to residency training (residency training is where you actually practice as a doctor with supervision), I can say that entering medicine has been worth it. It is a fulfilling career where I know each day I will be challenged and learn something new everyday. I talk to people from all walks of life and try to support them and make them feel better in the best way I can. Medical training is tough- regardless of what you decide to become - I will never sugar coat that. But at the end of the day, I know that I'll spend the rest of my life doing something I know is meaningful and that I genuinely care about.

Some things to consider when deciding if this path is worth it for you:
The education is long and difficult. In the US, you will have to complete a 4 year bachelor degree, attend medical school for 4 years, then complete a residency training program that can last anywhere from 3-7 years. Make sure that the education is something you are able and willing to commit the time and energy to.

There are many jobs in medicine. Nurses, physician assistants, medical assistants, etc. are all vital to healthcare. Decide for yourself if becoming a physician would align with your personality, life goals, and interests. For me, I enjoy the challenge and problem solving skills I have to use on a daily basis. I like the autonomy that a physician has like being able to make the tough decisions in a patient’s care.

So, is becoming doctor worth it? Becoming a doctor is a huge responsibility, time consuming, and expensive. The answer is highly personal so whether or not it is worth it can only be made by you. It's only worth it if its something you whole-heartedly choose for yourself and that you can't see yourself doing anything else. Ways to figure out if it is something you'd like to pursue would be to do some shadowing or volunteering.
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AHMED’s Answer

If you have a good plan for your future income, it will be very nice to be a doctor. If you don't have a good plan for your future income, you may suffer because the medical study will take most of your times. Medical field is vey exhausting, and if you don't like it, you will get bored.
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Jeff’s Answer

Tough question Anthony! Medicine can be very fiscally rewarding but I'd suggest you look into what you enjoy. It's exhausting and can take almost a decade of your time before you're a practicing MD. There are careers in software engineering that pay very well as well. In fact, there are many jobs that you can make great money at. I know a friend who made 100k/year as a truck driver as an example. There are many careers out there that you can make decent money at with a good educational background. The bigger question is if you like the idea of administering care to people. Right now in times of the pandemic healthcare workers are extremely stressed out and and are likely going to be exhibiting signs of severe PTSD.
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Frank Widjaja’s Answer

It depends on your personal aspirations.
What motivates you.
Does dealing or helping people get to their health inspiring ?
My brother-in-law is surgeon and he seems very please with his career despite a lot of hours to get to his level.
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Anthony! I believe that if you truly have a purpose for medicine and know why you want to become a doctor, it can worthwhile. I do agree that yes it is a long road and it is difficult as studying takes much time but if one truly has a passion and reason for entering this field then it is worthwhile. There will be sacrifices to make and time to give but in order to assess if it is right for you I would think about your reasons for why you are considering wanting to become a physician. For example, have you seen a physician help you or a loved one personally? Have you taken care of a loved one or seen an illness that has made you think about medicine? Does science and the human body fascinate you and you might want to go in deeper? I would make sure to get experience before committing for the medical school path such as volunteering, shadowing a physician, taking classes in the premed studies and seeing if you become more and more interested and can vision yourself in the white coat. I know right now with COVID it may be hard but there are virtual clinical shadowing opportunities like HEAL. Hopefully when the pandemic becomes better, if you can, then try to volunteer with patients in a hospital or similar facility. Everybody's reasons for becoming a physician is different and the "worth it" question is assessed differently because experiences and perspectives matter, so think about your experiences and reasons and see if this career choice is fit for you! If you have more questions about classes, how to apply to medical school, etc., then please do ask! As a last note check out AAMC and AACOMAS if you would like for further perspective on medicine and becoming a physician!

I hope this helps! I wish you the best!
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Joanna’s Answer

It depends on if you’re passionate about the field or not! It’s a long journey filled with lots of stress and high expenses, so only become a doctor if you’re passionate about it. There are lots of other careers in medicine so even if you’re not sure about becoming a MD or DO, you can still be involved in healthcare and making significant impacts in others’ lives.
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