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Number 2: Increased Risk of Suicide
Although this is generally viewed as a taboo to talk about in society, it is something that you must be aware of when you are considering a profession in this field. The working conditions are miserable, the hours are unbelievable, and there is an overwhelming pressure that erodes your psyche when you have to deal with patients day in and day out. You will not understand the shocking realization of how close some of these patients are to dying and how much power you possess to determine their fate. One bad decision can be the difference between their life and death and it can be emotionally draining after years of work.
Even if depression and suicides are prevalent throughout many professions in society, physicians often find themselves at the upper echelon every year. On average, 12% of males and 19.5% of females suffer from depressive symptoms in the general population. When looking at the medical student population, numbers in these field can peak over 30%.What more, this trend continues in multiple nations around Europe, Asia, and South America so the teaching style cannot be the only reason these students feel depressed. You surround any form of social life you may have had before your studies and constantly have to deal with the competitiveness of Medicine. Tests, exams, rotations: all can make a big difference in where you end up finding work and it can be a draining task to deal with for anyone.
As you continue in your journey in Medicine, the risk for committing suicide in women is 250% greater than the average for the general population while the male physicians have a 70% increase. When you see statistics like this, the first thing that should pop into your head is if this profession is worth your health?
Number 3: So Much Paperwork
This is one of the most disappointing things about getting into Medicine and something I didn't fully appreciate while in Medical School. In reality, doctors do not get to see patients, there are just not enough hours in the day. With a simple admission for a complicated UTI, a physician has to write an Admissions Note, Consultation Orders, Update Patients Notes, Order Imaging Studies and Labs, and Request Past Files From Other Hospital Visits after spending 15 minutes interviewing a patient (if that). Doctors are anchored to their computers during most of the day because of the bureaucracy associated with this profession. If you are thinking logically, you may have naturally come to the conclusion that the doctors could have someone else write their notes or have a nurse assist on some of the paperwork but in reality, this is a big "no-no" in the hospital. Doctors are responsible for electronically signing all the paperwork that they complete during their rounds and hospital administrators will ensure that a physician knows his obligations on a daily basis. I have heard from some of my friends in different Residency programs where an administrator can threaten you will written warnings, fines, and even expulsion from the Residency Program if all patient notes are not completed within 24 hours.
On the surface, this is a very reasonable request. A patient should be visited multiple times a day and his note should be updated continuously to document any changes in his condition. This is where the logical thinking of a hospital administrator will lead to but in reality, nothing is as it seems. If a resident had to oversee 4 patients, that would be very easy to login to a computer and type out a note in 20 minutes but now consider that most residents carry patient loads of 15-40 patients throughout the day. Without any complications, that can already by 6-8 hours of just writing patient notes out to meet their obligations. As we travel further into reality, now add some of the complications that are bound to happen during the day at a hospital so a few "coding" episodes where you have to spend an hour trying to resuscitate a patient each followed by battles with a nursing home refusing to take home a patient and even a few arguments with the nursing staff or pharmacists about messing up your orders and you begin to realize that 12-13 hours have already burned by. Even if a doctor is able to spend 4 hours with patients daily, he will already be topping around 16-17 hours without even considering his commute to and from the hospital and times to "sleep" and "eat." It should be absolutely obvious to you by now that this system is broken and will extinguish any joy that you may have in making a patient feel better.
Don't get me wrong, there are times where the blood, sweat, and tears is all worth it and you feel pure joy that you chose this field but it is a path not for the faint of heart. You battle your entire career with administration, patients, and we haven't even covered those lawyers out their waiting for the next malpractice case but don't forget them. If you read all this and still feel that Medicine is right for you, then welcome to the field and good luck on your journey but if you are uncertain, realize that there is nothing easy about this line of work.