I’ve heard over and over again from some doctors how they’d never go through the process again and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. So I’ll answer the question. Would I be a doctor again? To quote Sarah Palin, “You Betcha!”
In my experience, becoming a doctor has been very rewarding. I can’t complain. So where do I start explaining why? Well, there are the belly-button pearls for one. “Belly-button pearls?” you ask. Yes. Belly-button pearls. You know, those wooly-booger types who let the lint in their belly fester and roll around with the hair just like a piece of sand in a clam. After many moons, that simple piece of fuzz become a nice round, smooth, rock-solid belly-button pearl of great price.
Well, really there are some other nice benefits. For one, especially in this economy, there is no shortage of requests for doctors in just about any part of the country. Hopefully I won’t be searching anytime soon, but if I had to, I could almost pick where I want to live. Of course I’m leaving near about as close as you can to Heaven without dying, so I’m thankful for that. And how can a doctor complain when just the average salary of a primary care doctor is around $150,000? That’s good enough for roughly being in the top 5% in the U.S. And that’s not even including the fringe benefits of insurance and retirement.
Not only is the pay pretty good for an education that’s not much longer, if any than other post-grad professions, the time involved can also be quite satisfying. Right now, I pretty much work 4 1/2 8-hour days a week with a day a week and one weekend a month of light call that often results in no phone calls or hospital admissions. I’ve been in jobs as a doctor where I had no call whatsoever and worked more like 8:30 to 4:30 with a half-day off each week. Throw in 4 weeks of vacation and another week of education and it rivals some of the best vacation packages around.
But there’s more than just money and time. There’s the satisfaction of being able to help people. There have been many times when I’ve been able to really come in handy for someone for whatever reason – maybe calling something in for a friend, maybe giving some realistic medical explanations for people confused by what they’ve heard. Or maybe it’s just helping someone have hope again when everything seems to have been taken from them.
There’s also the challenges. Imagine diagnosing someone with Malaria or cancer or other systemic diseases. Some aren’t easy and straightforward which requires a lot of study, a lot of interdisciplinary discussion and just downright praying for help in figuring things out.
Being a doctor afforded me the opportunity to go overseas and help some less fortunate people with medical needs. Life lessons are important for personal growth. The opportunities I had to learn from people in foreign countries has been something I can’t really put a price tag on. How can you go to the store and buy something that will truly open your eyes? Where can you purchase a change of heart or a realistic understanding of the plight of third world societies?
I could go on. Sure, being in the Medical field has its downside. Insurance companies can be a nightmare and a big hassle. The government tends to like to put its sticky hands in everything and medicine is no different. Some people can’t afford some of the studies it takes to diagnose their problem. Others have serious side effects to medicines or damaging results do to physician error. Some patients are just quite demanding and expect too much (but then again, they do pay their bills for the most part).
But to answer the question again, yes, I would do it all over again. I can’t imagine there being another job I’d like to do except being a professional football or baseball player or a professional music star. But I can’t do those, so the best thing is to be what God has allowed me to be.