Today's question is from a 5th grader who asks Why Did You Want to Be a Doctor?
You know what's great? The reasons I wanted to be a doctor turned out to be my very favorite things about being a doctor. Different people want to be a physician for different reasons. I had several. From mysteries to socializing, my favorite activities are also part of being a physician.
Welcome to the I Want to Be a Doctor podcast where insider information about what it takes to become a physician is available for anyone. I'm Dr. Robin Dickinson, a board-certified family physician and I will give honest answers to your questions. Today's question is from a 5th grader who asks Why Did You Want to Be a Doctor?
You know what's great? The reasons I wanted to be a doctor turned out to be my very favorite things about being a doctor.
Different people want to be a doctor for different reasons. I had several.
I have always loved science, especially biology. A career in medicine let me spend many years learning as much as I possibly could about human biology. That also helped me understand the rest of biology better
I have always loved mysteries. As I grew up, I moved from Boxcar Children and Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden then Patricia Wentworth and Catherine Aird. Being a doctor means solving many mysteries every day. I collect clues, investigate leads, come up with some suspects, and usually, eventually figure it out. Medicine is never boring because humans are never predictable.
I like socializing. I enjoy getting to know people and hearing about the little details of their lives. I love hosting people in my home and helping them feel welcome. Being a doctor involves a lot of social time. A physician is a host, inviting their patients into the office and helping them feel welcome and comfortable. Being able to chat with people and learn details about their lives makes me a better doctor because people trust me and because I'm able to collect more clues about what's going on.
I like giving advice. I'm the oldest of a large family and have spent my entire life listening to problems and offering empathy and ideas. My siblings are tired of it but my patients are eager to hear my ideas. That's literally why they are coming to see me.
I enjoy coming up with new ideas and being able to carry them out, often with other people eagerly joining in. Being a doctor, I was able to open a new type of medical practice and start a free clinic.
I am passionate about advocating for families like mine. Between my family of origin and my own family, we've had many experiences that have taught me about poverty, disabilities, and other topics that make people uncomfortable. We should listen to everyone about their experiences but the sad truth is there will always be people who judge and dismiss others. As a physician, I'm somewhat protected from that and can often reach people who might otherwise not hear the important messages.
I love learning new things. Being a doctor means having to always be learning. Science is changing so quickly that I'm always studying and looking up information and trying to figure out more.
There are so many reasons to be a doctor.
But let me give you a couple of reasons that aren't good reasons. Don't be a doctor for the prestige. A good doctor is a servant-leader. If you go into your work with an attitude, you won't provide good care, which is the real reason you're there. Who you are as a person is more important than your profession. I rarely tell people that I'm a physician outside of work. They respect me because of how I treat them. I am confident and respectful of them so they respect me.
Don't be a doctor for the money. You spend so much to become a doctor and lose so many working years in training, you'd do just fine in many other professions. Yes, there are some very wealthy doctors. Many of them have given up everything else in pursuit of a career. Even though you can earn a lot of money once you're done training, there have been various people who have done the math to show that an average doctor would have done better financially in their lifetime as a teacher or a plumber or other profession. Because people with those jobs can start working much sooner and don't have as much debt from student loans. And those jobs have better schedules.
In summary, there are many wonderful reasons to become a physician. It's a fun and rewarding career for the right person and it makes a huge difference for the world.
That's it for today. Subscribe, share with your friends and mentors; and remember to live the life that is right for you with your personality interests and values.
Please send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's podcast at d-o-c Robin like the bird school dot com.
Show notes are available on the podcast website linked below.
This episode was sponsored by Dr. Robin's School, the first pre-medical curriculum for kids, and recorded in beautiful, downtown Englewood, Colorado.