Reasons To Go Into Medicine
We each have our own experiences and thoughts on why we want to become doctors. This article will help you to identify your motivations as well as to seek experiences to help crystalllise your motivations.
“Wanting to help people”
If you are someone who is empathetic and enjoys working with people then medicine can be for you. However, helping people is not something unique to medicine. You could say the same about any service e.g. working at a bank. That said, it is true that doctors care for patients at some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. This means that you have the potentially to improve their standard of living (or prevent it from getting worse) and sometimes to save their lives.
It is important to note that we all react differently when we’re vulnerable. Coupled with long waiting times as well as an underfunded and understaffed NHS, sometimes patients can become angry, anxious or impulsive. (Medicine rarely is glamorous!) This comes with the privilege of being able to help patients at some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives.
“Applying science directly to disease”
Simply wanting to help people is too vague and being a nurse fits very well into that category. However, if you are someone who is curious and finds learning about the body fascinating, medicine may be for you. Studying medicine allows you to begin to understand the cellular components of a person all the way up to organs.
“Diversity in terms of specialities, patients and diseases”
As shown by our Specialities page, there is a wide range of specialities to suit your interests and personalities. The huge range of patients will mean that every day is different and will be both emotionally satisfying as well as intellectually stimulating. Diseases can reflect the lifestyles of patients and we're seeing that with obesity resulting in greater rates of cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes. An ageing population results increased numbers of patietns with neurodegenerative diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer's.
If you enjoy working with others then medicine may be for you. It’s easy to think of doctors as simply being leaders but often they work alongside other doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational health staff, psychologists, physician associates, healthcare assistants, the list goes on. Doctors work with other doctors in their speciality as well as with other specialities (e.g. surgeons working with oncologists working with radiologists).
Every career has career progression but in fact all doctors are required to remain up to date with the latest guidelines. This ensures that their knowledge is not outdated and that they use an evidence-based approach.
The best way of finding out if “applying science directly to disease”, the diversity of medicine and lifelong learning are what you will find motivating is to undergo work experience. Find out more at our Work Experience Guide.
“Living a life of meaning”
There can arguably be no better feeling than that when you have helped someone directly. Being a doctor is a privilege in the sense that you can be a part of a patient’s journey to recovery and in the case of a GP see patients from “cradle to grave”.
Some people due a close friend or family member having an acute or chronic illness whether it be a heart attack or diabetes at childhood. Some people have seen the deprivation and disease in developing countries. Some people may have had a particularly inspiring doctor in the family. This may be something that motivates them or at the very least got them interested in medicine at a young age. Everyone will have their own reasons, you need to ensure your reasons are well-reasoned, pragmatic and above all else – true!
It takes a lot of self-reflection to really identify your motivations for wanting to study medicine. For your own benefit, you want to ensure that your reasons are well-thought out and realistic – medicine will be too hard, unfulfilling and laborious otherwise! The best way to do this is by undergoing work experience.