If you are reading this article, you are not just now coming to the conclusion that you want to be a doctor. It has become more than a nagging thought and has settled into your mind as the thing you want to do. You have lofty dreams of saving patients and giving good news to families and possibly images of on-call room romances depending on which medical dramas you like to watch between studying for the MCAT. Before you start trying on white coats, let’s examine four things that you may want to consider before becoming a doctor.
1. Initial Investment:
Doctors are often portrayed as high-rollers. However, many of them do not begin their journey’s this way. After the hundreds of dollars spent during the application process for application fees, standardized tests, test prep, etc., one would think that getting accepted into a school would mean smooth sailing. Then comes the issue of tuition, books, supplies, and of course living expenses. (You still have to eat!) While ambitious, it is not always feasible to get a job while in medical school. Therefore, unless you have a rich relative that is willing to sponsor you, you are going to need some financial assistance. Grants and loans are the most popular ways that medical students find a way to make it as they help cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses, but be wary of piling up too much. If you’re still in high school, be sure to go to an affordable undergrad school and research well on what they can offer you.
2. Graduation Does Not Mean the End
So you’ve finally graduated! Congratulations! You made it out with a lot of medical knowledge and a major part of your sanity. You are an MD now. You can get right out there and start practicing, right? Not yet, speedy. It is internship time!!! All Doctors must spend at least one year in some form of internship. Then after that is your residency. If you are looking to specialize there is even more education to gain. No worries though, you are getting paid. You probably took out plenty of student loans, and while with your future salary, they might seem easy to pay off, remember that you probably have interest rates to pay off. You might ask why you have to pay so much in interest, but it is the unfortunate cost of taking out a loan, It’s what it costs to borrow, and since you did borrow a lot, you’re going to have to pay that and more. The best ways to handle this is to pay as much into your student loans as you possibly can, even if you are still in your internship and residency.
3. Insurance, Insurance, Insurance
One word that is immediately going to become a part of your vocabulary is insurance. Insurance covers most of your paycheck. Unfortunately, insurance for doctors takes a part as well. Every physician has to have insurance for doctors. In addition to actual medical insurance, malpractice insurance is also a requirement. This type of insurance for doctors is what comes into effect if the doctor makes a mistake serious enough to warrant a lawsuit from either the patient or the family of that patient.
4. Emotional Costs
While being a doctor may seem glamorous on television, it is wrought with stress. You literally have the health of a sick person in your hands. If they come to you, there is a level of trust that has been placed on you. That is a lot of pressure. Confronting a family to tell them that their relative is either in critical condition or worse has passed away is not only a lot of pressure, but it can be even more emotionally taxing.
Becoming a doctor is not without its perks, you get to help people who are at their worst and ideally usher them back to a healthier version of themselves. The money is not bad either. Nevertheless, there are a few cons: Initial investments, post-graduate education, insurance for doctors, and emotional costs. It is important to weight all of the costs (including where you go for undergrad) against the benefits of any major decision especially one like this.