Here at Med School Insiders, we often talk about the most challenging partof being a doctor so that we can help prepare you for the inevitable obstacles.
But it’s important to not lose sight ofthe end goal, the reason you go through the arduous process of becoming a doctor in thefirst place.
Here are the most rewarding parts of beinga doctor.
What’s going on guys, Dr.
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes that“three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.
It is not how much money we make that ultimatelymakes us happy between nine and five.
It's whether our work fulfills us.
” The noble profession of being a physicianhits all three, and then some.
Of course, one of the most frequently stated rewarding aspects of being a physician ismaking a deep impactful difference in someone else’s life.
You have the ability to significantly improvethe quality of life of your patients, and this can be a tremendously satisfying experience.
In the process of doing so, you feel thatyou’re making the world a better place.
That’s something that money can’t buy- purpose.
Purpose is not only important for motivation, as described in Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, but it also provides an extremely valuabletool in resilience.
If you feel that you’re working for a largerpurpose – something bigger than yourself – then you’re not only more likely to enjoy yourwork, but also bounce back from setbacks and endure the challenging times with greaterease.
So in short, helping others helps you enjoythe day to day more, helps you bounce back from the hard times, and well, helps others- talk about a good deal.
Closely tying with the first, the personal connection with patients is hard to matchin any other profession.
It’s truly an honor to be trusted with anotherhuman being’s health and wellbeing, requiring a deep level of trust.
Remember that as a physician, you are therefor patients in their most trying times.
This deep personal and emotional connectionwith another person is often challenging, but is also tremendously rewarding.
I recall some of my own conversations withpatients when their family members were terminally ill, or when a patient needed a procedurethat we all wish they didn’t need.
While it was not fun in the traditional sense, I felt honored to be able to help them in such a moment of vulnerability, and to helpthem navigate such a frightening ordeal.
Their demonstrations of gratitude were tremendouslypowerful and left an impact on me.
Third, the Intellectual Challenge.
Think back to the most epic moments of life – things you were proud of.
Chances are, you had a strong feeling of elationafter overcoming a significant challenge.
That’s one of the reasons so many of uslove being doctors.
The body of medical knowledge is rapidly expanding, with an exponential rise in published research articles each year.
It’s impossible to keep up, and that’sok.
Medicine forces you to continue to learn forthe rest of your career – hopefully at that point, you’re studying the subject matteryou actually enjoy.
The intellectual challenge applies to solvingdifficult medical cases as well.
I’ve never watched the TV show House (Iwas more of a Scrubs guy), but I hear this would be a good demonstration of this intellectualchallenge in managing obscure conditions.
The satisfaction from finally solving a challengingmedical case with a diagnosis and watching the treatment work effectively is hard toreplicate.
Even right now, my inner nerd is getting excitedthinking about the challenging inpatient cases we worked on as a team during my internalmedicine rotations.
Tying in and building off of the intellectual challenge is autonomy.
Doctors are the highest in command in themedical treatment team.
They are analyzing the objective data, thepatient’s concerns and presentation, and making treatment decisions.
Having this challenge and seeing your effortsresult in improvement to the patient’s condition is rewarding.
Unfortunately, modern healthcare rules andregulations in the United States are encroaching into physician’s autonomy.
The legal liability, and increasing chartingand administrative work slowly erode the autonomy that is so valuable.
This is one element of the multifactorialrise in burn out amongst physicians.
However, that discussion is for another video.
Lastly, medicine is just a straight awesomely fascinating profession.
The way the human body works, the complexitiesand nuances – there’s just so much cool science to uncover.
Every medical student gravitates to variousaspects that interest them.
For me, plastic surgery felt like sciencefiction.
I go over the first case I ever saw, wherewe created a makeshift bicep out of the latissimus dorsi back muscle on a patient.
Link in the description.
Plastics also does hand transplants, facetransplants, microsurgery for cancer or trauma reconstruction, and so much more.
Regardless of your chosen specialty, there’s somethingamazing about the science there – from psychiatry to plastic surgery and everything between.
Note that I didn’t mention the paycheck.
While being a doctor is one of the highestpaid professions, it’s not nearly as lucrative as most people think.
That boils down to two factors: the opportunitycost of delaying your paycheck for an extra 7 to 11 years, and the cost of medical training.
In short, don’t go in it for the money.
While being a doctor is one of the most challengingand arduous careers to enter, it’s truly a privilege and a tremendously rewarding profession.
If there are other rewarding aspects of beinga doctor that I didn’t cover here, let me know down in the comments below.
What part are you looking forward to the most? For those of you who are interviewing formedical school right now, take a look at our all-new interview courses.
They are the most comprehensive and high yield guide you’ll find anywhere.
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And I will see you guys in that next one.