Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Episode 24: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I know, I know...

You could argue, rightly, that I already went. But hey, I'm back, and glad to be here. No drama, no amnesia, no fugue state in which I woke up months later washing dishes in a diner in New Mexico, no kidnappings or secret missions. Just a lot of living, and then, towards the end, some technical difficulties.

But I'm back, and here is Episode 24. And here is the link to the article from the NYT that I talk about therein.

Keep in touch. I'll do the same.


moof said...

Here are some reasons to be a doctor:

1) You can study fascinating things, but unlike basic academia, you are
a) not begging for funding constantly
b) not stuck at a university, where universities are (at least in Aus) going down the drain rapidly.
c) Thanked and appreciated. Your "audience" if you will isn't cutthroat peers, but the public, whom you form a personal relationship with.

2) It's an art. Be a doctor for the refined history-steeped tradition of medicine. And for the beauty of the human body.

3) You can work wherever you want and live wherever you want.

4) You are always in demand.

5) How can you not? You have been given a gift of all these skills. It's almost a crime not to use them.

6) You don't have to stare at a computer screeen the entire day but you still use your head.

That's just for starters

Dashing, M.D. said...

Hey Moof --

Good reasons, every one. There's no question that medicine is a rewarding career, with a huge potential to help people and be appreciated for the work you do. There is certainly a lot more of that sensation in clinical medicine than in academic research, which is where I am at the moment.

But you could make another list about reasons not to be a doctor, and it could be compelling to:

1) You would get to see your family and friends more than one day a week.

2) You wouldn't live with the knowledge that any mistake could ruin both your life and a patient's.

3) You could be promoted based on your abilities, rather than time served.

4) You could have occasion to meet strangers who aren't persistently having the worst day of their lives.

5) You could devote time to fixing the problem of healthcare if you didn't have to spend so much time living the problem of health care.

Like I said in the podcast, I think your list is going to win this fight, but I also think waking up thirty years from now and wondering why I never bothered to get off the train and have a look around the station would be a sad thing.

Thanks so much for your note! Lots to discuss in future podcasts.

Be well,

D, M.D.

Dr. A said...

Just listened to #24. Interesting thoughts about moving "beyond" day-to-day clinical medicine.

I myself have thought about moving into "bigger picture" areas like public health or health administration. Definitely agree with you about having an impact on a group of patients verses one. Will be interested in learning more about your journey.