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Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Doctor

Many advantages and disadvantages come with being a doctor. This article cites some of the career's most notable rewards and challenges, including income, prestige, helping others, job-related stress, long work hours and legal challenges.

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Doctor?

Advantages

Doctors enjoy many perks in their profession. The benefits below highlight some of the advantages that come with being a doctor.

Respect

Many doctors find it rewarding to help improve or save the lives of others. Getting respect for their work and contributions in the community is yet another benefit for doctors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Income

Salary, which varies according to experience, specialty and setting, is also an advantage for physicians. Most physicians enjoy above-average earnings. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, family and general practitioners earned median salaries of $172,020 in 2012.

Personal Satisfaction

A study conducted in 2002 by the American Medical Association showed that physician satisfaction varied by specialty; however, in general, about 42% of physicians showed satisfaction with their career. Other factors that contribute to personal satisfaction may include research and training opportunities and the freedom to provide quality healthcare.

Disadvantages

While being a doctor definitely has its advantages, the profession proves challenging as well. The following factors are just some of the potential disadvantages that come with the job.

Time Consumption

Doctors often cite long training periods in medical school and the high tuition costs associated with it as a disadvantage. Time remains an issue even after earning a medical degree, since physicians often work long hours and don't have as much time to spend with family and friends as they'd like.

Job-Related Stress

Just as saving lives can be rewarding, the responsibilities that come with being a doctor can be stressful, such as making a mistake, losing a patient or fearing the loss of one. According to a 2002 article appearing on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, 73% of junior doctors on cardiac arrest teams found cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) stressful.

Individuals surveyed note that stress was due largely to unfortunate outcomes. Other issues included the failure of senior staff to give 'Do Not Resuscitate' orders for applicable patients, no advanced life support training prior to performing CPR or simply just having to perform the procedure. Doctors also reported that they sometimes find it difficult to discuss CPR with patients and their families.

Lawsuits

Medical malpractice suits are another disadvantage. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 2,500 medical malpractice cases were handled in general jurisdiction courts in 2005. Although plaintiffs won less than one-fourth of the cases, medical malpractice suits can still sully a doctor's reputation.

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