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What Are the Disadvantages of Becoming a Doctor?

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Doctors perform a necessary job in society by serving as your first line of defense against rising health issues. Doctors use critical thinking and years of expertise to help ensure that your medical issues are discovered and remedied. There are numerous advantages of becoming a doctor, such as respect and income. However, doctors have a high amount of accountability, which for some physicians can outweigh the positives.

Extensive Education Requirements

One of the disadvantages in becoming a doctor is that it takes a considerable amount of time for the profession to produce a significant income. You will first have to receive an undergraduate Bachelor’s of Science degree, likely in a science-based major. This will take you roughly four to five years. From there you will have to go to medical school and receive a Doctor of Medicine. This will consist of two years of classroom and lab work, and courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and medical laws and ethics. During the final two years of medical school you will partake in competing clinical internships, clerkships, and receiving hands-on experience in medical departments. After medical school you will be required to complete a one- to three-year paid residency, likely at a teaching hospital.

Malpractice Lawsuits

Doctors use subjective and objective standards when choosing to administer medical care, and unfortunately doctors are not perfect. Another disadvantage in being a doctor is that there has been an increase in litigation and malpractice lawsuits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2005 close to 2,500 malpractice claims were handled. Potential malpractice claims must be considered when thinking about becoming a doctor. Even if malpractice claims are not successful, such claims can become a dark cloud over a doctor’s practice, and can lead to a decrease in productivity and business.

Burnout and Stress

Being a doctor also comes with a level of stress, and can eventually weigh down on you. Doctors working in emergency rooms will regularly have to deal with losing patients, while consistently maintaining a heavy work load. Due to a heavy work load and odd hours, many doctors experience burnout and discontent with being a doctor as time passes. According to BMC Medicine, “the most obvious cause of doctors' unhappiness is that they feel overworked and undersupported.” Many doctors turn out to not be satisfied with a career in medicine, and such discontent often leads to neuroticism and disorganization, which can subsequently affect job performance.

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About the Author

Justin Rush is currently a first-year law school student who has always had an interest in writing. As an undergrad he was and English literature major with a minor in journalism and psychology, and helped hone his skills as a writer as an intern within the University Foundation.