Not everyone has what it takes to pursue a career in medicine, and some people question whether the demanding training makes a career in medicine worth it. If you’re questioning whether a career in medicine is right for you, it’s helpful to learn how practicing physicians came to the decision to pursue a career in medicine.
Dr. Laurenie Louissaint, a 2019 Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate, remembers the day when she knew she was going to become a doctor. It was 2010 and she was in Haiti — after a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 200,000 people, injured another 300,000, and left millions of others without food, shelter, and healthcare.
At the time, she was living in Florida and studying to be an athletic trainer. After the earthquake devastated Haiti, the country where her parents were born and raised, she left Florida to support her family. Upon seeing first-hand the public health disaster caused by the earthquake, she joined the humanitarian rescue efforts to provide the urgent help needed.
“I knew right then that being an athletic trainer wasn’t enough. I had to help on a deeper level, and I had to pursue a career in medicine,” says Dr. Louissaint, 33, who was recently matched to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, one of the oldest and most prestigious rehabilitation medical centers in the United States.
Is a career in medicine right for you?
Most students who dream of pursuing a career in medicine, want to save lives, discover new treatments and procedures, and help improve public health in their communities. There are many rewards that come with earning your MD, including:
- Helping people improve their quality of life: The ability to cure the sick and provide healthcare to those in need are undeniably gratifying aspects of becoming a doctor. In medical school, most students quickly realize that small decisions can make a huge positive impact on a patient’s life. Relieving suffering and treating disease brings a great deal of happiness not just to the patients, but to doctors, as well.
- Gaining financial security and job stability: According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States will see a shortage of nearly 139,000 physicians by 2033. With the promise of abundant job growth and the unwavering need for medical care, physicians are positioned for long-term job security.
- Expanding your mind with lifelong learning: Medical doctors continue to learn and grow throughout their careers. The ever-evolving field of medicine connects physicians to advanced technology, cutting-edge treatments, new research, mysterious symptoms, and difficult-to-treat conditions that challenge the mind.
Is a career in medicine worth it?
The benefits of wearing an MD’s white coat don’t come without a lot of hard work and determination. Prospective medical school students should reflect on whether they are prepared to put forth the time and effort necessary to become a physician. Most physicians, like Dr. Louissaint, say they entered medicine to make a difference in patients’ lives. But the desire to help people is not always enough.
Here are critical questions you should consider before deciding if a career in medicine is right for you:
- Do you meet the requirements to be accepted into medical school?
To gain acceptance in most medical schools, you need to maintain a high GPA and score in the top range of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Only 41% of applicants get accepted into medical school, according to U.S. News & World Reports annual ranking of medical schools.
- Are you prepared for the demands of medical training?
Finishing medical school is just the first step to become a doctor. To practice independently in a chosen specialty, you must undergo residency training to become certified in that field. Residencies take anywhere from 3 to 7 years, depending on which field you choose to enter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Are you ready to assume the pressures and responsibilities of being a doctor?
Helping people stay healthy and saving lives comes with huge pressures and responsibilities. Many doctors are constantly on call and work more than 40 hours a week. Their work can be stressful because they deal with sick and often frustrated people who are relying on doctors to heal them.
Types of Careers in Medicine
If you’ve decided that a career in medicine is worth it, you’ll have a choice of over 100 specialties and subspecialties for your career focus, according to the AAMC. Many factors go into choosing a specialty, including your personal interests, your clinical interests, your experience during rotations, the duration of the training involved, and financial and lifestyle considerations.
Some students know what specialty they will choose before medical school, while others will decide after completing a rotation they feel passionate about. At Ross University School of Medicine, hundreds of graduates secure residencies to pursue the specialty of their choice at leading hospitals across the United States and Canada.
Deciding whether a career in medicine is right for you is a highly personal decision. You should consider the rigorous requirements of medical school education and the responsibilities and rewards that come from pursuing a career in medicine. But, according to Dr. Louissant, the most important question to answer is: “What is my life purpose? If your life purpose is to help people and improve their lives and you are committed to that, then medical school is the right place for you.”
If you are considering pursuing a career in medicine, check out the MD program at Ross University School of Medicine. RUSM offers a hands-on medical education, expert faculty whose sole focus is on teaching, and a global health perspective that other medical programs can only offer as short-term electives.