I was wondering if this has this happened to other people…
Now that my prerequisites are done, and application is imminent, I’ve been telling a few more people what my plans are. Up until this point I’ve just been keeping quiet and doing my homework (lol). Anyway, I’ve noticed more and more people in the department: bio majors, chem majors etc. go into great detail telling me why they DON’T want to go to medical school. It’s almost like they are trying to talk me out of it.
They’ll say things like, “You’ll never pay off that debt at your age…” “You can go to PA school and be working in two years…” “You really want to be around all those sick people? That’s gross”
I’ve heard this from students AND instructors in the department. (It makes me worry about some of the recommendations they are going to write, i.e. She’s an excellent student, but really crazy for going to med school at her age)
What’s up with that?!?!
I was wondering if this has this happened to other people…
I would not worry what other students’ opinion of your decision are. Often times, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that they had aspirations of attending medical school only to realize they did not have the academic chops to make it. That may go for some of your professors as well. I had a chem professor in undergrad that applied to medical school four times, obviously rejected every time. His father was a physician as well as his three older brothers. Brilliant guy, absolutely no personality. He had a HUGE chip on his shoulder regarding med school and often critisized it openly durning lectures. In the end, it is your life and if this is what is going to make you happy and fufilled that is all that matters. As far as the debt, student loans are forgiven when you die anyway!!!
- nebula Said:
Now that my prerequisites are done, and application is imminent, I've been telling a few more people what my plans are. Up until this point I've just been keeping quiet and doing my homework (lol). Anyway, I've noticed more and more people in the department: bio majors, chem majors etc. go into great detail telling me why they DON'T want to go to medical school. It's almost like they are trying to talk me out of it.
They'll say things like, "You'll never pay off that debt at your age..." "You can go to PA school and be working in two years..." "You really want to be around all those sick people? That's gross"
I've heard this from students AND instructors in the department. (It makes me worry about some of the recommendations they are going to write, i.e. She's an excellent student, but really crazy for going to med school at her age)
What's up with that?!?!
I think that are several factors in play, none of which are caused by you personally.
For many years, medical school was considered a top goal to reach for undergraduate science majors. Indeed, it was for the best and brightest and, while tough, had large payoffs in both prestige and income. In the past two decades or so, it has lost much of that.
There are several reasons for that. The increasing cost of medical school and the debt incurred by students as well as the long years and intense work on daily basis to become a doctor is much of it. The growth of managed care and insurance companies controlling reimbursements, thus doctors income turns away many people as does the cost of malpractice insurance and fear of lawsuits.
While the above drives people away, the growth of technology and business in the late 1980's and early 1990's attracted many of the best and brightest. So many students who may have been attracted to medicine instead now head in computers, MBAs, and alike. With a 5 year lead time for a student cohort to adjust to economic shift (ie the time it takes a freshman to graduate), the students entering about 1991-1992 or so started going into the non-premed fields. In 1996-1997, medical school applications peaked, then dropped off until 2003-2004 (about 5 years after the dot com bust). Now students are moving back into medicine.
Back to your question. I think many people only hear how tough medical school is, how many years it takes to do the training, how many hours you have to put into a day, the amount of debt you incur, the cost of malpractice insurance, the fear lawsuits, the lifestyle of a doctor AND most importantly, the perception the big payoff after all the training, of the prestige, the golf on wednesdays, the money that now can be made much faster and easier fields, is no longer there.
It doesn't seem that unexpected that professors would feel this way when many practicing physicians express these sentiments. There are many threads on OPM of how members tell their doctors they are thinking of medical school and get a torrid of complaints of how bad being a doctor is today and how anyone is crazy to even consider going into medicine.
Indeed, this was one question I posed to the surgeon general of the united states when I attended the AACOM conference. It's hard to tell students to consider primary care when most primary care providers will tell them the you're nuts to do so.
One thing I hope most people can get from OPM is a realistic understanding of how hard this path is. Is not meant to dissuade but ensure that everyone sees with open eyes what lies ahead.
Fortunately I have not ran into the actual physicians who discouraged me. We have a close friend who is a physician specializing in breast cancer, her father is a surgeon, we have another friend who is an anesthesiologist/pain management guy, then my own PCP who I shared my goals with and they were all extremely supportive. They talked with me realistically what the demands were from UG, through med school, residency and beyond. The friend who is a doctor and whose father is a surgeon told me what it was like to be the daughter of a surgeon, which helps give me insight on what life may be like for my own children should I choose a speciality such as surgery.
I have had negative experiences with professors. And other students. Sometimes I just keep quiet about it. I don’t need to hear the negative thoughts that they have.
Just stay positive.
Would you be willing to expand more on the conversation with your friend who was the daughter of a surgeon? What were her insights and thoughts on that time in her life?
Glad you are reaching toward your goals!
Of course I’ll share!
My friend (who is also a doctor) actually told me that she was on the fence between going into a surgical residency because she loved it but she remembered how often her father was not home as a child. She knew that she and her husband were going to have children and she wanted to practice in an area where she would have more control over her schedule.
She told me that her mom had to get used to doing a lot of things by herself, but that she was exceptionally proud of her husband.
I think about that a lot, whether I’d be willing to sacrifice my family time for a more time consuming specialty. Obviously I haven’t gotten to that point yet so I’m just focusing on one thing at a time right now and that’s making great grades in my UG program.
If there is anything specific, let me know and I’ll get feedback from her.
Are you considering surgery?
My highest interest is in anesthesiology, but my plan is to go into med school with an open mind and absorb as much about each professional path as I can…and see which path interests me the most.
I would like to spend time both in a regional hospital and part time in the military reserves or other government agency. Building ties in a small town while reestablishing ties to government service (yet in a new role) would be very fullfilling for me (and help me to fill a void that did not get filled during my first stint in government service).
Hope you are well, and I’ll see you and the rest of OPMs in Chicago!