Being a doctor is wonderful. Let me say it again – WONDERFUL. The reason why it takes so long to be a physician, why you have years of training, and intense of board exams – because it is important. The responsibility is huge. And it should be.
I often get asked why I became a physician over other fields in healthcare with a shorter training path. And the reason: it was my dream. I truly believe that nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and physician assistants are very (very) important players in our healthcare system. It is may be the exact right job for you, but it wasn’t for me. I love the autonomy, I love being in charge, I love making the decision, I love being the expert, I love understanding the physiology, I love not looking it up or consulting a resource (or a friend) but just knowing the answer. I love the responsibility. I take pride in what I do. I find the trust to be empowering, and I love being the person patients turn to. Certainly, some other fields sacrifice autonomy for liability or flexibility. And depending on your priorities – that may be PERFECT for you. But for me, being a physician was the exact right choice.
Truthfully, it isn’t easy. The road to becoming a physician is hard. There are moments along the way that I questioned my decision, even though there is nothing else I have ever wanted to do. There are times I have put the people I love, the people who love and support me, on the back burner so I could take care of strangers. And I did it happily and on weekends and on holidays and during birthday parties, and weddings, and baby showers. I have missed things. I still miss things. But I have gained so much. The price to becoming a physician is high, but the reward is endless. The sacrifice is real, but the responsibility deserves it.