So why med school? From everything we’ve been hearing, it’s a bad time to be a doctor, and a worse time to go to school. According to the British Medical Journal, doctor satisfaction is at an all-time low; half of doctors say they wouldn’t even get into medicine again, starting over, down from 69% just a YEAR ago. That could just be some political grandstanding, but the reasons cited are specific to the increases in paperwork and the corresponding limits placed on actual patient interaction that drives dissatisfaction.
To make matters worse, even their salaries are falling, in some specialties by 10%. That’s especially troubling when you consider the fact that American medical schools can cost upwards of half a million dollars when all is said and done. Doctors in some states might not even make much more than high school teachers. It’s hard to look at those numbers and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Med school is notoriously difficult. Law students like to think they have it rough, but they need three years of education, whereas med students are in for four years and a residency (3-7) and possibly a fellowship (1-4) and all of those years are likely going to require 80+ hour weeks of reading, studying, and preparing for exams and clinicals. So, why med school?
As I covered in my previous post about Poland, the two biggest draws are the fact that my wife’s family lives there, so we will have a lot of local support, and med school is far cheaper there than in the US. I will not face the massive student loan anchor that most American students do. If the kiddos get a little crazy, and the wife and I need a break, we will have aunts and uncles to watch them for a breather. That is my fortunate reality, and it is huge.
Debt aside, doctors still make pretty decent money. My family and I will be pretty much set for life once I get the ball rolling with my career. I have a few connections to physicians and hospitals in the States if I come back here for internships or residency, so I’m not worried about fighting for unwanted spots that don’t get me the benefits I want. It’s a good gig.
I love science and math. Sometimes it aggravates me to no end, and there have been times in discussions or debates where I want to throw books/objects or commit felonious assault to random strangers who don’t seem to get it, but overall, it’s my passion. I’ve tried a number of different jobs in the STEM fields, but none of them fully caught my attention. I have been working in the medical field in a part time capacity while exploring other options, and I’m now jumping in with both feet.
What can I say? It feels good to feel important. I don’t plan on being one of those asshole doctors who parks a car he can barely afford in the handicapped space just to show everyone that he’s in charge, but I’d like people to know my name instead of being, “Hey you!” I also don’t mind steak dinners, decent wine, and traveling to interesting places, so it all ties in rather nicely.