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Will you advise your child to become a doctor?

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  • Will you advise your child to become a doctor?

    A question I get asked fairly frequently is whether I advise my children to become doctors. My answer in the beginning was an unequivocal "Yes!". Now, I am more conflicted about my answer. I no longer know if Medicine will be the same profession in twenty years when they graduate from Med School. I'm sure the landscape was so different a few decades ago. Many of us did not go to medical school anticipating that most of our time will be spent charting and dealing with endless paperwork, away from what we signed up for: seeing and taking care of patients.

    But the profession does provide me with fulfillment, and I am proud to be a doctor. I see the impact of my care in the lives of my patients.

    My wife and I are both newer attendings (2 years out). As we are are living frugally and still like residents, my son had told me a few times that he didn't want to be in medicine. He said "I don't want to be a doctor because I want to become rich".

    I wonder what you tell your children or grandchildren about our profession, and if it is still worth pursuing despite the personal sacrifice.

     

     

  • #2
    My answer has been the same throughout my career. If doctoring is what you want to do, do it. If it's not, don't. (Duh!)

    In the gray area between, the "possibly/maybe/probably" want to be a doctor, the decision is shifting toward NOT becoming a doctor.

    Neither of my teens has any interest, and that's fine with me. I certainly would not encourage or force them into it. If they were gung ho about becoming a doctor, I would not talk them out of it.

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    • #3
      if they want to.  but i don't encourage them.  it's much more important that it is fulfilling for them.  however, it has to at least be reasonable financially.  I'm going to have trouble if they pursue some kind of fine arts program personally.  not that there is anything wrong, just hard for me.

      but not if they want to retire early.  i really would encourage them to at least consider jobs that let them go part time if they want to retire early.  probably nonprocedural/surgical physician if i were to advise.

      they are going to have a way different set of circumstances than me.  not just generationally, but they are likely going to have no educational debt and a pretty big inheritance, so they are going to have opportunities that i never considered.  income less likely the driving force for them.  taking financial responsibility for parents less likely.  dealing with me living in their house as soon as they get married much more likely to be driving issue for them. 

      i did tell them they should be actuaries after hearing actuary on fire story.

      ymmv

      jmo

       

       

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      • #4
        Depends. I'm don't plan on either encouraging or discouraging medicine. I want them to be exposed to lots of different fields and I want them to find a field that is a good fit for their interests, talents, financial goals, etc. Maybe that's medicine, maybe it isn't.

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        • #5
          I would absolutely advise my kid(s) to be doctors.

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          • #6




            if they want to.  but i don’t encourage them.  it’s much more important that it is fulfilling for them.  however, it has to at least be reasonable financially.  I’m going to have trouble if they pursue some kind of fine arts program personally.  not that there is anything wrong, just hard for me.
            Click to expand...


            No need to sugar coat it. There is definitely something wrong with pursuing a field where one cannot support oneself or even pay back their educational debt. That isn't a shot at liberal arts, it's a reality.

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            • #7
              I don’t understand why many surveys indicate 50%+ of doctors are burned out or wouldn’t choose medicine and their specialty again.  But then you read on forums like these how doctors are fulfilled, find it wonderful, how lucky they are and encourage their kids.   Are the disgruntled and burned out quiet?  They likely constitute a slight majority.

              With doctors increasingly being employed, pushed to the max in terms of productivity, loss of autonomy, burdensome regulations and moc, pay determined by employers rather than collections etc. I am not sure of the advantages?  There are far easier ways to “help” people or make a good living doing something challenging and worthwhile.

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              • #8
                No, both my wife and I are physicians and neither of our two children have any wish to become one. My feeling is that unless you REALLY want it on your own you'll be sorry that you chose to be a physician. Med school, internship, residency, and attending life afterwards can beat the joy of medicine out of anyone, and unless you really want it to start, you'll regret your decision at some point. I won't discourage them if they choose it, but I definitely won't nudge them towards it.

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                • #9
                  I agree with many of the opinions above. I will not push it at all unless they are really attracted to it. What I think is important is knowing several foreign languages (we speak English and Italian in the house and will sign them up for a mandarin full immersion elementary school plus Spanish classes), doing music and one sport of their choice on the side, and having a business foundation. Not matter what field thy decide to pursue, I will strongly urge them to do a business/finance major or minor in college. That is our plan, we shall see what theirs is ;-)

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                  • #10
                    I'll support my son no matter what kind of MD he wants to be.   :lol:

                    My wife says no, but absolutely I will.

                    Sure there’s drawbacks, but if you can get into medschool, it’s essentially a pathway to a guaranteed solid six-figure salary doing meaningful work, along with good social status and a vastly better likelihood of meeting a quality mate (i.e., another doc).

                    I don’t know of any other fields like this.  If anybody can think of one, let me know!  

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                    • #11




                      I’ll support my son no matter what kind of MD he wants to be.   ?

                      My wife says no, but absolutely I will.

                      Sure there’s drawbacks, but if you can get into medschool, it’s essentially a pathway to a guaranteed solid six-figure salary doing meaningful work, along with good social status and a vastly better likelihood of meeting a quality mate (i.e., another doc).

                      I don’t know of any other fields like this.  If anybody can think of one, let me know!   ?
                      Click to expand...


                      actuary

                       

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                      • #12







                        I’ll support my son no matter what kind of MD he wants to be.   ?

                        My wife says no, but absolutely I will.

                        Sure there’s drawbacks, but if you can get into medschool, it’s essentially a pathway to a guaranteed solid six-figure salary doing meaningful work, along with good social status and a vastly better likelihood of meeting a quality mate (i.e., another doc).

                        I don’t know of any other fields like this.  If anybody can think of one, let me know!   ?
                        Click to expand…


                        actuary

                         
                        Click to expand...


                        I don't think I've ever met an actuary before.

                        And then I don't know if you'd ever want to marry another actuary, he or she would probably be a real weirdo.    But then again, so are most doctors...   :lol:

                        Also "meaningful work" with an actuary is up for debate, in all seriousness, at least compared to most docs.

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                        • #13




                          I agree with many of the opinions above. I will not push it at all unless they are really attracted to it. What I think is important is knowing several foreign languages (we speak English and Italian in the house and will sign them up for a mandarin full immersion elementary school plus Spanish classes), doing music and one sport of their choice on the side, and having a business foundation. Not matter what field thy decide to pursue, I will strongly urge them to do a business/finance major or minor in college. That is our plan, we shall see what theirs is
                          Click to expand...


                          ha that explains your avatar

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                          • #14
                            My child and any other person -- know your priorities and realize what your abilities are.  Align your goals to those.

                            Since this is a Financial Forum, I would be cautious on that to the future generation.  There's certainly a more pronounced ceiling to most physician careers these days.  At the same time, you'll be hard pressed to find a doc struggling (unless they made poor on top of poor choices).  2 S.D. of docs salaries will still be in Top 10% of earners -- Don't think any other field can support that claim.

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                            • #15




                              No, both my wife and I are physicians and neither of our two children have any wish to become one. My feeling is that unless you REALLY want it on your own you’ll be sorry that you chose to be a physician. Med school, internship, residency, and attending life afterwards can beat the joy of medicine out of anyone, and unless you really want it to start, you’ll regret your decision at some point. I won’t discourage them if they choose it, but I definitely won’t nudge them towards it.

                               
                              Click to expand...


                              (this is not directed specifically at HikingDO just a general observation)

                              I just think it's really easy to sit on the other end of training with a few years of practice under your belt and maybe $500k in retirement and say "oh yeah this wasn't worth it."

                              We all agree that we are well into the period of time where all iterations of being a doc don't work out financially (peds + $500k loans) but most do and do in a big way.

                              My job:

                              • pays extremely well

                              • gives me a sense of purpose

                              • confers high status/prestige

                              • is always carried out in climate controlled environments

                              • allows for intellectual stimulation

                              • results in some rare but incredibly existentially satisfying life-saves


                              Tough to get that combo in any other field.

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