Pursuing a career in medicine is still one of the noblest professions around. Helping people when they are in their most critical times of need is filled with ups and downs. When you pursue a medical degree you’ll be taken to your limits emotionally, physically, and even financially. Although the road is long and the risks are high, the rewards at the end are even greater. You’ll get opportunities unlike anything else in this world. Here’s the good, the bad, and the great about what you need to know before you pursue a medical degree.
The Years Will Be Long
Doctors spend a minimum of 4 years doing undergraduate work, 4 years in medical school, and then they move on to a minimum of two years doing residency work. For doctors like primary care physicians, they will spend about 10 years getting all their education done. Surgeons might spend as long as 14 years completing everything. This is a long time. For those who want to pursue a medical degree, these can be challenging years. But once you’re done, you get to work as a physician in whatever specialty you trained for.
The Debt Will Be High
Between getting a bachelor’s degree and moving on to medical school, most doctors come out with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt. This number can be upwards of $300,000 or more by the time they are done. While this number is very high, there are also several programs that help doctors pay off their debt more quickly. Some hospitals will pay off a doctor’s debt little by little each year. There are also programs to try and encourage doctors to live in rural areas. These programs pay off huge chunks of their student loan debt when they commit to working a set number of years in a small community.
The Days Will Be Spent Studying
Most good doctors have learned to be good researchers. When they need to study for school tests and standardized tests, they learn to use all the tools at their fingertips. They may create MCAT flashcards, video presentations, and listen to lectures on their commute to ensure they commit the most critical details to memory. Studying is a big part of being a doctor. It means they are looking for solutions to problems and will dig into the research to find them.
The Opportunities Will Be Limitless
In spite of all the challenges that come with becoming a doctor, there are incredible opportunities available to people with medical degrees. Whether you want to focus on family medicine, or you’d prefer to learn and implement new surgical techniques, there are many ways to use your knowledge. There are options all over the world for quality doctors. The great thing is that you don’t need to stay working in your home country. If you’d prefer a change of scenery, there are programs that allow doctors to go overseas as well.
The Impact Will Be Huge
People are vulnerable when they are sick and in need of medical care. Whether you are casting a broken leg or giving medicine to help someone who suffers from seizures, you’ll make a huge impact wherever you go. Being there to diagnose and treat cancer patients means you are giving them hope for another day. Being a doctor is a big responsibility, but with it comes enormous potential to impact the lives of real people every single day.
The Technology is There to Help
Technology has come a long way. It’s use in medicine is making big breakthroughs for diagnoses and treatments. You can easily monitor a heart patient’s stats using a wireless enabled device that they can wear at home. You can insert a device to measure blood sugar levels and dispense the right amount of insulin in response to those levels. As a surgeon, you can gain precision using robotic tools as well. Technology is making the world of medicine more efficient so that people can get back to living life more quickly and with better outcomes. Doctors can find information about strange diseases through online databases more quickly. Everywhere you turn, technology is there for you when you become a doctor.
Before you pursue a medical degree, you need to know that the road will be long, but in the end, if it’s the right path for you, it’ll be worth it. You’ll one day pay off the debt, you’ll appreciate your study skills, and ability to handle stressful situations, and you’ll find that no matter what you want to do later in life, your medical skills will be of great value.
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