When anyone asks me why I wanted to become a doctor, I usually muster the most clichéd, generic, all-too-familiar response I possibly could:
“ Oh, I really like helping people.”
“I don’t know, I was always really good at science and I really liked biology.”
…but in reality, I have no idea. Was it because someone told me I should become one? Or that all my friends were becoming doctors too? Or that I was good in science, so why not? But if I was becoming a doctor for THOSE reasons, then why wouldn’t I go into engineering?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that “something,” that thing about the profession that inspired me to pursue it, for it’s about time that I take a step back and realize why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I guess one thing about the profession that lured me to it is that it forces one to think outside the box. Not only is a doctor required to know everything about the human body, but when the time comes, they have to use that information to solve the problem at hand. After all, the human body is connected and complex, and therefore, sometimes a doctor has to be someone who understands that the solution to a problem at hand isn’t always what they think it is. Granted, part of my whole “the field of medicine is like solving a puzzle” conception kind of comes from watching too much House M.D., which (like every other medical show out there) glamorizes medicine. But from whatever limited exposure I have in the field, I’ve come to realize that medicine is something that consistently challenges the person practicing it, regardless of how many years they have been practicing it.
Which leads me to my next reason: As a doctor, one is consistently learning. There are always new discoveries being made, more unknowns to solve, and new technologies and novel procedures coming to the market. On top of that, healthcare reform deeply impacts the way medicine is practiced. Therefore, medicine always requires one to up to date about the path that the field is taking and where it is heading.
However, those aren’t the primary reasons that propel me to want to become a doctor more than anything else.
The field of medicine, while, yes, it is about treating others, it is also about them. When I was in Honduras for a week with the Global Medical Brigades, I’ve come to realize that a person’s entire way of life, as well as the lives of those around them, can completely revolve around a person’s poor health, thus making health the fundamental inhibitor to of any progress. That’s why despite the fact that I, and the majority of the people I was working with, were a group of undergraduate students who have never been to Honduras and didn’t know all of 10 words in of Spanish, the community had faith that we would help them, not just in the short run, but for the long run as well. That was when it struck me that medicine also transcends borders. Despite cultural differences, a smile, sign of gratitude, and the field of medicine in general are all universal. Therefore, practicing medicine doesn’t just teach one about medicine, but about the people being treated as well. Medicine is a field that is just as much social as it is scientific, and thus I have the ability to learn just as much from my patients as they learn from me. Therefore, I’ve come to realize the fact that medicine brings us together, challenges us, and ultimately is a necessity we all need in order to pursue anything else in life, and that is why I love this profession as much as I do.
Featured Image photo credit: photo by unknown