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Why would anyone want to be a doctor/nurse? Many negatives

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Why would anyone want to be a doctor/nurse? Many negatives

Postby Winston » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:40 pm

I have a question. Why would anyone want to be a doctor or nurse? The negatives seem to far outweigh the positives. I mean, consider the negatives:

- You are around sick, suffering and bleeding people all day. If that doesn't bring you down or drain you emotionally, nothing will. There is nothing more draining than trauma situations in ER's. You have to have a strong stomach to endure that.
- Being around sick people everyday means there is a high risk that you will catch some disease or be infected by something too. So it's a risk to your health as well.
- A doctor has to spend around 8 years at medical school, which is very expensive and involves many unpaid internships. 8 years is a lot of life to spend.
- A doctor's schedule often involves working long hours, such as 15 hour shifts. So there is little or no time for anything else. No time for freedom, fun, hobbies, travel, or even for family.
- If you regret becoming a doctor, there is little else you can do with your MD credentials. It doesn't transfer well to other fields and careers.
- If a patient dies under your care, their family may blame you for it or hold you responsible, or even sue you. How would you like to have a family hate you for life?
- If you make a mistake that costs your patient his/her life, you may feel guilty about it for the rest of your life.

Is all this worth it just to have a prestigious career or please your parents?

Why do most doctors become doctors? Is it out of an altruistic desire to help others, because of money and prestige, or family pressure?

HouseMD will probably have a lot to say about this one.
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Postby Anti-American » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:50 pm

Nursing is an overrated occupation and attracts many f***ed up people.

Rants about nurses:

http://predatort.blogspot.com/2007/07/i ... urses.html
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Re: Why would anyone want to be a doctor/nurse? Many negativ

Postby momopi » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:22 am

Winston wrote:I have a question. Why would anyone want to be a doctor or nurse?


Ask your doctor.
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Postby HouseMD » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:59 pm

I've pretty much retired from this site, but since you messaged me about it, here goes, point by point.

- You are around sick, suffering and bleeding people all day. If that doesn't bring you down or drain you emotionally, nothing will. There is nothing more draining than trauma situations in ER's. You have to have a strong stomach to endure that.

There are many types of medicine you can practice, from the tame (outpatient family practice, dermatology, radiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation) to the extreme (inner city ER, trauma surgery, neurosurgery). I'm an adrenaline junkie, but unlike the sorts who jump out of planes and go bungee jumping, I can only get my fix from real life-or-death situations. It was medicine or the military, and with my medical history, the military was out. After my time as a tech in the ED, my heart was pretty much set on emergency med.

- Being around sick people everyday means there is a high risk that you will catch some disease or be infected by something too. So it's a risk to your health as well.

It is sort of dangerous in certain environments, but completely safe in others. Again, the outpatient and less acute physician specialties don't really put themselves out there any more than an ordinary person would so far as their infection risk. Inpatient medicine has risks. I've had several TB exposures, which thankfully all resulted in negative PPD tests, and one needle stick incident from a patient with HIV and heptatitis when I was a respiratory therapist that also came up negative for both after testing. The TB you can't really help, but the needle stick was my own carelessness. You do what you can to protect yourself. Honestly you're probably more at risk of catching a disease from sleeping with one new girl you don't know than a doctor or nurse is at risk of catching a disease at work over their entire career.

- A doctor has to spend around 8 years at medical school, which is very expensive and involves many unpaid internships. 8 years is a lot of life to spend.

It's 4 years of medical school, and 3-7 years of (lowly) paid residency. It is a lot of life to spend, but I have already lived the best years of my life, and started med school a bit later than most. And it isn't like you can't live at all during that time. You get as much vacation as any other worker during residency, you can travel abroad during medical school for rotations, and, depending on where you do your residency, you can do international rotations as well. You work a lot of hours, but realistically during residency you're only pushing 60-65 hours a week, no more than a small business owner in the startup phase.

- A doctor's schedule often involves working long hours, such as 15 hour shifts. So there is little or no time for anything else. No time for freedom, fun, hobbies, travel, or even for family.

Depends on the type of doctor. A full time ER position is three 12 hour shifts per week, paid at $200/hr in my area. You knock out a full week of work in 3 days then have four days off. If you bunch up your schedule, you can do a run of 6 12s and then have 8 days off. Many salary contracts for ED work are yearly contracts, for, say, 1500 hours. Some people just work all 1500 as fast as they can, knocking it all out in 6 months, then spend the next 6 months on vacation, or working a second full salary job if they're greedy. Hospitalists usually work 7 on/7 off 12 hour shifts, so they work hard when they are working, but then have a whole week off to do whatever with. FP is usually a 9-5 M-F job, with weekend call for emergencies that usually consists of telling the patient to go to the ER. Derm is a 9-3 M-F job, they work banker's hours and make bank to boot. There's a lot of options, it isn't nearly as bad as you would think.

- If you regret becoming a doctor, there is little else you can do with your MD credentials. It doesn't transfer well to other fields and careers.

Medical consulting, working for pharmaceutical companies, medical management, medical device sales, and investment consulting are but a few of the careers a doc can easily make a switch to if they tire of clinical practice. There's a lot of options, and if you don't like the options you've got, you have enough money to retrain for whatever field you want. The people that regret becoming doctors are the ones who are there for the wrong reasons anyway, it's their fault for having their priorities messed up.

- If a patient dies under your care, their family may blame you for it or hold you responsible, or even sue you. How would you like to have a family hate you for life?

It doesn't happen all that often. If you are working in intensive care, which is about the only area where patients die that didn't come in already basically dead, you will get far more praise than anger from the families of your patients. Every year the ICU staff of every unit, from neuro to newborn to medical, would get flooded with gifts, food, cards, and appreciation from the families of patients that we were able to either save or at least provide excellent care and compassion to in their final hours.

- If you make a mistake that costs your patient his/her life, you may feel guilty about it for the rest of your life.

Depends on the person. Basically, if you are in inpatient practice, it is only a matter of time before you accidentally kill someone. This rule applies to nurses, doctors, physician assistants, and respiratory therapists. You might never know you did it. It could have been a bad decision, a mixed up med, or a simple mistake, but it will happen eventually. Every now and then though, you know you made a mistake. I've never accidentally killed someone, but I've had some near misses and a couple of tough decisions about equipment back in the day where I wonder if I did the wrong or the right thing, and I'll tell you, they haunt you a bit. Usually they are just things you learn from, that you will never, ever do again because you've got that mistake burned into your memory. But it doesn't really haunt you in day-to-day life, or at least it doesn't bother me. I was never one to think about work while I am not at work. It's what I do, not who I am.

Plus you save waaaaay more people than you harm, and that rush you get from the good decisions more than makes up for the bad ones. Especially when it's something you are particularly good at that most other providers have difficulty understanding, such as cardiopulmonary hemodynamics. If you've got your area and you make a life-saving call that 95% of other caregivers would not have made because they don't have your knowledge base, that feels awesome.

Is all this worth it just to have a prestigious career or please your parents?

You'd really have to ask someone who gives a damn about what their parents or society thinks. I haven't a clue. I went into this because I found I had a talent for it when I was a respiratory therapist, and I really just loved medicine. For people like me, it's a calling, basically. Like being in love, you can't help that it's what you want, you're just drawn to it, and would feel incomplete without it.

Why do most doctors become doctors? Is it out of an altruistic desire to help others, because of money and prestige, or family pressure?

Many different factors play into it. Some people go into it for the money, others for the perceived prestige, others for their families, and then there's always the "I just want to help people" types. Usually the money and prestige are sort of coupled and people that want one want the other, while the family oriented ones had parents who were physicians. The "IJWTHP" types are often bright-eyed, bushy-tailed idealists that are in for a hard punch in the face from reality and a serious case of disillusionment down the road, because people often don't want to be helped, and you can only do so much. Then there's the people who really love applied science and using their minds but hate research and mathematics. That's me. It's just the right fit for my personality type and skills, and I really enjoy it.
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Postby Hero » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:11 am

Filipinas go to nursing school so they can get jobs in the USA.
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Postby HouseMD » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:21 am

Hero wrote:Filipinas go to nursing school so they can get jobs in the USA.

They staffed all the off shifts at my old hospital in groups. Some days the whole floor staff would be Filipino in some areas. They jokingly called themselves the Filipino mafia. Good times.
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Postby Hero » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:48 am

HouseMD wrote:
Hero wrote:Filipinas go to nursing school so they can get jobs in the USA.

They staffed all the off shifts at my old hospital in groups. Some days the whole floor staff would be Filipino in some areas. They jokingly called themselves the Filipino mafia. Good times.


Hey, do you have any advice for my Filipina friend who's about to get her nursing degree and wants to move to the USA?
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Postby SilverEnergy » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:53 am

If they love what they do, then why question it?

At least they're doing something constructive with their lives and trying to make this world a better place.

We need more people who think about others in this world.

If you lost your limb, I am sure you would be forever grateful for your doctor.
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