“Markarismenos apousia fovia or notata absentia phobia is the fear of being marked absent.(In the lecture)” ― Khosla N
The history of medicine and studying how to use it goes back to ancient Egyptian times; more specifically, it dates back to around 3000 BC. In this time, doctors and medical practitioners worked according to a medical conditions journal they had drawn up in about 2600 BC. But that was ancient medicine, and it is believed that a lot of superstition was involved. Thanks to Hippocrates, a lot has changed since then, and we now know that illnesses are not caused by ‘bad smells’, witchcraft, or divine punishments for our sins. Instead, we now know that they are related to genetics, germs and our lifestyle choices. Emerging as the “father of modern medicine”, Hippocrates turned the world’s understanding of medicine and medical studies around. The version of medicine and associated studies we know today started to take hold shortly after the industrial revolution in the 18th Century.
After the industrial revolution, studying medicine became more accessible to the average person and becoming a medical practitioner became a viable career choice. While medical studies are easily accessible, deciding whether to study medicine can be a tough choice for those considering their various career prospects. As medical studies are quite a financial and time-consuming commitment, it’s best to consider all the pros and cons before taking the plunge.
Pros of Studying Medicine
Studying medicine means you get to save lives
A vast majority of the population end up in jobs and careers that they don’t like or care about because they don’t feel like they make a difference in the world. Becoming a medical professional is quite different from the average career choice. Studying medicine puts you in a position where you can make a difference in the world. You can save lives, heal people, help people feel better and even assist people through complicated recoveries. This is sure to be a highly rewarding career choice if saving lives and helping people is important to you. According to Business News Daily, many doctors mention that connecting with people and helping them is something they love about their jobs. If you are an individual who needs purpose and wants to positively impact the world around them, studying medicine is a fine choice.
Qualified medical professionals earn a decent salary
It takes many years to become a doctor, and the road to a medical degree is often difficult. However, if you stick with this career choice, you can expect your hard work to be rewarded with an appropriate salary. It’s no secret that medical professionals earn more than the average worker. How much you will earn, exactly, depends on what type of medicine you focus on and your actual position. For instance, according to Advisory, the average primary care physician in the US earns an average of $243,000 per year. Specialists make, on average, $346,000 per year. On the other hand, physiotherapists earn (according to Salary Explorer) on average $176,000 per annum.
Job satisfaction among medical practitioners is higher than average
Job satisfaction is often considered a luxury for many and, as a result, isn’t always a determining factor when it comes to career choice. There’s a common understanding among people that bills have to be paid, and so job satisfaction often takes a back seat in their lives. When studying medicine, you may wonder what sort of job satisfaction you will have in the end.
In a survey carried out by Medscape that involved 15,000 medical practitioners, 12% reported being “extremely happy” while 40% reported being “very happy”. Of course, job satisfaction and happiness will vary depending on your personality and the medical profession you choose to specialize in.
Studying medicine connects you with your industry peers early on
When studying medicine, students spend a great deal of time in the classroom and with fellow students studying the same courses. Because medical courses are typically long, demanding, and involved, medical students often form formidable bonds. In an article released by the Oxford Royale Academy, several things were revealed about life as a medical student. One of the points touched on was that medical students make some of the best friends of their lives while studying medicine. Many medical students studying together end up working in related fields and may even refer patients to each other in the future.
Qualified doctors can find employment anywhere in the world
It must be noted that studying medicine ensures guaranteed employment. Qualified doctors and medical practitioners have various options to choose from. They can run their own businesses, work for a local hospital or medical practice, or even move to another country searching for work. And because of the demand for skilled and qualified doctors, many medical students find it easy to head abroad.
Cons of Studying Medicine
The course content is hard and demands attention
Any medical student will tell you that they are expected to put in more time and effort than other average students. Studying is more a full-time job than a part-time thing when studying medicine. There are classes to attend, practicals to complete and study sessions to participate in. Then you need to spend time reading over your notes, writing essays and ensuring you understand the course content. When it comes to studying for exams, you will need to put a lot of extra work into revision because the passing grade on medical exams is relatively high.
It takes several years to achieve a qualification
It is safe to say that studying medicine is a long-term thing. You have to study for many years to achieve your qualification. After you finish medical school, you will need to put in quite a few hours of “community service” to get hands-on experience while still under the supervision of professionals with many years of experience under their belts. How many years you set aside to study medicine will depend on which field of medicine you decide to go in. For instance, according to the NHS, it takes a GP around ten years to study and train, whereas it takes a surgeon 14 years. Below is a look at a few different types of medical professionals you can study for and how many years it takes to get qualified in each field:
Cardiologists must do four years of medical school before completing their compulsory three years of internal medicine training. According to Study.com, once a cardiologist has completed his/her internal medicine training, they must complete a further three years of compulsory specialized training.
To become a neurologist, students must acquire a bachelor’s degree and study at medical school. This typically takes four years to complete. After that, the neurologist in training must do a 3 to 7-year internship and residency.
Studying medicine to become an anesthetist can take as long as 15 years. To get started, a student must complete five years of undergraduate medical training. This is followed by foundation training which takes a further two years. When the second year of foundation training is underway, students begin applying for postgraduate training. The direct route is via core training which usually takes seven years. There is an indirect route that takes eight years but includes ACCS program training (Acute Care Common Stem) which can propel the anesthetist’s career.
To become a pathologist, you will need to study for around 12 years. To get started, you need to enroll in and complete a 5-year degree in medicine. This must be followed up with a 2-year general training foundation course and a 5-year specialist pathology program.
Once qualified, it can cost a lot to get licensed and setup
Once all the expenses and time of studying are over, medical students have to take the next step of getting licensed and set up to operate a medical business. Medical students may find that they are already in debt after completing their medical studies. To set up a professional business, a medical student will have to consider many things such as business premises (which can cost around $2,500 at least), client acquisition, hiring employees (supporting staff), vendors, insurance, advertising and marketing, and so much more. According to Doctorly, it costs between $70,000 and $100,000 to set up a medical practice. If you are already drowning in medical student debt, this could be a daunting prospect.
Your social life will go to rack and ruin while studying medicine
Unlike other students, medical students don’t tend to have enough free time to have a social life. You can expect to see less of your family and friends for the duration of your studies. Instead of parties, hangouts, and relaxing weekends, medical students study, attend lectures and do assignments. As such, they often form social groups within the medical profession and within their existing study groups. While this can provide some sort of social satisfaction, it’s never quite the same as spending time with your regular friends and contacts. Medical students may feel as if they have lost touch with those they care about and potentially miss out on what life has to offer.
If you don’t have a passion for it, studying medicine will be gruelling
Everyone knows that you have to have a passion for something to make the very most of it. While not many people get to choose jobs they are passionate about, it’s necessary to go into medicine with a real passion. The courses related to medical studies are long, in-depth, and require a student to be 100% committed to studying. Students spend many hours “hitting the books” and making sure that they are ready for tests, exams, and assessments. There is nothing easy about studying medicine, and students are better off if they realize this before they sign up for medical school. In many places, the studies are also expensive, meaning that if you decide to drop out of a course halfway through, you will have wasted a considerable amount of money.
Average students in other courses and career paths typically aim for the pass mark when writing tests and exams. The average pass mark for a medical exam or test is understandably far higher. The statistics show that 60% of students who drop out of medical school do so in the first year of study, while 16% drop out in the third year.
High stress and anxiety levels
When studying medicine, you will be required to work community hours in hospitals, practices, surgeries, and so on. Once you are qualified, you will start handling your own set of clients. At both stages of the process, medical students face high-stress scenarios, and as a result, make connections with patients. This can impose additional stress and anxiety on the student who may develop emotional attachments to patients. Studying medicine and working in the field is not as simple and easy-going as working in another job type.