Just run a Google search on the shortage of doctors followed by the name of any random country in the world and almost every time, you will find millions of search results. The situation may be worrying in the United States, but the US is hardly alone in this regard. There is a dire shortage of physicians globally, cutting across geographies and education systems.
Those who are planning to study medicine are unquestionably contemplating a pretty safe career choice. As lifespans and populations grow, the demand for doctors is, if anything, only going to increase in the years to come. Under the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that student enrolment to medical institutions in the US is on the rise.
Nevertheless, if you are one of those thousands of youngsters harbouring dreams of becoming a doctor, here are a few things that you need to prepare for before you get into campus.
Financial planning is very possibly the last thing on your mind, as you contemplate a career in medicine. However, you would do well to work out in advance what you will need to pay monthly to service your education loan and how you will repay them.
It is good to be optimistic, but better to be realistic. The undeniable reality is that student loan defaults are threatening to become a national crisis. Smart financial planning can help you avoid ending up in the ranks of those defaulters. This year has proved that financial planning is a necessary part of our lives, as it makes us much better prepared for the variety of situations which can go wrong. When the entire year goes wrong, it is better to have a perfect understanding of your financial state, some extra money and the vision of how you will spend them in the nearest months. There is no guarantee that even if you feel that your state is stable now, it will remain the same in a week or a month.
Any university course is demanding and medicine even more than most. Apart from lectures and practicals, there are essays to be completed and tons of notes to pore over. Somewhere along the line, there will almost certainly be a component of research, starting with writing a research proposal.
If that sounds complicated, worry not, there are plenty of resources like an essay writing service with experienced academic writers and other professional help that you can always count on online. It is admittedly challenging, but any field of endeavour brings its share of challenges and medicine is no exception. It would be fair to say that medicine brings more endeavours not because it is much more difficult to study, but because it comes with a huge responsibility. No matter which field you choose, you have to know what you are doing. If you are bad in sales, you just get fired, or don’t get a bonus, if you are bad in medicine, it can be fatal. Also, medicine is a very challenging combination of old and new. You cannot count solely on what you have learnt, you need to continue studying all the time, researching and analyzing close to extreme amounts of data.
Unlike other courses, the four years at medical school is just a part of your studies. There follows a period of three to seven years of training as a resident, depending on the area of specialisation). That means you will still have a long road ahead of you, even as peers who started off with you started their careers. It’s true that doctors in the United States are well paid, but it would be equally fair to say that it is but their reward for several years of hard work and countless sacrifices.
Another aspect of life as a resident doctor that you need to be aware of is the long hours of work that’s an inescapable part of your job. Here too, American doctors are hardly alone. The situation is pretty much the same across the world. Unfortunately, being a good doctor in high demand means no 9-6 working hours till the end of your career. There are positions which may come with such perks, but they are either administrative or rather primitive.
While at university, you are going to be constantly juggling between activities: lectures, assignments, studies and – possibly – even work during your spare time. Managing so many things at one time is not possible unless you have a well organised approach. If organisation is not one of your skills, you will soon need to learn it. Start with small things, don’t think that you will turn into an organized person not prone to procrastination in one night, it is impossible.