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A career filled with prestige, dignity, and status; all these are adjectives that one normally thinks of when they envision a career in Medicine. Most wish to be able to help patients recover from an ailment or find a cure for an incurable disease and in reality, this can happen in hospitals on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more rare in the US Health System as physicians are no longer able to spend time with patients. With all the paperwork and the bureaucratic hurdles that an average doctor now has to deal with in a hospital, it is no wonder why there is a growing number of physicians who hate their profession. I will present you the top 3 reasons why to avoid getting into Medicine to save yourself from the stress and negativity associated with this profession.
Number 1: Horrible Schedules
Hopefully this is not a shock to anyone but if you will pursue a career in Medicine, you will work hard. The hours for a resident are some of the longest and hardest hours you will work in your life and even if you have read the legislation passed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) stating that a resident's work will be be capped at 80 hours per week with a maximum of 16 "consecutive" hours for a 1st year resident, I promise you this is a lie. Most residents will consistently work around 100 hours per week and it is not a violation of this legislation because Residency Boards may just not report your 20 additional hours. The most frustrating component about this start is the fact that you often find yourself working in VA hospitals or other large university hospitals with a team of other lowly residents and must make decisions without access to an attending physician. At times, a young doctor may literally feel like "pond scum" (a phrase my attending loves to use much to our chagrin) where they are constantly getting yelled at by senior residents, attending physicians, patients, nurses, and hospital administrators just to name a few.
What adds insult to injury is the fact that not only are the hours atrocious, but the financial compensation that you are forced to endure during this period makes you question everything. With the average salary of $53,000 for a first year resident, it is just a drop in the bucket when you consider the debt of $250,000 dangling over your head. Fear not, because as you progress up the ladder towards your specialization, you can command a sizable pay raise of a few thousand extra will earn around $57,000 by the fourth year. Considering most of my fellow colleagues are around 30 years old with small children by this time, there is a lot of stress associated with this period. The salaries do not compensate for the work logged and you will be a stranger to your family for at least four years just trying to survive on the scraps you are offered.