Has anyone tried to persuade you to NOT be a physician? and why?

Has anyone, whether or not they are in the medical field, tried to persuade you to not go to medical school or not be a physician, and if you know their reasoning, why not?

I ask this because I regularly have many such experiences related to this issue. For me, it may be (partly) due to being an appearance thing, as I have much gray hair now. Perhaps I should dye my hair. Most recently, two American ophthalmologists with whom I was assisting in cataract surgery in Mexico both (independently) tried to persuade me to consider NP because they both believed going the MD route would take too long.

It’s happened a few times, mostly “Why not go for PA? It won’t take as long.” I just think it’s funny because who starts this process without knowing how long it will take and reconciling that?

The people who have said this to me are uniformly people who went straight from college to med school. Maybe they aren’t satisfied and couldn’t get off the train in time. Maybe life seems like a never-ending stretch of school to them (because it was.) But any non-trad obviously has put a lot of thought into this career change because, yeah, it takes forever.

ANYONE who can’t be supportive should be avoided and IGNORED.

The ONLY people who need to concern themselves with how long something is going to take are the terminally ill.

Good point path.

For me, this has happened with respect to two different things:

  1. Other nurses suggesting that NP is the better route. sigh. I say sigh b/c it’s been said on multiple occasions.

  2. If others figure out my age. Ageism becomes a reality once people can either do the math or somehow find out your age. It’s funny, while they don’t know your age it isn’t an issue, but once they find out, well. . .LOL

    Whatever. I’m not dead yet. LOL

Interesting. A number of physicians have encouraged throughout my nursing career. I now wish I had listened earlier on.

  • jl lin Said:
If others figure out my age. Ageism becomes a reality once people can either do the math or somehow find out your age. It's funny, while they don't know your age it isn't an issue, but once they find out, well. . .LOL

This is how the negative advice has worked out for me over the past 3 decades:

20's - Them: YOU shouldn't purse MD/PhD ie that's not what Black folks "do".

30's - Them: YOU shouldn't pursue the MD/PhD ie you're a "baby mama" with a kid.

40's - Them: YOU shouldn't pursue the MD/PhD ie you're a too old "baby mama" and it's not what Black folks do.

I said all that to say that there are FAR too many people that need to watch Cosby Show reruns to see how MANY other Black folks live ie, goals, college, goals, marriage, goals, kid(s), GOALS!!!!

Physicians have a very high dissatisfaction rate about their profession (50% to 60% hate being a physician). It is very common for physicians to highly discourage family members and friends from becoming physicians.

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/abinazir/2005/05/23/w …


http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-20/about -…

This is in contrast with the very high professional satisfaction rate physician assistants (PAs) enjoy (i.e. PAs get to treat the more manageable patients without the physician headaches):

http://www.aapa.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsse t.aspx?id…

Another article how pervasive physician professional dissatisfaction is:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/14/h …

  • ihopetobeado2 Said:
Physicians have a very high dissatisfaction rate about their profession (50% to 60% hate being a physician). It is very common for physicians to highly discourage family members and friends from becoming physicians.

Once again, I suspect this number to be substantially lower among people that entered medicine after ~age 35.

In fact, I can think of only one "oldpremed" that has ever expressed dissatisfaction over the years on this site. And yes, I'm aware this number could very well be higher.

As for PA, I've been kicking myself for a while now that I didn't pursue it in the 80's though it wouldn't have changed my current MD/PhD plans at all.

So true. I’m one of those nurses who decided to do the NP thing because it ‘doesn’t take as long and its the better path for an RN to go…’ I kept hearing that BS so often and for so long that I began to believe it. A lot of the discouragement and negativity came from jealous co-workers and physicians who clearly didn’t like their jobs.

I figured after the first 2 semesters of NP school that maybe I had made a mistake, but I didn’t want to just quit without really giving it a chance. But, the more I progressed in NP school the more I realized that it would never do (for me). So much of the first year of NP school was exactly the same stuff as the upper level coursework from the BSN degree program…nursing processes, nursing theories, the role of the advance practice nurse, nursing informatics, nursing research… And so little of it was actually about science and medicine. The pharmacology and pathophysiology coursework and clinicals that we get in NP school is nothing compared to what the MDs/DOs get in med school, so comparison of the two is moot. Now the universities are moving to the DNP standard to become an NP, which is more years of school and a LOT more $$$. For that you get to take MORE classes in advanced nursing theories. They can keep that foolishness.

I should have quit NP school after the first year. I have no idea why I stayed with it beyond that. But I did start taking the pre-med science classes because I just knew that med school is where I’ll end up one day.

I recently met an NP student who tried to persuade me to go the NP path. We were both in a coffee shop and she saw me studying my MCAT books. Apparently, she used to be a medical student, but dropped out due to health issues. Once those were resolved, she decided against medicine and decided to go to nursing school.

  • datsa Said:
Apparently, she used to be a medical student, but dropped out due to health issues. Once those were resolved, she decided against medicine and decided to go to nursing school.

Sounds like she's trying to justify giving up.

DEFINITELY and IGNORE scenario!!!

I have ready many of the posts and can tell you after many years of counseling students, this is a very hard decision to make. I have had a very fulfilling career, but my epectations were different than many of my colleagues. I just loved knowing how the body works, and how to fix it when it doesn’t. I relish the patient-physician interactions. If it is in your heart to become a physician, you should let nothing stand in your way. Ignore any discouragement, it is probably coming from someone who never pursued their goals in life! Dr. Ralph Messo

www.MedicalSchoolApplication1 01.com

Age should never play a role in the admission process. However, having stated that, usually off-shore schools and Osteopathic Medical Schools have a more favorable acceptace pattern for “more mature” students. Don’t let age stand in your way! If you really want it go get it!

Dr. Ralph Messo

www.MedicalSchoolApplication1 01.com

I really see this as a journey, not a destination. Yes, the goal is med school and hopefully MD. But the greater gosl? Life long learning. Studying things I have craved to study for years and never did. NO longer feeling burnt out and crappy in my current career. Feeling ALIVE, because I am exercising my brain and taking in new information. Asking questions, stimulating my own curiousity. LEARNING. I am well aware, that at my age, my health could take a “turn” at any point. So for me, it is Carpe Diem!! I will be grateful beyond belief if I am granted the end goal for doing the hard work. If not? I will have LEARNED a great many things that I had no knowledge of before. The only way I have arrived at any goal in my life was to look at it as if I will be OK and everything would be JUST FINE if I got hit by lightning tomorrow. The days add up and the next thing you know, you are saying “How did I get here?” as you walk across the stage. I cannot fail. If life conspires against me, and I do not make to the desired conclusion, OH WELL. I’m here for the ride, and the ride is AWESOME!!!

Some of the most supportive people it seems are tnose who are non-physicians. Perhaps it is because non-physicians don’t realize how grueling it is to get through medical school and residency. But it could also be that they are less judgmental. While studying in the cafeteria of the medical center where I do some work, a man came up to me to ask directions. Seeing my MCAT books, he said, “You’re on the right path.” It turned out he was a patient coming in for a follow up, and wanted to know the way back to the main hospital.

Yep…have it all the time. Just recently had a former ER physician now doing job physicals try to dissuade me. He said the time it would take me to complete I would be ~50-52 by the time I was an attending and “at that age what’s the point?!” So…I AXED him…“How old are you?” He fell for the bait and told me 55…so I asked him “What’s the point of doing physicals at your age? Seems like a waste of ER residency to do what a PA can do…” He smiled and responded with “Touche” and then commenced to give me advice for when I apply to med school.

There are many approaches and I find that taking control of the conversation by asking questions and to expose any logical fallacies works well. Of course you have to recognize any logical fallacies in their argument. Some times, when I don’t want to be bothered, I just give them a toothless smile and nod my head. They get the message and drop their inane advice.

Sometimes the physicians are trying to warn you about the reality of medicine because they presume, and rightly so in many instances, that premeds have romanticized medicine. I read a lot of that even here with OPM’s who have elevated medicine to almost a status of martyrdom to which we should all be hospital serfs…

So it’s not always a bad thing when people try to dissuade you. Sometimes I take a step back and ask why they said what they said. I’ve found many times it says more about them and where they’re at in their life than any real advice they are giving me at the time. OR…you might get the shock of your life and hear “because I don’t think you’re cut out mentally nor academically”…that was a doozy right there.

That was a nice post, Croooz. I especially like your comeback to the ER physician doing the physicals. I also agree that these physicians do have a point, and considering their points seriously is important in my opinion. But these physicians also lack a premed’s history and perspective; they haven’t lived through what a particular premed has done; they only know about they are told by the premed or what they have seen or experienced working or volunteering with that applicant. They don’t know the premed’s seriousness (or lack thereof).

I haven’t received discouragement over pursuing medicine but I have regarding my specialty choice. People ask me if I think I’ll be able to handle the schedule and how I’m setting myself up to burnout because I’ll be “older” then other residents. I can say from experience now with having to follow my residents call schedule that it’s doable. NO ONE would say that they ‘enjoy’ 30+ hour work days. But it’s an adjustment, and it improves with advancement through the training. You just have to believe that you know yourself best(you do) and that you can make the right decisions for yourself (you will). Don’t let others get you down, their comments are not about you, they are about THEM.

So true

I was an NP for 10 years. Thought it would satisfy me but something was always missing. My MD. Well finally got it and am truely fulfilled. Never give up on your dream!!