The process to becoming a physician is long and difficult. Even as medical schools are increasing enrollments to offset a physician shortage, the decision to become a doctor is not for everyone. It takes an extraordinary amount of hard work and a special kind of dedication. The first step on this path is to have a complete understanding of the process and to decide if it is indeed a path you are willing to take. The purpose of this article series is to show you the way, to dispel the mystery, and to give you resources for finding more information on how to become a physician.
Want to Become a Physician, But Wonder How Doctors Really Feel About Their Profession?
As a pre-med student studying this subject I have spoken to several doctors about their profession, their education, and the quality of their lives. A common topic was the difficulty of residency and the need for changes in the "system." I found physicians' opinions of their work vary greatly depending on their specialty. Busy family practice physicians seem to spend more hours at work and complain of their lack of "a life outside the hospital." Whereas one dermatologist quipped, "have you ever heard of a dermatological emergency? That's why I chose it, no on-call, nice hours, and lot's of golfing!" An emergency room doctor spoke highly of his specialty, again citing no call, 8-hour shifts, and plenty of variety.
One busy doctor who is nearing retirement spent 15 minutes convincing me that he really didn't like his job. However, when I asked him how he made it through the training and why he hadn't left the profession he said, "because I love helping people and I can't imagine doing anything else". If that's the way you feel, then take the next step down the path to become a physician and read on.
Articles in this series:
- Becoming a Doctor Are you trying to decide whether becoming a doctor is right for you? Take a realistic look at what it takes to get there.
- Steps to Become a Doctor Premed Planning - The timeline and steps to become a doctor, including undergraduate studies, gaining experience in the medical industry and taking the MCAT.
- Applying to Medical School Ready to apply to medical school? Be prepared for the application process and for medical school interviews.
- How to Become a Doctor What to Expect in Medical School - Medical school curriculum, USMLE, and the cost of medical school
- NRMP and Medical Residency What is residency for doctors? Medical Residency, ERAS, NRMP, the Residency Match and the Scramble - The process of getting matched with a medical residency position, and the medical resident's role.
- Being a Doctor What It's Like to be a Doctor