Please explain to me the complexity of being a doctor. Why is this so hard for patients and the general public to understand?

  • This is because of the increasing amount of medical knowledge and technology going up constantly and the complexity of the health care system increasing dramatically.
  • First, because of the hours. To do it right you have to keep learning and keep looking things up. I don’t think that public understands. Sometime I see something I haven’t seen before at midnight in the ER.
  • It is a gradual inculcation into culture. It stared in my first year in medical school. I did not understand how crazy the culture is until I started working in a hospital. I didn’t understand until years of sleep deprivation, people with difficult life experiences, seeing people with trauma. It is a traumatic experience. This training process is rather closed and takes a long time and changes a person 8-12 years before you start to practice.
  • They listen to the media.
  • They do not understand the mindset of a doctor and the amount of toil and labor both physically mentally and financially that it takes. They do not understand that we have no control as a profession that others rule us. We are used as pawns in a system. No one cares about the doctors.
  • Most people feel that they are entitled to free heath care. But they don’t understand the education and the training to become a doctor and the support necessary to run a hospital or office, which costs a lot of money. There is no way we can do this for free.
  • It is to have the knowledge base which is expanding dramatically. There are the pressures that come from regulations and different agencies. I am allowed to have a failure rate of 0%. In any other industry you are allowed a failure rate of 0-2% as the industry norm. I am not allowed that luxury. They have not done it. It looks easy but a lot goes into it. Like me when I see a pilot. It looks easy to fly, but a lot goes into it. It is the same for medicine.
  • So many things. The changes in practicing medicine and we have to know so many things medically. And there is the business part of running a practice.
  • I don’t think that you can understand unless you do it. Everyone expects you to just be for them.
  • Integrating the science with the business and with the humanism. It is a touchy one. But that is what makes it exciting and rewarding.
  • Until you are immersed in that life you can’t really understand that is your life. People go to work 9-5. Their work doesn’t typically impact someone’s life. You don’t have those nightmares of did this patient do this or that. It’s in your brain all the time. It’s hard to understand us or sympathize with us. They think that we get compensated for it.
  • I have been a physician for 30 years– I am still training and reading journals.
  • The public thinks that we know more or can do more than we can. All of the tests and technology moves so fast that we don’t know what we see.
  • You cannot know everything about everything. You have to know what you don’t know. You have to decide who needs care and who doesn’t. And you have to know where to go.
  • There is pressure to see more patients. Every day I am making decisions. I am not in the OR but I am making decisions about tests and medication. I was also fortunate my parents paid for two years of medical school and I did a fellowship. They paid for college. I came out of medical school with no debt. The public does not understand that. And you are not making any kind of significant money until around age 30. Until you have a job. Hey, they think that we are rich.
  • It’s 24/7. I need a break. Sometimes don’t want to talk about it when I am out and someone walks up to me.
  • Because most people aren’t committed at such a young age. You have to be a physician early on. You have to focus early on or you are already way behind the eight ball. The dedication and the commitment is important. The kids in their 20s, they are partying at night. The people in medical school can’t do that. We had tests. We were sitting in the library or on call. Studying and studying.
  • I started practicing 13 years after I finished med school. Unless you have the passion for it you cannot be a doctor. 13 and half of your younger years is going into books, calls, and no sleep.
  • You go through education and get trained. People have an understanding that it is complicated. I think that they understand that it is complex. But people think you are there and know what you are doing once you go through the process and you are as good as you are going to be. Not true. You get better and better as you do it.
  • The 24/7 responsibility and the potential magnitude of problems.
  • They do not understand that it is hard to become and stay a doctor. It is like someone grinding away at you every day and there is not much left. Lost personality and sense of humor along the way because you deal with this stuff every day, sick patients, fixing other problems that you can’t address yet and you are sacrificing your health and sanity to take care of other people’s problems and it wears on you. You have to pace yourself and balance.

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