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Why Study Medicine? The Pros аnd Cons

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The medical profession is considered to be both satisfying and lucrative, drawing the best students to its ranks every year. However, several studies have indicated occupational burnout as a substantial and growing problem among current medical practitioners suggesting that enthusiasm is replaced, somewhere along the way, by pessimism and cynicism. Despite this unfavourable outcome of the profession we find that thousands of students all over the country are still eager to pursue the medical profession. What motivates them to become doctors? Do these young men and women really know what kind of work environment awaits them during the course of their arduous medical education and training? Studies from other countries have indicated that students are not always aware of what they are getting into when they join the medical profession. Thus, they may have unrealistic perceptions of the medical curriculum and of medical practice later. It has also been observed that many students prefer a career in medicine because of parental pressure and therefore lack motivation of their own nor do they display any professionalism It is to be remembered that in many countries the majority of

children taking this decision are very young and have lead a very protected life with plenty of parental guidance but with not much career counselling. Little

has been done to examine whether they understand the demands and rigors of a career in medicine once they decide to choose it.


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Why Study Medicine? The Pros аnd Cons

With the new rise in University tuition fees, studying any degree, but particularly Medicine, will be very expensive. Medicine is typically a course that involves 5 or 6 years of study, a lifetime of physical, emotional, and examination stress.

So why study medicine, or do you want to be a doctor? It’s a question that crops up not just before medical school, but during and after medical school. Here are some of the Pros and Cons of being a doctor:

The Pros

1) Medicine is a fascinating science

For some doctors, this is the key reason why we strive to do this job. It’s the fascination for how the human body works. From the beautiful arrangements in anatomy, the complex physiology, right down to molecular science and how drugs and therapeutics interact with our biology. Medicine is a course that offers all round knowledge about how we work and how we can strive to fix it when problems arise. A lot of medical schools describe medicine as more of an art form than a science, but you certainly need some basic understanding of the science in order to truly understand how and why it is applied that way.

2) Being able to help people

No doubt for many of us, when we or others around us are sick, there is often a feeling of helplessness. Medical knowledge empowers us to be able to do at least something for the people around us. Although there are many limitations in medical science, there are still many diseases or conditions that we can treat or reverse if we know what to do and how quickly to do it. Even if a condition is incurable, we are still about to bring comfort to those who suffer and at least help them through the remainder of their life. It is perhaps this feeling that your knowledge has helped someone that’s makes this job so morally rewarding.

3) Respect

No matter where you go in the world, doctors attain a level of respect and trust beyond most other jobs. This is not just from your family and friends, but also you will notice that people around you might treat you differently when they find out you are a doctor (which can be a good thing or a bad thing, though mostly good!). If you are the first doctor in the family, expect your parents and grandparents to restlessly introduce you as a doctor to every one they ever knew. At least you know you’ve made them proud.

This certain level of respect is maintained by our public image, and therefore the GMC (General Medical Council) strives to ensure we as doctors maintain our responsibilities even outside of work.

4) A diverse range of jobs available

Within hospitals, doctors are split between “Medics” and “Surgeons”, as well as other specialities such as Radiologists, Histopathologists, Gynaecologists, Paediatricians, etc. GPs also have the scope to choose specific areas to specialize in as well e.g. Dermatology or Ears, Nose and Throat medicine.

But medicine is not just about being stuck in a hospital or a GP practice. Medicine as a degree on its own offers huge scope for going into a diverse range of fields. Some medics I knew during medical school have quit being a doctor altogether and became very successful scientists, bankers, traders, musicians, radio DJs, university lecturers, etc.

Currently there is the possibility of being a “Locum Doctor”. These are doctors who are paid for temporary positions at hospitals that don’t have enough doctors to replace those on leave. You can choose where and when you want to do your “doctor” work and spend the rest of your time running other projects or do other jobs.

5) The Money

No doubt you will hear from many people that you shouldn’t do medicine for the money. However, money gives you a sense of security that having spent so many years of sweat and tears studying constantly, that at least you have a decent enough salary to earn a decent living. Many of us might complain how we aren’t paid very well, the truth is that currently we have a level of assurance that we aren’t very likely to lose our job during hard economic times than other professions. Although we aren’t paid very well (at least in the UK) in the very early stages as a junior doctor, we can certainly expect a decent middle class livelihood in the future with prospects of earning up to 6 figures. There is also scope for working in the private sector along side your NHS duties, and also Locum doctor jobs as mentioned above.

The Cons

1) The cost of time and money

I’m am very strongly against these £9,000 fees. Unlike our American counterparts, our parents didn’t realize the need to save for University tuition because they never existed during the 90s. For those of us who are not so well off, the sum owed by the end of graduation really is a shocker, and it certainly doesn’t help if junior doctors pay remain at its current lows, with house prices remaining so high, and cost of living such as running a car being so expensive.

Tuition fees: £9000 x 6 = £54,000 (Last two years covered by the NHS)
Living costs (food, drink, books, clothes etc.): £4000 x 6 = £24,000
Rent: £5000 x 6 = £30,000

Total cost: £90,000 by day of graduation.

When are we expected to start making a decent living for ourselves and for our future children? Doctors start their careers much later than other professions, so your friend who finished university 3 years before you is probably earning 2-3 times your salary by the time you graduate. Because of this, we also generally plan to start families later than some of our other friends.

Money and time are both huge sacrifices we make for our job. Realize though that as mentioned, there is a diverse range of jobs to go into with a medical degree, and some medical specialties work from 9 till 5. Not all is bad.

2) Responsibilities the size of an elephant

Due to the line of work that we do, even minor mistakes can have dire consequences. A doctor’s job is a very invasive one and we must take every care to ensure we keep these mistakes to a minimum. No matter how hard we try though, mistakes will happen, and part of being a doctor is being able to look past those mistakes and learn from them. This can be difficult for some people. It is usually this amount of responsibility that puts even the most intelligent students off from wanting to do medicine. We all find our own method of dealing with this. From my personal experience, especially in Third World countries, I realized that if I didn’t do the job, I’d be leaving the job to those less experienced. The key is to be confident about your own abilities and be comfortable with the decisions you make. These generally take time and experience to develop so don’t give up before you’ve tried it.

3) It takes patience to look after patients.

Dealing with difficult cases can be physically and emotionally draining. There will be countless situations where you will have to deal with angry, upset, drunk, and violent patients, on some occasions by yourself. You are very much tested to hold yourself together and be able to diffuse those situations as calmly as possible. It does feel great though if you do pull through to the other end without the patients becoming angrier or, in the worst case scenario, getting sued!


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1.Why Study Medicine? The Pros And Cons http://theaspiringmedic.co.uk/why-study-medicine/

2.Motivation and preparedness of first semester medical students for a career in medicine http://www.ijpp.com/IJPP%20archives/2013_57_4_Oct%20-%20Dec/432-438.pdf

3.видео ролик "I am a Medical Student" - The motivations and interests of five future physicians http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No29i5GBdIE


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