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Pros and Cons of Choosing a Career in Medicine

Student Choosing Career in Medicine

We tie a lot of our value to what we do for a living. This seems kind of superficial since we’re all just trying to do the same things at our core: stay happy, healthy, and capable of caring for our children. Since there doesn't seem to be any end in sight when it comes to the importance placed on occupational choice, you might as well try to choose something that is rewarding.

What exactly does that mean, though? Some jobs are financially rewarding. Others provide good benefits and paid time off. You may like working with the coworkers and bosses that you come into contact.

One of the jobs with the most prestigious reputations is anything in the medical field, but especially becoming a doctor. There are a lot of assumptions about this job, from auto insurance for doctors to the intangible rewards of working with patients every day. We’ll cover the pros and cons of the medical field so you can decide on a career in it.

Pro: Financial Benefits

This is the most well-known benefit of being in the medical field. The assumption is that every person gets paid a ton of money, but there is a lot more that goes into the salary of someone in medicine.

What type of medical professional you are will also affect your salary. If you are a doctor, you usually make more than a nurse.

A surgeon makes more money than a general practitioner. Someone who works as a general pediatrician makes less money than someone who works in pediatric neurology. If money is the only thing that matters to you when you enter medicine, you might forget how important your job is to patients and how you are affecting their lives when you go to work each day.

Choose passion over salary

You may be enticed by a doctor’s salary, but make sure that you are passionate about whatever subject area you go into in medicine. Nurses sometimes get to be around patients and talk to them about their concerns and troubles more than doctors.

Being a receptionist at a hospital means you will get to make social skills your main area of interest, and you will have a knack for clerical work. They are all important in their own way, and the compensation is going to be pretty great no matter what you choose.

Medical professionals also get very good benefits like paid time off and 401(k) retirement plans. Getting a job with a hospital that cares about its employees is just as important in medicine as it is in any other job. If you want to forget about some of the hassles of working with hospitals, you can think about starting your own practice independent of any other third party.

Con: School and Training

If you don’t like school or training, then becoming a medical professional may not be worth your time. It is hard to think of any other career that requires more preparation than becoming a doctor. Most medical programs take eight years to complete. You then will become a resident who works under another established doctor, usually for at least two years.

This means you can expect a decade of training before you have your dream realized. And the learning doesn’t stop there. Medicine is a field that requires constant updating, research, and evaluation. Doctors have to rethink the way they do their jobs every time there is a new discovery in their field of study.

As a parent who wants their child to go into medicine, you don’t need to think about doing anything special with their education in K-12. Going to a private school isn’t going to enhance their ability to become a doctor. Nothing your son or daughter does on their 10th-grade science fair project is going to get them into Harvard’s school of medicine.

What you do need to think about is whether your child enjoys the process of learning. Being a doctor is all about improving and studying. If you hate school, becoming a medical professional may be the wrong career choice. 

Pro: Keeping People Happy and Healthy

This is the most emotionally rewarding part of becoming a doctor. Seeing the relief on a patient’s face after successful surgery or recovery from illness is once in a lifetime. Not many jobs directly impact other people on a small and large scale like becoming a doctor.

If your child shows any signs of wanting to help their community or people on an individual basis, then they might just be a great doctor. They will be entering a field where their decisions are important and require precision every day.

Seeing others happy is something you can’t get with every job. Encourage your child to want to make others' lives better, whether they become a doctor or not. If they already have a disposition for this kind of role, then no job is more rewarding than medicine.

Con: Stress and Intensity

Not many jobs have more responsibilities than being a doctor. If you mess up a spreadsheet at your typical office job, it’s typically not going to lead to someone’s death.

Becoming a doctor is knowing that every day on the job is critical to someone else's life. You can’t let your personal life interfere with your performance on the job because a mistake might literally ruin someone else's life.

If your son or daughter doesn’t stay calm under pressure or gives up when the going gets tough, then you shouldn’t encourage them to become a doctor. Talk to your high schooler or college-aged child about whether this high-intensity environment sounds right for them.

They could perhaps grow into liking this type of lifestyle, but handling stress with a reasonable demeanor and reveling in situations where others falter is pretty unique. Not everybody is cut out for this type of work, and work stress can impact your longevity.

Career counselors are available to your family to decide whether medicine and becoming a doctor is right for your child. There are undoubtedly many rewards waiting for those who can endure responsibility.

The Verdict: Becoming a Medical Professional

Everyone has to make their own decision about entering medicine, but if you can weigh the benefits of helping others with the stresses of having so much responsibility on your shoulders, you will be able to decide whether the profession is right for you.

We always need more people in medicine, but you shouldn’t go into the field until you have done some research and asked yourself some questions about how it will affect the life you want for yourself and your family.

Sara Rothier's picture

Sara Rothier writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com. He wants to educate people on the risks and rewards of their career choices.