Let’s go straight to the point. Pursuing medicine as a career is not something that any one should be insistent about. Parents, never force your children to become doctors. And students, never be forced to pursue medicine as a career. The reason is simple: The job of a doctor is about saving or wasting lives. Good doctors often save lives and bad doctors often waste lives. Whether or not you’ll become a good doctor or a bad one depends on you meeting up some criteria that we will now highlight. If you do not have them, you cannot become a good doctor.
- Are You Really Dedicated and committed? Well, you need to be really dedicated to work as a doctor. The moment you become a doctor, you really do not have a life of your own anymore. So, be ready to disown yourself for the sake of other people. If you love your weekends and evenings, you need to start having a rethink if you must study medicine. Doctors often times don’t get to enjoy their vacations because anytime, any day, you get called in for a patient emergency.
- You must be really good at working in a team. You need to be really good at working with other people. To save a life, there must be team work and you must communicate effectively with your team. You’ll be working in the same team with other doctors, nurses, and support staff, particularly if you’re working in a hospital. Doctors aren’t angels, they disagree about treatment plans; doctors also fall out with nurses many times. They could even hate who they are as a person outside of work, but in the hospital environment they work as professionals. If you find it difficult to get along with different personalities, medicine may not be a good choice for you.
- You must be humble. The third criterion is humility. Doctors make a lot of mistakes- some major, some minor. But good doctors are humble enough to own those mistakes and correct them if at all possible. They are also willing to adjust their approach in response to new information – new symptoms, new physical findings, and new test results. They admit that they’re never going to know everything. Every now and then, they pick up more and more knowledge as they become available. You’re going to learn just as much from your peers as you will senior physicians. No doctor is good at everything. Some doctors are really good at finding diagnoses for strange sets of symptoms but they aren’t good with bedside manners. Other doctors are really personable with their patients but struggle with problem-solving. Humility will move you to see which of your fellow doctors have the skills you lack, and pay attention. You’ll pick up lots of things along the way from doctors who inspire you.
- You must be studious. Every day, there are new discoveries and new treatments in the medical field. With the little time they have, It can be really daunting to spend it reading up on the latest studies. But good doctors realize that it’s their responsibility to be on top of their job. You cannot be too old to learn in medicine, you have no choice but to constantly learn — no one wants a doctor working with outdated information.
- You must be honest. It’s inevitable in the profession that you’re going to mess things up. Minor mistakes like giving a medication at the wrong time can be managed. But major mistakes like giving the wrong medication or overdosing a patient to the point that they have to go to the ICU demands your utmost honesty. If you report your mistake, corrective measures can be taken. You will learn from your mistake, and the incident will become so ingrained in your brain that you’ll likely never, ever make it again.
- Be ready to deal with lots of paperwork. You cannot be an efficient doctor if paperwork bore you because being a doctor is a lot of paperwork. From the time you interview a patient about an ailment to the time you prescribed medication and complete a procedure, you have to honestly and objectively document everything. If you don’t write down that something happened, it’s like it never happened. Documenting things is both for the safety of the patient and for liability reasons.
- Be open to uncertainties. A lot of people choose medicine as their career because they love science or the idea of helping people. That’s completely normal. But as you study in medical school, you’ll be uncertain about the kind of doctor you want to be until the end of medical school. You have to be prepared for such uncertainty. Apart from that, you are not certain when you’ll be called up for an emergency. You may already be in the middle of something very important to you when you receive the emergency call. since it’s your vow to save lives, you’ll have to respond immediately to the call. And even while on the job, you’re not certain how long a treatment or a surgical session will be. Hence, you have your life to account for as regards your own meals and sleep. You are not even too certain about all treatments methods. This minute a patient is responding well to treatment and the other he dies? No matter how often it happens in your line of work, having a patient die will always be sad.
- Doctors are not rich people. If you want to become a doctor because of gaining riches, you are sadly mistaken. Please change your career perspective because doctors are not rich people. Even plastic surgeons and doctors in affluent communities are not rich. You’ll be comfortable, but you won’t be rich.
- Do you like educating people? The last criterion is your willingness to educate patients. Being a patient is often very scary, especially in the hospital. However, everyone is looking up to the doctors. Hence, your responsibility is to help your patients understand what is happening and you we are doing. To do this, you must be humble, patient, and educative.
After reading the above criteria, do you think you should be forced to become a doctor? If you pursue medicine as a career when you do not have what it takes to become a doctor, you will never be happy in life no matter how hard you try to be. The end result? Your family, friends, and most crucial, your patients would always bear the brunt!