Would you go into medicine again if you had the choice?

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    I posted this message on the pre-med message board and got no response. Maybe I’ll have better luck here. I’m currently a pre-med, and would like to marry someday and have children. I am trying to decide if medicine is the right career for me, so I was wondering if any current medical students, residents, or doctors could express their opinions about their careers and especially how they feel about trying to raise a family at the same time. Also, if you had the choice to go back, would you choose medicine again? Thanks!


    Moving to physicians forum since they’ll be in a better position to answer this.


    Honestly, I have met very few doctors who would do this again. There are some but they are few and far between. Personally I would have to answer an emphatic…..NO WAY!!!! I was given some advise when I was younger. I young appearing doctor told me outright not to go into medicine. He said I would not be happy. Unfortunately, I did not listen to him. I did not know him personally and just thought he must be having some problems and a bad attitude.

    Everyone’s experience is different, though. I personally moved to a place that I absolutely hate for my residency. It is complicated but I still have not been able to get out of this :censored: hole.

    My advise would be that if you cannot even fathom doing anything else, then go into medicine. However, if there is something else you enjoy and are good at find some way to make that profitable.

    Good Luck,


    Thanks for your honesty. I think that MomMD would do a great disservice to our members by painting an overly optimistic view of medicine. Keep those negative thoughts coming as this is TRULY important. We need those as much as we need the you can do it attitude. Some may not listen, but some will and be saved years of heartache.

    Sethina :scratchchin:


    The same question has been heavily discussed on a different website
    (under Graduate medical Forums/ general residency issues)
    About 75% of the people voting in the poll WOULD do all over again.
    And as for me, yes, I would go to medical school again, I cannot imagine a more rewarding profession 🙂


    Thank you “no_way” for that response. Are there any others out there that feel the same way? I’m also thinking about going into medicine but am not sure how it would affect my future kids. Please, if there are any other people with something to say about this topic, please post!!


    I would absolutely do it again, however I still thinkg that Board part 1 (now USMLE Step 1) have very little to do with real life and should be eliminated or revamped. It would also be much easier now that I ‘know the ropes’–> I went into medical school/residency knowing nothing about what it entailed. I have some friend who are NOT happy though. If you are in it for the $$, don’t bother. If you are in it for the glamour and prestige, give up now. If you want a challenging profession where you are called on to use all the resources avaiable to you, and actually have a chance to (yes I’m going to say it) ‘help other people’ Medicine as a good choice (although not the only one).
    As for kids and being an MD I have 3 (1,6 and 8) and a loving husband– and we are manging just fine!
    While it is possible, it is a large investiment of time and $$$$ (forget about saving for the kids college–I still need to pay off my student loans).
    Talk to as many MD’s as you can and find out what it is really like–there are many paths to choose even within the field of Medicine–MD or not!


    First, I apologize for posting on the Physicians’ forum (I know that those of us who are not MDs were asked not to post here), but I am currently trying to talk myself out of doing medicine, and this seems like the best place for that. So, please, keep those “negatives” coming if you feel that way. I am especially interested in- if you can articulate them- what the reasons are that you would not do this again if you had the choice. What do you find most unsatisfying and not-worth-it about your profession?

    Thanks much,


    Ugh..perhaps Sethina will have to revisit the idea of having an “ask the physicians’ section and a private forum for the docs….I can respect their need for privacy, but want to add my own question to this thread…I hope you’ll all forgive me.

    The physicians that I’ve spoken with told me that one of the main reason that they (yes, THEY) are unhappy and wouldn’t do it again is that there is such a discrepancy between the study of medicine and the practice of medicine. I have heard comments that they don’t have time to really get to know their patients, the patients all blur together, the study of medicine is fascinating, but working 10 hours a day in a peds clinic (example) becomes boring.

    I’m curious as to how accurate those of you who are practicing would say that these statements are. I have spoken now with more than 20 docs about the practice of medicine (both male and female) and only 1 person was happy with the choice…..Three doctors in the practice where my husband is at have applied now to leave and go and do fellowships because they are ‘bored’ and one left this past year to do the same. :boggled:

    For awhile I thought that the docs that I was talking to just…made the wrong choice for themselves or were being negative…but after meeting so many, I’ve begun to wonder…..

    I would love to read more feedback about this….I’m interested in the positive side of things too 😉



    Maybe Sethina can create an ask the physician forum that also allows anonymous posting- that way the physicians will have a board for physician support, and a seperate board to answer questions from non-doctors!


    If you are in it for the $$, don’t bother. If you are in it for the glamour and prestige, give up now. If you want a challenging profession where you are called on to use all the resources available to you, and actually have a chance to (yes I’m going to say it) ‘help other people’ Medicine as a good choice (although not the only one).

    I am in my last 2 yrs of working toward my Bachelor’s. I do want to become a doctor for the challenge and helping people.
    However, I do want to make enough money so that my hubby can stay home with our boys.
    This would allow me to pursue my career without guilt plus the idea of freeing up his schedule so that he can be there for us anytime we need him is an indulgent dream in itself. He’s supported me all these years and has foregone golf for many many weekends so that he could work overtime if needed or I needed him home to help and I’ve heard no complaints. I’d like to give him an early retirement. (He’ll be 51 when I get out of residency if all goes as planned.)
    We don’t want an expensive house or expensive cars or to be on anyone’s social registry. We just want to be comfortable and not have to struggle to pay the bills.
    I think I’m being realistic. Any input from the established physicians out there?


    OK. Hate to do this, but I’m moving this to the General Discussion forum…. this thread is not allowing physician-related topics to come to the top of the forums. I want the physicians to feel that this is their forum! I’m trying to think of a solution…. sorry!



    I’ve been in practice for 8 years after residency and fellowship, and now I’m not so sure I would do it over. The rewards, both financial and personal, are questionable. I never went into it for the money, so that’s no big deal, but with malpractice insurance premiums skyrocketing and medicare reimbursements declining, it is almost not worth it to go to the office any more. Patients are also more demanding, more litigious, than ever before. It is not unusual to get paged after hours by a patient who has a question or needs an Rx refill, simply because it wasn’t convenient for them to call during office hours. I did things the traditional way, and I don’t think I would have the energy to stick this if I were older. I figure on being completely burned out by age 50, and will retire and switch careers unless things get better. Just another opinion!


    If you are “trying to talk myself out of medicine” than don’t do it. Period. Your doubts will only come back to haunt you again and again. As has been pointed out, medicine is not one of those careers you can undertake without being completely committed to it.

    I have come to the conclusion that I would do this all again even though I have suffered some burn out over the last year. I have come to resent medicine for “taking” so much from me. For instance, I am just now having my first child in my mid 30’s and want to have 1 to 2 more. My age makes that endeaver a bit riskier. I want to stay home with my children but feel immense guilt about leaving my patients and the practice I have worked hard to build over the last three years. The work is incredibly demanding (but NOT boring!) and the patients can be surprising difficult (which is the one aspect I do not like about primary care medicne).

    The question of whether to pursue this requires further research. Look into Physician Assistants programs. I feel that is an excellent option for women who want a career and children. You can certainly do part time work without the hassles that doctors face. You don’t make as much money, true, but you invest a lot less in your education too. I could have been making $50K to $65K right out of school (at age 23 or so) rather than $32K in residency at age 27 to 30. I’ve often wondered why more premeds don’t consider this field (especially women who want families).

    Hope this helps!


    I hope the regulars on this website aren’t getting tired of my doggin’ this profession…

    I’m a board-certified internist who has left clinical practice and have never been happier. I wouldn’t :no: do it again.

    To be perfectly honest, I personally found it unfulfilling, unexciting, dull and unrewarding. I went to medical school, completed my residency, then practiced only to wonder, “THIS is what I’ve been working towards? Where’s the good stuff?” I honestly didn’t feel that I was making that much of an impact on people’s lives. Perhaps if I had an inclination to have a rural practice, then maybe I’d get to the heart of what practicing medicine is all about, but in this day and age of managed care, 10-minute patient visits, paperwork up the :censored: , malpractice, little opportunity to treat beyond the physical symptoms, etc, I just didn’t find my niche.

    Don’t get me wrong…I know lots of doctors who love what they do; I’m just not one of them. I dreaded going to work every day when I practiced medicine, and that’s no way to live. Just remember, life is daily. In any profession/career, you have to love that day-to-day stuff. At the end of the day, you have to love that grind, the difficult patients, the charting, the sometimes tricky doctor-staff relationships, the journal reading, the beeper, your answering service, practically EVERYTHING, or else IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

    Live and learn. Now, I’m doing something I absolutely adore.

    Best of luck to you!

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