Taylor, a high school student thinking about medical school, asked some questions on my It’s All An Act post about six weeks ago. I had been saving these because I wanted to think about them for a bit.
How did you choose your specialty?
I chose family medicine so that I would not get bored. I get to see patients diaper to diaper and everything in between. In truth, I had it narrowed down to surgery, psychiatry, and family medicine. Surgery was a lifestyle I was not sure I could cope with in the end, despite how much I loved it. Psychiatry… that deserves its own post, but after doing a few extra rotations I was disheartened by what I saw. That left family medicine. I still think I picked the right one, despite my grumblings about the various frustrations of primary care.
If you had the chance to change anything about your career, what would it be?
The EHR. I will rant more about this later. I don’t understand why we cannot have a simple, straightforward system that is intuitive. This is 2016, for crying out loud. We put man on the moon decades ago! This is not rocket science.
Is medicine worth the 20 years of education/sacrifice in your twenties?
Yes. I have a placard that hangs over the door in my office, so I can see it every time I step out to see a patient. “One shoe can change your life. -Cinderella” That may seem cheesy and trite but I have done more, see more, accomplished more than I ever thought possible. Medicine is my shoe. It is an honor and privilege to get to practice medicine every day.
Do you have any advice for aspiring physicians?
There is no substitute for hard work. This sounds simplistic but there it is. You have to be smart, sure, but without hard work, smart is meaningless.