It used to be prestigious to go to medical school. Doctors were almost guaranteed a good income and community respect. Today, it’s a different story.
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The Daily Beast tells us that about 300 physicians commit suicide every year. Although we have no way of knowing the circumstances in any individual case, it’s true that physicians’ unhappiness level in general appears to be on the rise.
Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t
Preventive healthcare is all the rage right now, and that is likely a good thing. Better that people first take care of their health via lifestyle; for example, getting exercise and eating healthy foods. The next step in preventive healthcare is getting screening tests, such as mammograms, to detect disease early enough to save the life of the patient. And this is where it gets complicated.
Some continue to recommend that women age 40 and older get mammograms every year as part of their regular, preventive care. Others say annual mammograms are not necessary until a woman is 50 years of age. And still others say women over 50 years of age can get one every other year. Other preventive tests have similarly conflicting guidelines.
Science is not the only force driving these arguments, money is a huge factor in preventive care arguments. And doctors get stuck in the middle. If they are not getting faulted for ordering “unnecessary” tests, they are getting sued by somebody who would have benefited from an expensive diagnostic test not ordered.
They’re Not as Rich as You Might Think
General practitioners can make up to $170,000 a year. Sounds like a lot, right? The issue is that they might not get to keep as much of that 170k as you might think. As many physicians have pointed out, overhead for running a practice is steep, and educational expenses can run well over $100,000 — money that doctors subsidized with loans, and must pay back once their education is complete.
The bottom line is that doctors currently find themselves between a rock and a hard place, and their jobs no longer feel as meaningful to so many physicians.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think becoming a doctor is still worth it? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.