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“I am definitely telling my kids not to go into the medical field.” Given bureaucratic insurance companies and government regulations on healthcare, this type of attitude seems to represent a pervasive mindset that has started to creep into our medical community. I feel inspired to defend our profession and provide evidence that proves that being a physician is still the greatest and most rewarding job on the planet.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Joshua Mali, MD, a vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a private multispecialty ophthalmology practice in Sarasota, FL. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.
As I sat in the physician lounge waiting for my next surgical case, I could not help but notice an older doctor sitting across the room in front of a computer, frantically trying to type up his progress note on EMR while simultaneously getting paged. It was at this point that he turned to his friend and said, “I am definitely telling my kids not to go into the medical field.” Given bureaucratic insurance companies and government regulations on healthcare, this type of attitude seems to represent a pervasive mindset that has started to creep into our medical community. I feel inspired to defend our profession and provide evidence that proves that being a physician is still the greatest and most rewarding job on the planet.
I must disclose that I am completely biased given I am an ophthalmologist/retinal surgeon. I come from a family of physicians as my father is a urologist, my brother is a pain management specialist, and my wife is currently finishing up her residency training in ophthalmology. All that being said, here we go with the top five reasons that being a physician is still the best:
Since the time of Hippocrates, doctors have dedicated their lives to serving humanity and providing medical care to all those in need. As a retinal surgeon, saving a patient’s vision from a sight threatening condition is an amazing feeling. The impact we can have on someone’s life is immeasurable. For example, I was having a conversation with one of my patients that I have been treating for macular degeneration and I began asking about his occupation. As an artist/sculptor, he was so happy and thankful that I had helped him by saving his vision so that he can maintain the ability to create his artistic masterpieces. To me, this is the greatest reward to a physician: the ability to heal and inspire people to live their lives to the highest potential.
The world will always need doctors; this will never change. No matter how much technology advances or the rapid development of new therapies, physicians are the foundation of healthcare. Regardless of the state of the economy or the current job market, the role of the physician is paramount to the health of the community. Recent statistics clearly demonstrate that there will be a shortage of doctors in the future- combine that with an aging population and you have not only job security, but a true demand for doctors. Basic economic principles of supply and demand are definitely in our favor.
While some of you may be surprised that I would mention social life and somehow relate it to the busy doctor lifestyle, let me present you with this perspective. Being a physician gives you the feeling of joining a life-long club with other like-minded individuals and professionals. You have the ability to make lifelong friends at your workplace, hospital, and during medical school/residency/fellowship training programs. As a physician, you have the ability to attend numerous local or national sub-specialty meetings to see your colleagues and meet with industry representatives. If you are like me, you could even meet that Special Someone. (I have to at least attribute some credit to being in the field of ophthalmology for the opportunity to meet and marry my wonderful wife.)
Medicine (particularly ophthalmology) is truly a dynamic profession; there are constantly new therapies being created, advancement of our surgical techniques and instrumentation, and progression of our current understanding of the human body. Even as a private practice physician, I am still motivated to advance my field by being involved in research as a principal investigator in clinical trials and learning/applying new innovative technologies.
5) The Respect Factor
As doctors, we are able to garner an inherent amount of respect from patients and staff solely based on our occupation as a physician. However, we are also granted the opportunity to build upon that initial trust. As a retinal specialist, I have been able to earn more respect and trust from my patients and staff by making solid clinical decisions and treating all my patients, staff, and colleagues with mutual respect.
I hope future generations will read this and continue to be inspired to join our rewarding profession. I would be honored to have my children become physicians and be a part of our illustrious community.