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Women physicians

Why become a doctor? Women share their stories.

The decision to become a doctor is a very personal one. For many it takes years of personal realization. And for others, it's always been their life's calling to pursue medical school and ultimately don the iconic white lab coat.

Some members were influenced by their own personal experiences with the health profession. "What lead me to be a physician was dealing with my own health issues... I have experienced the best and worst of the medical profession. It really pushed me to throw my hat in the ring backed up by my personal experiences as a patient," says one MomMD member.

Indeed, another describes how negative experiences with the less ethical sides of medicine caused a detour in her life's ambition, "there was no way I would ever be associated with a profession like that so I quit working toward that... After much introspection and exposure to some fine physicians (including mothers as physicians) I decided I needed to return to my true life's calling." She goes on to say, "I was nervous about going to school as a mother of a one-year-old and a person who wasn't exactly fresh out of college. With a lot of support from my husband and family I took the plunge. It hasn't exactly been easy and there are days (months, sometimes) that I have wished my life would have had another calling, but I love medicine... I am not sure I would necessarily recommend the path I have taken to others, but I am happy to have had the opportunity to be here."

Some simply always knew that they wanted to become a doctor, "I decided become a doctor when I was a child, I don't have doctors in my family, but I knew that I'd love to learn about health, and take care of people." Another remembers waking up "one morning when I was 6 years old and bouncing into my parents bedroom saying 'Hey Mom and Dad! I know what I want to be when I grow up-- a doctor!'" Giving help and support to others in their time of need is inspiration for other members.

Helping on the scene

One member remembers witnessing a hit-and-run accident where the victim landed face down at her feet, blood oozing from his head and probably dead. She says something stirred within her and, of a group of people, she took charge of the situation. The rush of adrenaline in this situation was something she had never experienced before and it was oddly exciting. The victim survived, the driver was caught and this incident was one of many unrelated events over a period of 12 years, that eventually made her realize that becoming a doctor was what she MUST do.

Another member describes how she "grew up in New York City and came of age in 1970, the beginning of the women's movement. I felt challenged by the movement to raise the bar on my own expectations and then went to medical school. Medicine felt right in that social and economic climate of uncertainty as a way to excel personally and professionally."

MomMD members also thank and credit their husbands and families for supporting their dream. None regret their decision and the path they took. In short, when you love what you do and work with love, work becomes pleasure.

For others seeking nonclinical jobs for doctors, the career paths can be wide-ranging but still rewarding.

And for those who know this is the true calling, it all starts with a clearly thought-out premed plan.

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