Most of us have thought about becoming a doctor at one time or another. Perhaps you have always liked to help people and would play doctor with your dolls or teddy bears. Or maybe you had a positive experience with a doctor during your formative years that inspired an interest in the medical field.
Maybe you began researching careers in high schools and realized that doctors make a lot of money. However, clearly, not everyone who has thought about becoming a doctor actually does. This makes sense for many reasons, and here are the reasons why becoming a doctor is not for the faint of heart:
First, completing the education needed to become a doctor takes a lot of intelligence and determination, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. You will need to begin formal training in your undergraduate studies. If you know you want to be a doctor, you may choose a “pre-med” major, or you can choose a different major and just make sure to complete required prerequisites for medical school (like biology, chemistry, and other advanced science and math courses).
Then you will need to take the MCAT, the six-hour test that med school admissions departments will look at. Then comes medical school, four grueling years of classes, including dissections (also not for the faint of heart) and hospital rotations.
After med school, you will need to apply for a residency, which is basically on-the-job training in the specialized area of medicine you want to practice, and depending on the area you choose, can last anywhere from 3 to 7 or more years. Obviously this level of education is not for the faint of heart and will last a minimum of 11 years past high school up to 15 or more.
Finances are another big consideration when becoming a doctor that is not for the faint of heart. All of that education has to be paid for, and most people need to take out student loans. So consider how much in loans you will need to take out not only for your undergraduate degree but also for medical school.
In addition, while people think doctors make the big bucks, upon graduating from medical school, residents make just a regular salary similar to what their peers made upon graduating with their undergraduate degree.
Even after completing a residency, doctors need to think about expenses that other professions may not. For example, if you decide to open your own practice, you will need to pay for malpractice insurance to potentially cover a medical malpractice lawyer. As you can see, the financial realities of being a doctor are also not for the faint of heart.
Blood and Guts
Probably one of the things that keeps some people from being doctors is the “blood and guts” aspect, and this is clearly not for the faint of heart. If you get queasy at the sight of blood or faint when you think of things like surgery, this is not the career for you.
There are some specialties that don’t deal with as much blood and guts as other specialities, but you would still need to get through all the dissections and hospital rotations involved in medical school, so consider your options carefully.
Obviously becoming a doctor is a career path that takes a lot of determination and perseverance. It is certainly not for the faint of heart.