Why I don’t want to be a doctor

At Life in the Fast Lane, we try to provide educational posts and commentary to stimulate discourse in the field of health. With such a diverse audience reading the blog, the only thing the writing team can be assured of, is that we will never be able to please all of the people all of the time!

To some readers the posts are too medical, others deem them too obtuse, and others still want a more evidence based approach…

I was taken by one recent readers letter which I will reproduce in full…’cos I like it.

Our reader wrote:

Sir, too many of your links and blogs lately concentrate on why med students want to become med students. It’s dull. And lacks adequate perspective.

I love Life in the Fast Lane. It’s interesting and pertinent to the work I do. It is regularly funny and best of all it discusses grammatical idiosyncrasies. But of late I have been disappointed by the recurrent theme of medical students blogging about why they want to become doctors. Personal understanding of your own motivations and intentions is important. Especially when considering such an expensive and time consuming life change. But does it make for inspired reading?

Lets be honest, it’s really not difficult to see why people are motivated to become doctors. Yes, it is academically challenging and usually costs you a pretty penny, but your reasons for trying to become one are usually standard issue. I’m guessing if you became a doctor it was for one or some of the following:

  1. You wanted to help people and be involved in some of the most intimate and important events of their life
  2. You wanted to cut people open and play with what you found inside
  3. You loved the lateral thinking challenge of making a difficult diagnosis
  4. You wanted to see more people naked (probably not something you’d admit to in a blog)
  5. You wanted access to cool drugs (again, unlikely you’d admit it)
  6. Your mother made you watch Dr Quinn medicine woman too much as a child
  7. You had the grades to do it, so you did it.

And there are certainly plenty of advantages to being a doctor

  1. You are largely given social respect and admiration as you’re handed your degree
  2. No one is going to the put the word ‘just’ in front of the word doctor
  3. You have autonomy and decision making power
  4. You are generally well remunerated for your work

Don’t get my wrong, I’m not anti-doctor. I have enormous respect for my medical colleagues. Especially those who contribute to Life in the Fast Lane as they are all capable of remembering that humour and polite human interactions are always indicated in medical practise. And I appreciate that being a doctor is challenging and demanding.

But what I am saying, is that making the decision to become a doctor is rarely such an unusual decision that it should warrant multiple blogs. So maybe next time Life in the Fast Lane is looking for a human perspective on a career in an Emergency Department they could ask a more original question. Like, “why I don’t want to be a doctor…

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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