Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up and, at some point, they’ll say they want to become a doctor.
Many people still hold onto that goal as they get closer and closer to college, but never do much research on what it actually takes to become one.
There are a few things to being a doctor that many aspiring medical practitioners don’t consider.
Depending on the person, these may deter you from pursuing the career entirely.
So… is being a doctor worth it? Read below for several realities of being a doctor and see if you’re prepared for what’s ahead!
1. Lack of Work/Life Balance
As you can imagine, there’s a huge need for a doctor’s services to all of your future patients. Depending on what medical practice you go into, demand is even higher.
Emergencies happen and you’ll be the first one that your patients call to seek advice or medical attention.
Because of that, you’ll have to be prepared to get called in at the drop of a hat. It’s not a field that has much negotiation to it; you go in when the patients need you most.
Your shifts also don’t yield much organization to them. Any given week you could be scheduled to work nights or extra-long shifts, depending on the availability of doctors at your place of practice.
There’s a glaring need for doctors at any given time of the day, and you’ll be expected to prioritize your job over your life in many different cases.
2. Educational Overhaul
If you’re pursuing a career of becoming a doctor, then you’ve obviously been super successful with your academics up to this point.
However, expect that to change once you start attending medical school. Doctors have to know a bevy of health information, all of which is thrown on you in school to prepare for the road ahead.
Many doctors will tell you that you may go your entire career without using half of the information you’re given, but that’s not for you to judge… you have to be prepared for anything.
As such, set the expectation in your head that medical school will be a lot of long study nights and possibly lower test scores than you’re used to.
Don’t let that frustrate you. Overcome the adversity and you’ll come out the other side a fully knowledgeable doctor in your line of study!
3. Finding Your Field of Expertise
Even though students get into medical school and have prepared their whole lives to become a doctor, they don’t think about what kind of doctor they want to be.
In fact, many students don’t figure that out until the last few semesters of medical school and there’s nothing wrong with that. Take your time figuring out what you want to do, because once you choose it, there’s no turning back.
It’s a big decision, and medical school isn’t the only place that sees this level of uncertainty.
Almost a third of all college students change their major at least one time while they attend school. almost 10-percent change it more than once.
All that to say, it isn’t the medical school that brings up the uncertainty in its students. You’ll be faced with indecision regardless of what major you choose. Be prepared to keep an open mind and pursue what interests you most!
4. You May Not Become as Rich as You Think
It’s well-documented how much money doctors make in their practice. You’ll be making six figures almost immediately upon getting your first position.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have six figures to spend each year. The cost of medical school isn’t cheap, and you may be repaying that for a while.
There are also training courses you have to complete (and pay for), as well as running your own practice, should you choose that route. It all adds up quickly, so don’t expect to become rich right away. It takes years of savings to achieve that.
5. It Requires A Lot of Organizational Skills
Doctors have to be extremely diligent with how they go about their day.
A 24-hour shift means several patients each hour, several cumulative miles walked over the course of the day and running through so many pairs of disposable vinyl gloves.
To compensate, you need the skills of organizing your day at the beginning of your shift and carrying it out to fruition.
Any given appointment with a patient can run over your expected timeframe, so you’ll need to be able to adjust. Keep your eyes on the prize and be determined to check off all your goals each day.
6. Tough Moments Lay Ahead
Your desire to become a doctor probably stems from your desire to help people and provide medical attention.
The truth is… you can’t save everyone, and you’ll have to cope with that many times in your career.
Depending on what kind of doctor you become, you will witness people pass away, see their health decay rapidly, and run into times where modern medicine can’t save someone.
It never becomes easier to deal with, so you need to have a way of prioritizing your mental and emotional health.
Is Being a Doctor Worth It? As Long As You’re Prepared
Even experienced doctors reach a point in their careers where they ask themselves is being a doctor worth it?
Don’t let your second-guessing deter you from a field you’re interested in. Just do some research on certain fields and find the best fit for your skillset and goals.
Be sure to check out several of our articles with helpful tips and info just like this one!