What are the Benefits of Being a Doctor?
If you wish to work in a career that provides you with plenty of job security, working as a physician is definitely one route to achieving that goal. This is one of the benefits of being a doctor.
Even throughout the most troubling economic times, there’s never a shortage of the need for medical doctors.
Medical doctors serve patients and communities in different ways. Some prefer to work as family practitioners. This way they represent the initial line of defense for those that are in need of care for general medical concerns.
Others have a preference for working in an emergency room, they enter into medical research, or they wish to pursue more specialist medical practices.
While being a medical doctor is far from easy, the work can prove to be extremely rewarding. So, if you are pondering the concept of entering medical school, the following pros and cons are a good place to begin in terms of making up your mind.
The Benefits of Being a Doctor – Doctor Advantages
Working as a medical doctor brings with it many advantages. Here, we assess those advantages now.
1. Job Satisfaction
When you attend medical school it’s all about learning. But learning doesn’t just stop upon graduation. Even physicians that have been in the field for very many years still come across new patients, new techniques that have been developed, new technologies, and new situations.
2. Benefits of Being a Doctor – Job Security
As technology advances certain jobs, certain careers, become completely obsolete. For a medical doctor, this scenario is never going to occur.
In fact, there is a real shortage of physicians in the U.S., the U.K., and elsewhere, meaning that credentialed medical doctors that retain a license will most certainly continue to have work.
In the U.S., some 25 percent of medical doctors are brought in from overseas. Why? there are not enough doctors being trained in the U.S.
If you wish to work in the U.S. and you are a trained medical doctor in a foreign country, you may be interested in the following article:
The following article contains information about how to become a doctor in the United Kingdom:
3. Excellent Salary
Prior to being accepted into practice, medical doctors must undergo a whole lot of education and training. In return, you can expect very generous compensation in terms of your salary. In fact, it’s not unusual to find that some physician roles are among the highest-paying occupations.
In the U.S., many positions experience earnings that are around three times higher than the country’s median wage. The Bureau of Labor provides us with statistics to say that the average salary for those that pursue careers as family practitioners or generalists is around $190,000 per year.
On the other hand, should you prefer to opt for an area of specialty, take neurology for example, then incomes are generally even higher. For those that practice in this field of medicine, it is not unusual to earn upwards of $700 per hour. There’s no question that being a medical doctor is among the more lucrative careers that are available.
4. Benefits of Being a Doctor – Positive Impact on Patients’ Lives
For many medical doctors, it’s the ability to have a positive impact on their patients’ lives that is the number one benefit. The knowledge that when you wake up every day you could make a huge difference to someone’s life is, of course, a very appealing situation to be in and incredibly rewarding in many respects.
There’s no doubt that it can be a humbling experience to care for injured and sick individuals when they are going through some of their most testing days. If you are given the opportunity to put a smile on the face of someone in this situation, there’s no doubt you’re going to feel good about it.
5. Reside Where You Wish
Most professions do not offer the ability to reside almost where you wish. If they do, not many of those positions are well paid. As a medical doctor, you can choose to reside almost anywhere you would like and yet still find work that you enjoy with a commensurate salary that’s attractive.
If, on the other hand, your line of practice is more niche, more sub-specialty, you’ll likely not have the same opportunities available to you.
6. Benefits of Being a Doctor – Teamwork
Not for everyone, but if you tend to enjoy working as part of a team, working as a medical doctor could be right up your street. As a family doctor, you’ll have the opportunity to work with social workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, and various other specialists on a frequent basis.
Nevertheless, some positions don’t call for much in the way of teamwork so even if you are more of an introvert, you can still find work that you love.
7. Doctor Advantages – Retire Early
You may have successfully passed all your medical school exams and now, having entered the profession, you’re not finding your work at all how you thought it would be.
Well, it does happen. And if it does happen for you, it’s most certainly not the end of the world. Due to the higher income levels of this profession, you’ll have every opportunity to take early retirement. In fact, if you were to really push the metal to the floor, you could conceivably retire after only 10-15 years in the profession.
What are the Downsides of Being a Medical Doctor?
All right, so it’s not all good, not all a bed of roses. Every career has its negative aspects and being a medical doctor is no different. Let’s find out what some of those negative aspects are now.
1. Debt Upon Graduation From Medical School
It takes a substantial financial investment to attend and progress through medical school. While this doesn’t entirely make attending medical school a barrier, it’s something that you should be fully aware of if you are considering it.
You should think about the debt issue and be very realistic about it. You must be aware of how you will pay the debt off.
According to educationdata.org, average U.S. medical school debt is $215,900, and that excludes premedical undergraduate and other educational debt. The average medical school graduate owes $241,600 in total student loan debt. 76-89% of medical school graduates have educational debt.
It’s worth considering government programs and various alternative options of reimbursement. Or, you might wish to apply for a scholarship as a way of easing the heavy weight of the financial burden.
2. In the U.S. Becoming a Medical Doctor Takes Time – Lots of It!
For the most part, to become a physician in the United States, you must first complete an undergraduate degree program of four years duration. Upon passing the exams, you then qualify for medical school. After a further four years at medical school, you can begin to practice medicine. It doesn’t stop there, though.
After the completion of all institutional learning – 8 years – you’ll have to undergo a further 3-7 years of residency training. This must be completed before you can receive a medical license.
All in all, you’re looking at as long as 15 years before you can even consider opening your own medical practice.
3. Sacrifices Must be Made
Part of the territory of working as a medical doctor is long working hours. Physicians might have to work weekends, nights, and holidays. There’s no argument that you’re going to have to miss out on many social events. You will also have to be available at a moment’s notice if you are on call.
During residency years some doctors might be required to work upwards of 100 hours each week. While the compensation for this is decent, the long workdays (and nights) can quickly lead to a rise in stress.
If you have young kids, it can be difficult for them to understand that you have to work such long hours. Oftentimes, it may be a case of your child asking you when you’re coming home. Your reply? “I do not know.”
4. Job-Related Stress
You could be in a position to save lives on a regular basis. That’s highly rewarding, for sure! Nevertheless, with that comes the potential for a lot of stress. There’s always the pressure that you’re actually making the right decision and outcomes can prove to be highly unpredictable.
There are proven ways that physicians handle workplace stress.
Leading on from the previous point and also a cause for a lot of stress in the field of medicine, the potential for having to deal with a lawsuit.
A 2017 survey by the national patient safety foundation and healthcare improvement found that no less than 21% of adults in the United States had suffered from some kind of medical error. There are approximately 85,000 medical lawsuits filed on an annual basis. As a medical doctor, no doubt this is cause for concern, regardless that a mere 25% of medical lawsuits are actually successful.
For the most part, at least in the U.S., medical doctors prefer to carry malpractice insurance. According to physiciansthrive.com, on average the cost of medical malpractice insurance is about $7,500 for one year. For surgeons, that rises to between $30k and $50k in annual premiums.
6. Frustrating Rules and Regulations
In the world of healthcare, the stakes can be very high. When mistakes are made, the consequences can prove to be grave. In which case, there are numerous rules and regulations that physicians must adhere to ranging from compliance with patient confidentiality laws through to the maintenance of medical records.
It’s safe to say that physicians work in one of the most highly regulated professions. For those physicians that need to utilize electronic medical records, for example, it can be extremely burdensome. That’s because of the amount of data entry that’s required. That said, if you’re in a position where you must deal with electronic medical records on a regular basis, you may wish to hire a medical scribe to assist you with the charts.
So, Should You Really Consider Becoming a Doctor?
For some, there’s no question that the benefits of being a doctor greatly outweigh the downsides. For others, not so. Many medical doctors are very happy with their career decision, while others rue the fact that they did not select a different career path.
Some believe that going into the profession is well worth the number of challenges they face, the roadblocks, the late nights, the early mornings. It’s all worth it and they are unable to imagine doing anything else.
So, if you’re trying to make a decision as to whether it is an appropriate choice for you, do take into account alternative careers. Explore those other careers first.
Also, why not ask for the opinions of practicing doctors? Ask if they enjoy the work they do. What are the benefits of being a doctor for them and what things are not so good? It will all give you insight and the ability to make a more appropriate choice, now or in the future.
The fact is that there has always been and always will be a direct need to treat illness and injury. As the populations grow within the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, and as more and more individuals enter the 65 and older age demographic, the number of shortages in this field will continue to grow and this will create all the more opportunities to pursue a career as a medical doctor. If you are drawn to the challenge of helping others, not to mention the potential for an excellent income, then becoming a physician could prove to be a tremendous choice for you to make.
Becoming a doctor not right for you? How about being a teacher? Find out the pros about being a teacher.
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