“I once thought about being a doctor, but then I’d have to work for a living.”

Julie Foudy, Athlete

Advantages & Disadvantages of Being a Doctor

advantages and disadvantages of being a doctor

You consider becoming a doctor? Great! However, before you make your final decision, make sure to read this article since I show you all the pros and cons of being a doctor in the following.

After evaluating all the arguments, you may come to a different conclusion regarding your future career path. Enough talk, let’s get right into it! 😉

Audio Lesson

Advantages of Being a Doctor

  1. Doctors can earn good salaries
  2. Doctors have a high reputation in society
  3. You can help other people
  4. Doctors can save lives
  5. Being a doctor is more than a profession
  6. You learn to become responsible
  7. Being a doctor can give you a purpose in life
  8. Doctors learn how to become leaders
  9. Every day looks different
  10. You learn how to deal with death
  11. Doctors can work indoors
  12. You can help out your family and friends
  13. Many different fields you can work in
  14. Doctors will always be needed
  15. You can open your own doctor’s office
  16. Gives you the opportunity to retire early
  17. Being a doctor can help you in the dating market
  18. Many doctors are happy with their job

Doctors can earn good salaries

One important advantage of being a doctor is that you can earn pretty good money in this field. In fact, many doctors start with a low six-figure income and if you are really good at what you are doing and you have the right specialization, you might even be able to earn 500,000 dollars or more each year.

Hence, being a doctor is one of the most lucrative jobs and if you want to have a fancy lifestyle, you should definitely consider taking this career path.

Doctors have a high reputation in society

Apart from just the money, doctors also enjoy a pretty high reputation in society. In fact, since they help other people to overcome serious diseases, people are usually pretty grateful for the help doctors can provide to them.

People also know that being a doctor can be quite demanding and many people secretly admire doctors for their work. Consequently, by becoming a doctor, you will also have a pretty high social status in most countries of our planet.

You can help other people

Another benefit of becoming a doctor is that you can help people in various different ways. While the main part of your work will be to treat people in a proper manner so that they overcome diseases, another part is to mentally support those people. Quite often, people are anxious about surgeries or other forms of treatment and it is your job to gain the trust of your patients and to give them a good feeling.

Thus, by becoming a doctor, you can help people out on many different levels and this can give you a quite good feeling. In fact, most doctors are not just in the game for money, they really have an inner motivation to help people to overcome difficult periods of their lives.

Doctors can save lives

Doctors also play a crucial role when it comes to saving lives. In fact, in case of emergency, you will have to make decisions that could save or take away the life of patients.

Of course, this implies serious levels of pressure and while many people are not able to deal with this high pressure, other people really love this working environment.

Hence, if you love to make those important decisions and are not afraid to make mistakes, a medical career may also be for you in this regard.

Being a doctor is more than a profession

Some doctors also just live for their job. Many doctors love to go to work and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. In fact, for some, it is more a religion than a normal profession and there are also doctors who even don’t want to retire since they love what they are doing so much.

Thus, being a doctor can be really fulfilling if you want to devote your life to saving as many lives as possible.

You learn to become responsible

Becoming a doctor also implies that you really have to become responsible and that you have to lose the childish attitude that you might have had during your time in medical school. Always remember that the lives of people will lie in your hands and that mistakes from your side can lead to serious disasters for your patients.

However, the need to become responsible is actually a good thing since it really forces you to grow up and to mature in character so that you become a person on which other people want to rely on.

Being a doctor can give you a purpose in life

Also if you currently struggle to find a purpose in life, a medical career might be quite interesting to you. In fact, many people in our current state of the world are just working in their jobs for the money.

I did that too and can therefore tell you from experience that money is only important to a certain extent and that it will not make you happy in the long run.

Consequently, many people, even if they earn pretty good money, are rather unhappy and desperate inside since they haven’t found true meaning in their lives yet.

Thus, if you are one of those people, you should ask yourself whether you weren’t happier as a doctor where you could actually make a positive impact on the lives of people instead of working in another profession that also pays well but doesn’t give you meaning at all in your life.

Doctors learn how to become leaders

After a few years as a doctor, you will also have the opportunity to lead new colleagues and to teach them important things for their daily routine as a new doctor. Moreover, you can also mentor your new colleagues and guide them.

This is often quite important for new doctors since they will make mistakes and to overcome the emotional pressure that comes along with those mistakes, they often need the mental support of an experienced doctor.

Thus, by becoming a doctor, you can not only help your patients, but you can also help your younger colleagues. Therefore, working as a doctor can also have an educational aspect.

Every day looks different

Another upside of being a doctor is that every day will look different. In fact, you will never know what will happen and what kinds of emergencies you will have to deal with the next days or weeks.

Consequently, you will always have to be prepared and will never get bored since you know that the next emergency could wait for you in just a few minutes.

You learn how to deal with death

While this might be a rather unpleasant topic, it is still quite important. Doctors are confronted with death on a regular basis and have to learn how to deal with the emotions that come along with it. To be honest, nobody I know likes to deal with death.

However, sooner or later in our lives, we all have to deal with it and if you have already learned how to deal with death due to your profession as a doctor, it might also be easier for you to deal with those unpleasant things in your private life.

Doctors can work indoors

Doctors also enjoy the privilege to work inside. While this might not sound as much, it is still important. In fact, construction workers and many other people have to work outdoors during rain and snow and this can be quite annoying.

As a doctor, you will stay dry and warm since you can stay inside the building and there will be no need to leave the building during your shift at all.

You can help out your family and friends

As a doctor, you can not only help your patients. You can also consult your family and friends and help them to overcome their medical issues free of charge.

This can be quite helpful, especially if your loved ones don’t have health insurance and are therefore not able to get medical treatment due to the enormous costs that can be associated with it.

In such a case, your family and friends will be really grateful for your support and you will be their hero if you can cure their diseases without them having to get into financial trouble.

Many different fields you can work in

Another advantage of becoming a doctor is that you can work in many different fields. In fact, opportunities are almost endless and you can choose the field that you are just most interested in or which also provides you with the best career opportunities right now.

It will also be possible to switch your field, at least if you are willing to take extra studies after work.

Doctors will always be needed

As a doctor, you will also benefit from high job security. Doctors will always be needed and unlike many other jobs, doctors can not be replaced by machines that easily.

Especially if you currently live in rural areas, chances are that there will be far too few doctors around and your job prospects will be excellent in many of those regions.

Consequently, by becoming a doctor, you will also not have to worry about getting fired that much since the demand for doctors will likely stay quite high in the future.

You can open your own doctor’s office

If you are the entrepreneurial type of person, you can also open your own doctor’s office instead of working for someone else. In fact, you can even earn more money by doing so compared to being a normal employee. It can also be quite nice to have your own doctor’s office since you will be more flexible regarding your working hours.

Gives you the opportunity to retire early

Since you will make quite a lot of money as a doctor in most cases, you will also have the opportunity to retire quite early. In fact, if you are a neurologist or a heart surgeon, chances are that you will earn a high six-figure income after just a few years.

This also implies that you can become a millionaire in a rather short period of time and if you invest your money wisely, you could retire as early as in your late 30s or early 40s.

Being a doctor can help you in the dating market

Being a doctor can also give you an edge in the dating market. Let’s be honest. Money and social status matter when it comes to finding a partner and since doctors have plenty of both of those things, they often have a pretty easy time finding a significant other they want to spend their life with.

Many doctors are happy with their job

Also job satisfaction among doctors is pretty high. In fact, studies found that most doctors are pretty happy with their job and only a minority of them had been relatively unsatisfied.

Hence, this also indicates that becoming a doctor can be the right way to go, at least if you are really passionate about helping people and are not just in the game for the money.

Disadvantages of Being a Doctor

  1. Being a doctor implies high levels of pressure
  2. Mistakes can cost lives
  3. Doctors often have plenty of stress
  4. It takes quite long to finish medical school and subsequent training
  5. High tuition fees
  6. Doctors often work long hours
  7. You may have to work at nighttime
  8. You may get sued
  9. Many doctors are not able to unplug from their job
  10. Some patients are rather difficult
  11. Doctors may become infected with diseases
  12. You will not know what’s happening
  13. Even your best performance will sometimes not be enough
  14. Sleeping problems are quite common among doctors
  15. You have to rely on your staff
  16. All responsibility is on your shoulders
  17. Some doctors even become addicted to drugs
  18. You have to deal with death
  19. Mental problems
  20. Doctors have to deal with strict regulations
  21. Plenty of bureaucracy
  22. You have to learn on a continuous basis

Being a doctor implies high levels of pressure

Apart from the many important advantages of being a doctor, there are also some issues with this profession. For example, one problem with being a doctor is that it implies high levels of pressure. People will put their trust and their hopes in you and expect you to deliver and to help their loved ones or themselves.

Thus, you will be responsible for the outcome of your work and if it is not positive, people will often accuse you that you did something wrong. Dealing with this sort of pressure can be quite challenging and many people simply don’t have the stomach for it.

Mistakes can cost lives

In the worst case, your mistakes as a doctor can even cost lives. In fact, if you give people the wrong medication or make mistakes during surgeries, people may die due to your shortcomings. And I tell you what.

Sooner or later, you will actually make mistakes since nobody is perfect and you will have to deal with the fact that you might be responsible for the death of your patients.

Doctors often have plenty of stress

Another disadvantage of being a doctor is that it also implies significant stress. You will often have to deal with extreme cases and your schedule will also be rather tight.

This means that you will often not have enough time for each patient and that you will not be able to provide the best possible treatment due to that.

It takes quite long to finish medical school and subsequent training

Before you are allowed to work as a doctor, you will have to go to medical school. While medical school itself will usually take you around 4 years in most states, there is also subsequent training that comes after it.

In total, it can take you between 6 and 10 years until you complete your medical education and you should make sure that you have the will and the ambition for this long education path.

High tuition fees

Going to medical school also implies significant tuition fees. In fact, many medical students will have a six-figure student loan debt after finishing medical school. While the salary of doctors is often pretty decent, it can still take many years to pay off this huge debt.

In the worst case, students may even drop out of medical school and have large sums of student debt without having a degree and will therefore not be able to work as a doctor.

Thus, if you really want to make this huge investment into your education, make sure that you at least finish medical school so that you are able to pay off your student loans in a reasonable amount of time.

Doctors often work long hours

Many doctors also have to work quite long hours. In fact, 60 hours or more per week are rather the norm than the exception. This is not only quite exhausting, it can also hurt your family life since you will often come home late and will not see your wife and your children that often.

Hence, before you decide for becoming a doctor, make sure that you are willing to work those long hours.

You may have to work at nighttime

Many doctors also have to work at nighttime. In fact, people get injured or sick not only during the day, but also at night and therefore, doctors are required to help people out all day and night long.

Thus, if you are the type of person who doesn’t want to work at nighttime, chances are that becoming a doctor may be rather problematic for you.

You may get sued

As mentioned before, nobody is perfect and you will make mistakes sooner or later. While some patients will not get mad at you, others will even sue you. In turn, you may have to pay large sums of money to them or even lose your license as a doctor.

Hence, if you decide for becoming a doctor, at least make sure that you get proper insurance so that you are covered in case of emergency.

Many doctors are not able to unplug from their job

Another downside of being a doctor is that many doctors can’t unplug from their job. Since they are so passionate about what they are doing and want to help as many patients as possible, doctors will carry their worries from work back home.

However, this can be quite bad for their health since our brain needs some time to relax and if you always think about work and the mistakes you could have made, chances are that your overall quality of life will suffer quite a lot.

Some patients are rather difficult

During your medical career, you will also have to deal with rather difficult people. There are just people out there who complain about everything and who could never be happy. Quite often, those people look out for scapegoats on whom they can release their frustration.

Consequently, make sure that you will not only meet nice people but that you will also have to deal with people you can’t appreciate at all.

Doctors may become infected with diseases

Even though you will protect yourself during surgeries, there is still some risk that you will get infected with serious diseases. In fact, nothing is 100% safe and therefore, be prepared to get sick sooner or later since you will be exposed to sick people all day long and it will just be a matter of time until you get infected.

You will not know what’s happening

Even though you will try your best to save as many lives as possible, you will never know what the outcome of your efforts will be. There is still a certain level of insecurity involved in all of this and fate may also play a bigger role than many doctors wished.

Hence, you will often not know if your patients will wake up again or if he or she will not make it.

Even your best performance will sometimes not be enough

You can also do whatever you want. Sooner or later, it will just not be enough and you will lose some of your patients sooner or later during your medical career. This is just the nature of the game. You will not be able to save every life and you will have to deal with this fact somehow.

Sleeping problems are quite common among doctors

Since doctors have to work quite long hours and also often have irregular shifts, some of them also suffer from serious sleeping problems. Moreover, also horrible events that might have happened during the day may follow doctors in their dreams, which further decreases the overall quality of sleep.

Since good sleep is crucial for our body and our brain to work well, a lack of sleep for doctors can lead to all sorts of personal issues and may even lead to a state where doctors also make more mistakes during their shifts.

You have to rely on your staff

While doctors have all the responsibility, they still have to rely on nurses and other staff members on many occasions. However, this reliance can be rather problematic, especially if your staff members make mistakes quite frequently since you will often be the one who gets sued or accused by patients since you as a doctor are responsible for what happens during your shift.

All responsibility is on your shoulders

In general, as a doctor, you will carry all the weight on your shoulders. You will not have to blame anyone other than yourself for mistakes that might happen. This can be mentally challenging since you will have to justify yourself not only to your patients, but also to yourself.

Some doctors even become addicted to drugs

Some doctors are also not able to deal with the pressure that comes along with their profession. In fact, some doctors use drugs to overcome their fears and to stay mentally fit, at least in the short run.

This is quite common since doctors will have access to all sorts of substances and experts estimate that there is a high number of unknown cases in this regard.

You have to deal with death

Many people also have a problem to deal with death. However, if you become a doctor, you will see many people dying throughout your career and you will simply have to face this sad reality.

In fact, it is crucial to learn how to deal with death in a healthy manner as a doctor and if you are not willing to do so, chances are that being a doctor will not make you happy in the long run.

Mental problems

Some doctors also experience mental issues. They are often just not able to deal with all the sad things that happen during their shift. Moreover, it can also be quite hard to deal with your mistakes when you know that you could have saved your patients if you did your job properly. Hence, in the long run, many doctors suffer from depression or other mental problems.

Doctors have to deal with strict regulations

Since mistakes of doctors can potentially cost the lives of their patients, doctors have to comply with quite strict rules and regulations. While this makes quite a lot of sense to protect the general public, it also implies some additional work for doctors.

Plenty of bureaucracy

Many people also underestimate the level of bureaucracy that comes along with being a doctor. In fact, there is plenty of administrative stuff that has to be done and even though you might not have to do it yourself as a doctor, you still have to coordinate your staff members and control the work they do in this regard.

You have to learn on a continuous basis

Since our technology progresses at rapid speed, you as a doctor will have to learn on a continuous basis. Only then will you be able to provide the best treatment for your patients and your patients will recommend you to their friends.

Thus, if you are not willing to keep your knowledge up to date, becoming a doctor will also be problematic for you.

Top 10 Being a Doctor Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Doctor ProsBeing a Doctor Cons
Doctors have a good salaryBeing a doctor can be mentally challenging
Being a doctor can give you meaningHigh costs for medical school
You can save livesStudent loan debt is a problem
Doctors have a high reputation in societyYour mistakes can cost lives
You can help your family and friendsSome patients will not appreciate your work
Various different fields you can work inYou may get sued
Doctors have good chances in the dating marketDoctors have to work long shifts
Being a doctor is more than a professionMental issues are rather common
You can learn how to become a leaderSleeping problems
You learn how to deal with adversityDoctors may have to work at nighttime

Should You Become A Doctor?

As we have seen from the previous discussion, there are numerous pros and cons of becoming a doctor. In the end, you have to evaluate all the advantages and disadvantages of being a doctor by yourself to make a profound decision for your individual circumstances.

Maybe a job as a nurse would be better for you. If you are interested, make sure to also check out the pros and cons of being a nurse.

Sources

https://www.adsc.com/blog/10-success-tips-from-experienced-doctors

https://www.acog.org/news/news-articles/2020/01/tips-for-new-doctors

https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2017/10/10-golden-communication-tips-doctors-3-things-shouldnt.html

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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