The NHS is crumbling and suffering from underfunding, litigation is soaring as patients are encouraged to expect more and more doctors are being expected to plug the gaps, work harder and longer hours. Respect for professionals has decreased. The Doctors and Dentist’s pay review body has been told that there will be no wage increase for years because of Brexit. Jeremy Hunt has succeeded in alienating junior doctors who now cannot even carry out the threat to move to Canada [the Canadian immigration website has crashed because of all the people wanting to emigrate there after the Trump victory in the USA.] So why become a doctor?
Why do you want to be a doctor? This is the common question at medical school interviews and the hardest to answer properly.
1. Working with people
If you are a people person, medicine is the right choice for you. You will meet a wide range of people from environments and cultures you would not normally encounter. Keep your mind and eyes open and it will enrich your life.
Doctors without doubt play an important part in the life of people and are often present at times they will always remember. This is gratifying but carries a special responsibility.
In the course of your studies, you will be able to improve this skill even if you do not have a particularly developed affinity towards working with people. During your studies, but also later in hospitals, you will meet a lot of people besides patients – patients’ families, medical staff, technicians, administrators etc.
2. Plenty of opportunities upon graduating
This reason is rarely stressed properly, but it truly is so. A medical degree does not lead to a job but lots of different types from not just surgery, paediatrics – those traditionally thought of as carried out by doctors but public health, management, research and teaching. You have a widely respected degree and it keeps you options open .
The camaraderie between doctors, nurses and other staff has been described as being similar to that between soldiers. Lots of bonds will be created, you will have successes together and will watch patients die together. During your studies, but also later in hospitals, you will meet a lot of people besides patients – patients’ families, medical staff, technicians, administrators etc.
3. The ability to help people
The most doctors would say that there is no greater joy than the one you feel when you manage to help a very sick patient or when a group of scientists discovers a new medicine for a certain disease.
I personally love the strong medical ethical framework of being a doctor – particularly in the NHS. in which all patients are entitled to free and equal access to heath care.’ The ill make up one of the most disadvantaged groups in society, it is a moral duty to help them and I have the good fortune to be paid to do this.
4. Doctors are needed
There will always a need – we wont be replaced by google, in fact at the moment google seems to create more consultations by causing worry than reduce them. Doctors are in demand world wide. There is much uniformity of medical science. Upon graduating from a medical college in Europe you can find a job and work in any hospital in South America or anywhere else in the world (unlike some humanistic subjects). Furthermore, the major part of medical literature is in English, the most of the medical terms are in Latin. You will get acquainted with English and Latin in the course of your studies so that words like vertebra or clavicle will be nothing new neither to you nor to a doctor on the other side of the world. A lot of countries that have forbidden or restricted employment of foreign citizens do not apply this decision to doctors.
In most cases medicine students get a job sometimes the very day they graduate.
5. Safe job.
Nearly all medical students get a job as son as they graduate. Yes it takes a long time but many such as those who do accountancy of law have to do post-graduate study and those with degrees in humanities my have to work for free as an intern on qualifying. It is a job that requires a lot of sacrifices and personal investment and you have to be prepared to travel. Nevertheless a job will be there.
6. Life Long Learning
The end of medical studies does not mean the end of learning. Quite the opposite – your degree provides you with basics for further knowledge and skill development. This is both a challenge but can help to retain interest. Some of what I learnt a medical school is now known to be wrong, a lot has become obsolete or less important.
Ok the age of deference is over. Doctors are no longer thought of as gods with the power to give life as perhaps they were thought of once and a good thing too. However medicine still tops the charts as the most respected job you can do; far far above that of a politician – take that Jeremy Hunt!
I really recommend listening to
radio4 ‘Why become a doctor by Kevin Fong, particularly episode 3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07q3k8g