I'm Glad I'm A Doctor


I made the statement that “I’m glad I’m a doctor” in one of my posts, but when I went back to link to the story behind the statement, I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I pulled up the story from the archives and have posted it below. Still holds true today.

When I was a student, one of the attendings on my ICU rotation told me a story that I still have not forgotten.

When I was in your position, I thought it was cool to be a doctor because you got to have a pager. Everyone wanted you. You were the “go to” guy. If someone needed help, they called you. Then I wore a pager for a couple of days and found out that being wanted 24 hours a day wasn’t very much fun. In fact it caused me so much stress that I didn’t want the pager any more. But by then, it was too late.

As I went through my training, I thought it was cool to be a doctor because you’d make lots of money. I’d be rich and could retire at the age of 40. That idea came to an end rather quickly. I got a hard lesson in economics. College loans. Medical school loans. Malpractice insurance. Lawsuits. Taxes. Licensing fees. You make more money because you work more hours. Sure, your paycheck is larger, but your expenses are unbelievable. There are a lot of easier ways to become wealthy.

Now that I have settled into practice and I have my nice little house with a picket fence, I know the real reason I’m glad I became a doctor. Helping people is great. Making money is good, too. But being able to protect yourself and your family in a medical crisis – that is something that no one from any other profession can do for you.


  1. Beyond the money, which all professionals have to acknowledge is significantly higher than the average American, there is a real security in knowing you can handle something for yourself and your family that most others can’t. Just the knowledge base as a whole, and knowing you can figure out the problem even if you don’t immediately know the specific answer, gives you some peace in the face of adversity.

  2. Matt,

    I was talking to a pediatrician and they work on average 50 hours a week. Then there was the surgeon I was asking when is a good time to get back to you, he said anytime since he is always on call. Of course doctors aren’t alone in that, a neighbor kid became an engineer and he said something like he worked 40 hours in 2 days. Those wonderful weekly hour long dramas often mean the actors are working upto 20 hours a day 5 days a week. I used to have a job where I carried a pager off hours, but due to corporate reorganization I’m in a lessor job that doesn’t do that. Which I’m thankful for now since my health has declined dramatically and without this easy job, I’d be on disability.

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