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Many different reasons, some of which seemed like good ones at the time. In all honesty, I suspect that many people become medical doctors because their parents wanted them to get a graduate degree and a grad degree level job but their GPAs weren't good enough to get them into a proper PhD program. The type of medicine you do (and your motivation for doing it) depends very much on what field of it you go into. A great deal of it is managing fat peoples' routine and eminently self-induced illnesses; treating hangnails and discussing cosmetic surgery with people who have insurance and making them pay through the nose for it so you can use that revenue to cover the write offs which are necessary, life saving procedures on those who don't have insurance and will never in a million years be able to pay upward of $117k for a coronary artery bypass. A lot of it is wringing the government for the Medicare patients - putting shiny new pace makers into 94 year olds with twelve weeks to live so you can get $80k from Uncle Sam for it. In this country (the States) anyway, the insurance companies and HMOs are very picky about what procedures they do and do not cover - so a lot of a doctor's job is sitting on the phone with insurance reps with 12th grade understandings of biology and Masters level understandings of accounting, trying to justify why procedures are "medically necessary" for each patient when that person is sitting on the IV drip, dying, and the HMO reps' only motivation to give you what you want is the prospect of missing ten minutes of their kids' after school soccer games. If you become a GP, that's all it is. That, and being paid moderately big bucks to look at truly ugly people in varying states of undress. If you become a specialist, you get referrals of fat, rich, insured patients from the GPs and you occasionally see a more interesting case or presentation of a rarer disease thrown in with the mix. That said, I think a lot of people go into it because they think it will be a varied, intellectually challenging career with a lot of potential to save and improve lives.
If you do go into medicine, I recommend you consider minoring in business or at least taking courses on accounting, microeconomics and health care economics. That's advice from one who started in a med program but cut the losses and got out.
You might also want to look into the field of translational biology. Translational biology differs from basic research in that it focuses on using the concepts discovered in basic research to cure patients.
Great answer :-D I was hoping I could go into medicine, but I'm only a first year uni student at a computer engineering program :(
If it's your dream, by all means follow it. Just don't be adverse to changing your mind and doing something else if it seems more interesting. You have a lot of time to make up your mind.
If you're into computer engineering, you might also want to look at fields in the medical devices industry...
I'm sure I will get the opportunity to do that; perhaps I will get to find out how they program those machines eye doctors use :-D
I thought hospitals were responsible for abstracting away the financial aspects of healthcare from the specialists :( , but that's reality. I probably won't learn how to deal with such responsibilities by simply volunteering at the hospital or even while at med school (which I'm sure focuses on patients or so they say) :( .
All hospitals do have their own administrative frameworks. They deal mainly with internal affairs like patient billing and financing, liability insurance, personnel issues, etc. Also, in the interest of cutting health care costs, many of these positions have been eliminated in the last few years. At least in the States, the doctors wind up dealing with the financial and external administrative details. The med school classes do focus on the biology aspects. Some schools do have an apprenticeship component where you do get some insight into that other side of medicine. Basically, the best you can do is minor in accounting or economics. If you like the courses, fine. You'll see a lot of that before your career is through. If you hate them, get out. If you're volunteering at a hospital, you can keep your ears open in the canteen and the staff break rooms. You can even ask people what the administrative side is like. If you show some interest, most of the time they are only too happy to give the volunteer a taste of that kind of work.
Ahh... I love blending into staff rooms and learning about reality behind the scenes; hope I become a hospital volunteer someday soon.