Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Doctor
Many advantages and disadvantages come with being a doctor. This article sites some of the career's most notable rewards and challenges, including income, prestige, helping others, job-related stress, long work hours and legal challenges.
What are Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Doctor?
Doctors enjoy many perks in their profession. The benefits below highlight some of the advantages that come with being a doctor.
Many doctors find it rewarding to help improve or save the lives of others. Getting respect for their work and contributions in the community is yet another benefit for doctors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (www.aamc.org).
Salary, which varies according to experience, specialty and setting, is also an advantage for physicians. According to the Medical Group Management Association (www.mgma.com), general practitioners earned a median compensation of $186,044 in 2008. Specialist doctors earned about $339,738.
A study conducted in 2006 by the Center for Health Futures (www.cfhf.org) showed that relationships with patients and colleagues made doctors satisfied with their career choice. Other factors included research and training opportunities and the freedom to provide quality healthcare.
While being a doctor definitely has its advantages, the profession proves challenging as well. The following factors are just some of the disadvantages that come with the job.
Doctors often cite long training periods in medical school and the high tuition costs associated with it as a disadvantage. Time remains an issue even after earning a medical degree, since physicians often work long hours and don't have as much time to spend with family and friends as they'd like.
Just as saving lives can be rewarding, the responsibilities that come with being a doctor can be stressful, such as making a mistake, losing a patient or fearing the loss of one. According to a 2002 article appearing on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) website, 73% of junior doctors on cardiac arrest teams found cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) stressful.
Individuals surveyed cited that stress was due largely to unfortunate outcomes. Other issues included the failure of senior staff to give 'Do Not Resuscitate' orders for applicable patients, no advanced life support training prior to performing CPR or simply just having to perform the procedure. Doctors also reported that they sometimes find it difficult to discuss CPR with patients and their families.
Medical malpractice suits are another disadvantage. As reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov), nearly 2,500 medical malpractice cases were handled in general jurisdiction courts in 2005. Although plaintiffs won less than one-fourth of the cases, medical malpractice suits can still sully a doctor's reputation.
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