A short-but-excellent piece on NPR discusses the trend of medical students changing their preferences for specialties. It’s worth the 8 minutes.
I think the piece is right–my generation has very different priorities than my parents’ generation. While we’re just as hard-working and driven, we want to have a more of a life. We want balance. Or maybe we just want it all–seeing patients, of course–but also families, social lives, and hobbies. I also think it’s unfortunate–and dangerous–to be pumping out such a small number of primary care doctors. But we clearly reward specialists with higher pay and, in many cases, better “hours.” We’re in big trouble in 20-30 years, when the millions of baby boomers need primary care, but all we’ve got is specialists.
I believe I’m ultimately very priveleged to be granted the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine–to receive more education than 99% of the rest of the world–and along with that comes a responsibility. Sacrifice. But ultimately, I want what everyone else wants: time to spend with my family and friends, and time to do the things I enjoy. We’re so focused on the scientific and causational in medical school that religion seems further and further from the truth; if we really only get one turn in this thing called life, I don’t want to miss out on it all. As always, it’s finding the balance that’s the key.