What was it? What was the lie and when did doctors learn it? The lie was this: ‘if you become a doctor, your profession of medicine will be all you need for happiness and fulfillment.’ In short, physicians learned to validate themselves by way of a profession.
I believe my generation of physicians never grew up with a great lie. We knew we wouldn’t make the most money (or at least, we should have known this); we knew that medicine was time-consuming, but we chose it anyway. And the medical schools chose us for our diversity, life-experiences, and well-roundedness. They’ve selected out for people who have taken time off before school (almost half of my graduating class), who have had other careers, who have explored other interests. Found other things besides medicine that make them happy.
Look at the fields that are incredibly popular today: they either make a lot of money, offer a good lifestyle, or both (I’m looking right at you, ophtho). We want to have free time outside of our careers. We want to have families and relationships. Sure, we’re ready to make sacrifices, but we weren’t told a lie–or maybe we just never believed it. We’ve had the opportunity to study abroad; we’ve been exposed to foreign countries and cultures; we have taken courses in religion, anthropology, linguistics, sociology–and we know there are more things to life (exciting, interesting, thrilling ones at that)–besides a job. (For Dr. Leap, that appears to be his faith.)
Now, perhaps this is to the detriment of our future patients–that their future doctors want more out of life than just being great doctors for them. Perhaps it is for the benefit of them. I guess only time will tell.