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Is passion necessary to be a doctor?


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I don't have any passion for medicine. I see it as a stable job with high income and a good service to the community. On the forum, I see posts from some people who have my mindset, and others who think that passion is important. What are your thoughts? Did you know students who started with no passion and later gained it (e.g., during clerkship or residency)? Or alternatively, are they now miserable in their careers?

Thanks!

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Its more like you need to have some drive that's a little deeper than just a job to make it through the training, especially when it's time for residency. You want to at least be sure that you can handle a career in healthcare. I know people who hate what they do, but at the same time they're too deep into it to even think about quitting. Of course there's tons of people who really gain a love for medicine as time passes. You have to ask yourself if it's something you could do for the rest of your life.

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53 minutes ago, Pakoon said:

Its more like you need to have some drive that's a little deeper than just a job to make it through the training, especially when it's time for residency. You want to at least be sure that you can handle a career in healthcare. I know people who hate what they do, but at the same time they're too deep into it to even think about quitting. Of course there's tons of people who really gain a love for medicine as time passes. You have to ask yourself if it's something you could do for the rest of your life.

What about family med? Just aim to pass in med school, the residency is much, much less grueling than most other specialties, and you can work part time forever and still make well above the average Canadian income. Is the 6-year training that hard if you're aiming to coast?

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2 minutes ago, whatdoido said:

What about family med? Just aim to pass in med school, residency is much, much less grueling than most other specialties, and you can work part time forever and still make well above the average Canadian income. Is the 6-year training that hard if you're aiming to coast?

Are you in med school/residency/practicing? I've heard family med residency can be gruelling with lots of hours too. And if you're just coasting through your training only aiming to pass, can you even be a good doctor?

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On 9/16/2020 at 5:23 PM, techormed said:

Are you in med school/residency/practicing? I've heard family med residency can be gruelling with lots of hours too. And if you're just coasting through your training only aiming to pass, can you even be a good doctor?

Med school, Y1. I'm in the exact same boat as you, OP, and I've posted about this a lot on other forums. I've done a ton of research on this subject and to be frank, I didn't really want to go to med school because I do not have this "burning passion" everyone says you need to have (and what the hell everyone claims to be so excited about in medicine, I'll never truly understand). My passions lie in other fields, a lot of them creative (read: no money, no job prospects, do what you love but be broke forever), some of them more suited to a sustainable and stable lifestyle (computer science, webdev, data science). 

However, med school itself is literally a lottery win here in Canada. Consider the amount of people who apply and how little people actually get in. There's a reason for this. The career is a ticket to an extremely stable job *anywhere* in Canada (I'd wager you could probably find a job almost anywhere in the world). Not only that, but you're getting remunerated a substantial amount of money (which is fair given what it takes to even begin practicing). If you have even a modicum of interest in the material and won't hate the job to the point where you harm your patients or yourself, I think it's worth it. If you have the intelligence and required character traits and have already put in the work to be admitted (a very high GPA, stellar ECs/volunteerism, the MCAT, etc.), it's hard to turn down- at least it was for me, anyways.

For instance, consider that med in Canada is pass/fail. As long as you have some natural ability to retain information easily (i.e., most successful admits), you don't need to kill yourself studying to just pass (it's been ~4 weeks and I've been doing fine with like, 10 hours a week). You don't need to spend hours doing research and ECs to make yourself competitive for a specialty where, after 5 years, you'll have to spend another 2 in fellowship to *then* get a job. You can "coast" (I mean, it'll still be hard work, especially around exam times and during clerkship) and finish in 6 years with a job anywhere you want helping people, which in of itself is quite rewarding. Also consider that the debt we take on is significantly lower than in the US, which makes this a financially sound choice- I certainly wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't in Canada (also, family physicians are paid much more here than in the states).

And once you're there, immediately switch over to part-time work, work for 2-3 days a week, earn higher than the average Canadian household income, and have the rest of the week for your passions/interests. Or be a hospitalist and work 7 days on, 7 days off and have every other week off for what makes you happier than medicine. Or do emergency med and work what turns out to be 6 months out of the year and still make more than any other full time job. Or open your own clinic and take on 12 hour days if you want and then go to the hospital afterwards to round if that's your thing. The amount of flexibility is unprecedented. Yes, you can begin making a salary that rivals a physicians' take-home (after billing, overhead, taxes) in data science or finance or whatever, but you'll still probably be working 50-60 hours a week until the day you retire.

Look, I don't think you will ever get through a surgical residency or even an internal medicine residency (80 hour work weeks on top of studying on top of 4 day 24hr call = no free time, no social life, no sleep...for 5 years) without some underlying passion- the people who *do* have the passion almost all burn out and become husks of themselves those 3-7+ years. I already know that's not the life I want or desire, I don't care how interesting I think one particular body system is.

Re: residency. I've heard mixed things about family med residencies. One thing I will say for sure is that the vast majority of the programs are less intense than your average specialty. I believe the fam med with a +1 in emergency med is actually quite stressful and in its own boat. Other +1s or more prestigious family med programs might be similar in that regard. If you're rural, you might have a lot more hours simply because they just need the manpower (just like a family doc in a rural setting works 60+ hours a week because who else is gonna serve the entire community?). And finally, don't forget it's two years compared to the 3-7+ in other specialties. I can take 80 hour work weeks on no sleep for two years, but 5? Forget it.

Re: being a good doctor- you still need to know enough to pass, which means you need to understand and critically apply the information to achieve at least a 70% grade. A lot of what we learn in med school becomes completely irrelevant for the specialty you choose. You'll know enough to be a good doctor so long as you have all the other necessary traits- compassion, empathy, the ability to refresh on material and learn new material over the years, etc. Again, if you have no "passion" to the point where you're going to be a bad doctor (rude to your patients, harming them, etc.) and miserable all day, then no, don't do it.

Anyways, PM me if you want to talk more. I completely empathize with your position, and I know more than anyone there's an enormous shortage of people in our field who share the same worries (at least premeds and pre-M3s; more join our boat when they realize medicine isn't really their ~dream come true~).

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I'm a staff and I will say that I work with many colleagues who are not passionate about medicine and are pretty unhappy. I think if you go into medicine just for the money every day is going to be a drag. I'm not saying you have to dedicate your whole life to medicine (unless you're in certain fields) but I would say you should have something to drive you other than the pay cheque.

I honestly think medicine does a poor job of conveying how tiring the training is for most fields. This compounds with the fact that the geographic flexibility isn't there for all fields. I suppose you could do something generalist like FM to keep your options open. I can say I have many classmates who are in FM and live very fulfilling lives outside of medicine and doing great. I will say that on the other end that I have many friends who are always looking for ways out of FM because they don't like the job. I think this is also supported by anecdotal evidence that you see on the physician facebook groups.

You will do financially fine as a MD no matter what you choose. However, I always caution to students to stay away if they are just chasing a pay cheque. There's more than one path to happiness and medicine isn't that path for everyone.

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It’s kind of sad when there’s so many people who dream to be doctors only to get their spot beaten by someone who thinks of it as purely a job. Lack of passion can easily lead to job dissatisfaction and burnout.l. I’ve seen some really burnout doctors and they hate coming to work. Getting stuck working or learning from them is freaking horrible , for everyone—patients, nurses, medical admin, learners, colleagues etc.

Also the concept of “coasting” through medicine is just freaking aggravating. It’s this kind of attitude that creates shitty doctors.

furthermore, don’t underestimate the difficulties of family medicine. It’s an amazing specialty that requires ALOT of work and relationship building.

So please do something else and leave the spot to someone who is passionate.

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3 hours ago, whatdoido said:

Med school, Y1. I'm in the exact same boat as you, OP, and I've posted about this a lot on other forums. I've done a ton of research on this subject and to be frank, I didn't really want to do go to med school because I do not have this "burning passion" everyone says you need to have (and what the hell everyone claims to be so excited about in medicine, I'll never truly understand). My passions lie in other fields, a lot of them creative (read: no money, no job prospects, do what you love but be broke forever), some of them more suited to a sustainable and stable lifestyle (computer science, webdev, data science). 

However, med school itself is literally a lottery win here in Canada. Consider the amount of people who apply and how little people actually get in. There's a reason for this. The career is a ticket to an extremely stable job *anywhere* in Canada (I'd wager you could probably find a job almost anywhere in the world). Not only that, but you're getting remunerated a substantial amount of money (which is fair given what it takes to even begin practicing). If you have even a modicum of interest in the material and won't hate the job to the point where you harm your patients or yourself, I think it's worth it. If you have the intelligence and required character traits and have already put in the work to be admitted (a very high GPA, stellar ECs/volunteerism, the MCAT, etc.), it's hard to turn down- at least it was for me, anyways.

For instance, consider that med in Canada is pass/fail. As long as you have some natural ability to retain information easily (i.e., most successful admits), you don't need to kill yourself studying to just pass (it's been ~4 weeks and I've been doing fine with like, 10 hours a week). You don't need to spend hours doing research and ECs to make yourself competitive for a specialty where, after 5 years, you'll have to spend another 2 in fellowship to *then* get a job. You can "coast" (I mean, it'll still be hard work, especially around exam times and during clerkship) and finish in 6 years with a job anywhere you want helping people, which in of itself is quite rewarding. Also consider that the debt we take on is significantly lower than in the US, which makes this a financially sound choice- I certainly wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't in Canada (also, family physicians are paid much more here than in the states).

And once you're there, immediately switch over to part-time work, work for 2-3 days a week, make higher than the average Canadian household income, and have the rest of the week for your passions/interests. Or be a hospitalist and work 7 days on, 7 days off and have every other week off for what makes you happier than medicine. Or do emergency med and work what turns out to be 6 months out of the year and still make more than any other full time job. Or open your own clinic and take on 12 hour days if you want and then go to the hospital afterwards to round if that's your thing. The amount of flexibility is unprecedented. Yes, you can begin making a salary that rivals a physicians' take-home (after billing, overhead, taxes) in data science or finance or whatever, but you'll still probably be working 50-60 hours a week until the day you retire.

Look, I don't think you will ever get through a surgical residency or even an internal medicine residency (80 hour work weeks on top of studying on top of 4 day 24hr call = no free time, no social life, no sleep...for 5 years) without some underlying passion- the people who *do* have the passion almost all burn out and become husks of themselves those 3-7+ years. I already know that's not the life I want or desire, I don't care how interesting I think one particular body system is.

Re: residency. I've heard mixed things about family med residencies. One thing I will say for sure is that the vast majority of the programs are less intense than your average specialty. I believe the fam med with a +1 in emergency med is actually quite stressful and in its own boat. Other +1s or more prestigious family med programs might be similar in that regard. If you're rural, you might have a lot more hours simply because they just need the manpower (just like a family doc in a rural setting works 60+ hours a week because who else is gonna serve the entire community?). And finally, don't forget it's two years compared to the 3-7+ in other specialties. I can take 80 hour work weeks on no sleep for two years, but 5? Forget it.

Re: being a good doctor- you still need to know enough to pass, which means you need to understand and critically apply the information to achieve at least a 70% grade. A lot of what we learn in med school becomes completely irrelevant for the specialty you choose. You'll know enough to be a good doctor so long as you have all the other necessary traits- compassion, empathy, the ability to refresh on material and learn new material over the years, etc. Again, if you have no "passion" to the point where you're going to be a bad doctor (rude to your patients, harming them, etc.) and miserable all day, then no, don't do it.

Anyways, PM me if you want to talk more. I completely empathize with your position, and I know more than anyone there's an enormous shortage of people in our field who share the same worries (at least premeds and pre-M3s; more join our boat when they realize medicine isn't really their ~dream come true~).

You will do off service rotations in your family medicine residency. Its not 2 yrs of running walk-in clinics from 9-5. You will be doing surgery, internal medicine, obs/gyne and will do the call that is associated with those specialties.

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1 hour ago, Butterfly_ said:

It’s kind of sad when there’s so many people who dream to be doctors only to get their spot beaten by someone who thinks of it as purely a job. Lack of passion can easily lead to job dissatisfaction and burnout.l. I’ve seen some really burnout doctors and they hate coming to work. Getting stuck working or learning from them is freaking horrible , for everyone—patients, nurses, medical admin, learners, colleagues etc.

Also the concept of “coasting” through medicine is just freaking aggravating. It’s this kind of attitude that creates shitty doctors.

furthermore, don’t underestimate the difficulties of family medicine. It’s an amazing specialty that requires ALOT of work and relationship building.

So please do something else and leave the spot to someone who is passionate.

Sorry, but how badly you want something has very little correlation with whether or not you "deserve" it over any other applicant and certainly not whether you'll be any good at it. Many people dream about becoming famous actors or singers, too, and they are constantly beaten out by the millions of others who share the same dream as well as those who were just sort of given the opportunity. Barring nepotism/unfair advantages, it's neither fair nor unfair, it's just the way it is. Sad, fine, but it's foolish to suggest that you need to be bouncing up and down at the thought of practicing medicine to be any more qualified to be a good doctor than someone who sees it as simply a job. You wouldn't trust an engineer who is building a bridge that will support dozens of cars over a river because he sees his job as simply a job? I don't care whether or not he's passionate about calculating the load a bridge can take. I care that he's able to effectively do his job. I know plenty of people I spent undergrad with who wanted nothing more than to be doctors who would be downright awful at it, either because they're not very good at being empathetic, or because they simply weren't very good at science. It is sad that they can't fulfill their dreams, yes, but I'd rather have a doctor who had the academic rigour necessary to properly diagnose me than someone who was admitted simply because they are "so intensely passionate about helping others and practicing medicine." If it comes down to two people at the top of the interview list, then yes, it's a coin flip, but there's a 99% chance they're equally capable and deserving regardless of their differing passion.

From personal anecdotes as well as dozens of hours reading into this, doctors who hate coming to work are usually those who are trapped by debt (not an enormous problem after a couple of years of practice in Canada), those in inhumanely demanding residencies or specialities that I personally will never go near, and those who went into it thinking it was their predestined magical fate and get slapped by the harsh bureaucratic and futile reality of medicine (hint: it's not all that great, no matter how much ~passion~ you have).

Anyways, I'm not sure why the idea of "coasting" aggravates you? I prefaced that several times in my previous posts by saying it's still a LOT of hard work. There's still an enormous volume of material to learn and getting a 70% means you know the majority of it. Just because I'm not going to subscribe to the ridiculous notion that my entire life needs to be living and breathing medicine and studying at every second or doing observerships or research or extra readings or extra time in the clinic et cetera doesn't mean I'm going to make a bad doctor. I don't need that stuff for the job I want to do, so why do it? That's exactly the kind of awful rhetoric that lead to the foolish idea that we need to be martyrs for our patients and for the art of medicine. The same ideals and notions that hospital admins (who love the incredibly cheap resident labour) and attendings (who went through the same thing and are bitter and want to dish it out on the next generation) perpetuate that lead to the inhumane residencies, the 80 hour work weeks, the day after day of 24-hour call with no sleep, the extremely high burnout, depression, job dissatisfaction, and suicide. Almost every other field has invariably better work-life balance- why can't we? I have a life outside of medicine and I enjoy it very much and you're damn right I'm not going to spend one second longer than I need to learning to be a good doctor. If that aggravates you, then I really don't care, and you're exactly part of the problem I dreaded when I thought about a career in medicine.

Medicine is a job. For some it's a passion, for others a calling, but at the end of the day, it's a job. A stable, high paying one that requires a lot of training, intelligence, and discipline. There's ample time to kick out bad seeds, either during the extremely competitive admissions process, during medical school, residency... *especially* in today's hypercompetitive system. If you're in an MD program, and especially if you successfully complete residency, it means you more likely than not have the skills and character required to be a good doctor. I highly doubt anyone who would genuinely make a bad doctor could brute force their way through premed, volunteering/ECs, the MCAT, applications, ethics tests, interviews, med school, and residency. But if you think everybody in medicine is just teeming with constant uncontainable passion and excitement, you're sorely mistaken and living in quite an idyllic world.

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12 minutes ago, gangliocytoma said:

You will do off service rotations in your family medicine residency. Its not 2 yrs of running walk-in clinics from 9-5. You will be doing surgery, internal medicine, obs/gyne and will do the call that is associated with those specialties.

From personal anecdotes, it's not like that for every FM residency program. But sure, it's true for others. The difference is it's not a constant like in other residencies, and it's 2 years instead of 5-7. Anyone can probably suck it up and force their way through that for two years, but five is just... I don't know how people do it. I very much value sleep.

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2 minutes ago, whatdoido said:

From personal anecdotes, it's not like that for every FM residency program. But sure, it's true for others. The difference is it's not a constant like in other residencies, and it's 2 years instead of 5-7. Anyone can probably suck it up and force their way through that for two years, but five is just... I don't know how people do it. I very much value sleep.

Which schools' FM residencies are more manageable? What's the structure at those programs?

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12 minutes ago, whatdoido said:

Sorry, but how badly you want something has very little correlation with whether or not you "deserve" it over any other applicant and certainly not whether you'll be any good at it. Many people dream about becoming famous actors or singers, too, and they are constantly beaten out by the millions of others who share the same dream as well as those who were just sort of given the opportunity. Barring nepotism/unfair advantages, it's neither fair nor unfair, it's just the way it is. Sad, fine, but it's foolish to suggest that you need to be bouncing up and down at the thought of practicing medicine to be any more qualified to be a good doctor than someone who sees it as simply a job. You wouldn't trust an engineer who is building a bridge that will support dozens of cars over a river because he sees his job as simply a job? I don't care whether or not he's passionate about calculating the load a bridge can take. I care that he's able to effectively do his job. I know plenty of people I spent undergrad with who wanted nothing more than to be doctors who would be downright awful at it, either because they're not very good at being empathetic, or because they simply weren't very good at science. It is sad that they can't fulfill their dreams, yes, but I'd rather have a doctor who had the academic rigour necessary to properly diagnose me than someone who was admitted simply because they are "so intensely passionate about helping others and practicing medicine."

From personal anecdotes as well as dozens of hours reading into this, doctors who hate coming to work are usually those who are trapped by debt (not an enormous problem after a couple of years of practice in Canada), those in inhumanely demanding residencies or specialities that I personally will never go near, and those who went into it thinking it was their predestined magical fate and get slapped by the harsh bureaucratic and futile reality of medicine (hint: it's not all that great, no matter how much ~passion~ you have).

Anyways, I'm not sure why the idea of "coasting" aggravates you? I prefaced that several times in my previous posts by saying it's still a LOT of hard work. There's still an enormous volume of material to learn and getting a 70% means you know the majority of it. Just because I'm not going to subscribe to the ridiculous notion that my entire life needs to be living and breathing medicine and studying at every second or doing observerships or research or extra readings or extra time in the clinic et cetera doesn't mean I'm going to make a bad doctor. I don't need that stuff for the job I want to do, so why do it? That's exactly the kind of awful rhetoric that lead to the foolish idea that we need to be martyrs for our patients and for the art of medicine. The same ideals and notions that hospital admins (who love the incredibly cheap resident labour) and attendings (who went through the same thing and are bitter and want to dish it out on the next generation) perpetuate that lead to the inhumane residencies, the 80 hour work weeks, the day after day of 24-hour call with no sleep, the extremely high burnout, depression, job dissatisfaction, and suicide. Almost every other field has invariably better work-life balance- why can't we? I have a life outside of medicine and I enjoy it very much and you're damn right I'm not going to spend one second longer than I need to learning to be a good doctor. If that aggravates you, then I really don't care, and you're exactly part of the problem I dreaded when I thought about a career in medicine.

Medicine is a job. For some it's a passion, for others a calling, but at the end of the day, it's a job. A stable, high paying one that requires a lot of training, intelligence, and discipline. There's ample time to kick out bad seeds, either during the extremely competitive admissions process, during medical school, residency... *especially* in today's hypercompetitive system. If you're in an MD program, and especially if you successfully complete residency, it means you more likely than not have the skills and character required to be a good doctor. I highly doubt anyone who would genuinely make a bad doctor could brute force their way through premed, volunteering/ECs, the MCAT, applications, ethics tests, interviews, med school, and residency. But if you think everybody in medicine is just teeming with constant uncontainable passion and excitement, you're sorely mistaken and living in quite an idyllic world.

M1 here; I agree with you completely. I don't subscribe to the notion that my life must revolve around my patients and communities. It's a fantastic career that can be enjoyed without an undying passion for (or obsession with) medicine. God forbid you prioritize your family and kids.

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On 9/16/2020 at 9:33 PM, whatdoido said:

Sorry, but how badly you want something has very little correlation with whether or not you "deserve" it over any other applicant and certainly not whether you'll be any good at it. Many people dream about becoming famous actors or singers, too, and they are constantly beaten out by the millions of others who share the same dream as well as those who were just sort of given the opportunity. Barring nepotism/unfair advantages, it's neither fair nor unfair, it's just the way it is. Sad, fine, but it's foolish to suggest that you need to be bouncing up and down at the thought of practicing medicine to be any more qualified to be a good doctor than someone who sees it as simply a job. You wouldn't trust an engineer who is building a bridge that will support dozens of cars over a river because he sees his job as simply a job? I don't care whether or not he's passionate about calculating the load a bridge can take. I care that he's able to effectively do his job. I know plenty of people I spent undergrad with who wanted nothing more than to be doctors who would be downright awful at it, either because they're not very good at being empathetic, or because they simply weren't very good at science. It is sad that they can't fulfill their dreams, yes, but I'd rather have a doctor who had the academic rigour necessary to properly diagnose me than someone who was admitted simply because they are "so intensely passionate about helping others and practicing medicine." If it comes down to two people at the top of the interview list, then yes, it's a coin flip, but there's a 99% chance they're equally capable and deserving regardless of their differing passion.

From personal anecdotes as well as dozens of hours reading into this, doctors who hate coming to work are usually those who are trapped by debt (not an enormous problem after a couple of years of practice in Canada), those in inhumanely demanding residencies or specialities that I personally will never go near, and those who went into it thinking it was their predestined magical fate and get slapped by the harsh bureaucratic and futile reality of medicine (hint: it's not all that great, no matter how much ~passion~ you have).

Anyways, I'm not sure why the idea of "coasting" aggravates you? I prefaced that several times in my previous posts by saying it's still a LOT of hard work. There's still an enormous volume of material to learn and getting a 70% means you know the majority of it. Just because I'm not going to subscribe to the ridiculous notion that my entire life needs to be living and breathing medicine and studying at every second or doing observerships or research or extra readings or extra time in the clinic et cetera doesn't mean I'm going to make a bad doctor. I don't need that stuff for the job I want to do, so why do it? That's exactly the kind of awful rhetoric that lead to the foolish idea that we need to be martyrs for our patients and for the art of medicine. The same ideals and notions that hospital admins (who love the incredibly cheap resident labour) and attendings (who went through the same thing and are bitter and want to dish it out on the next generation) perpetuate that lead to the inhumane residencies, the 80 hour work weeks, the day after day of 24-hour call with no sleep, the extremely high burnout, depression, job dissatisfaction, and suicide. Almost every other field has invariably better work-life balance- why can't we? I have a life outside of medicine and I enjoy it very much and you're damn right I'm not going to spend one second longer than I need to learning to be a good doctor. If that aggravates you, then I really don't care, and you're exactly part of the problem I dreaded when I thought about a career in medicine.

Medicine is a job. For some it's a passion, for others a calling, but at the end of the day, it's a job. A stable, high paying one that requires a lot of training, intelligence, and discipline. There's ample time to kick out bad seeds, either during the extremely competitive admissions process, during medical school, residency... *especially* in today's hypercompetitive system. If you're in an MD program, and especially if you successfully complete residency, it means you more likely than not have the skills and character required to be a good doctor. I highly doubt anyone who would genuinely make a bad doctor could brute force their way through premed, volunteering/ECs, the MCAT, applications, ethics tests, interviews, med school, and residency. But if you think everybody in medicine is just teeming with constant uncontainable passion and excitement, you're sorely mistaken and living in quite an idyllic world.

I see you’re quite upset. I apologize if I was being offensive.

You’re taking what I said to some extremes that I’ve never meant. Some of the points you said I also agree you.

Firstly, I’m sure there are more than enough passionate people out there who are also intelligent, empathetic, and capable enough to do the job. I feel sorry for them because I think these people truly deserve a spot.

I never said I that one’s life should revolve around medicine. Coasting me to means slacking off and not being interested—you have no idea how frustrating it is to work with someone that doesn’t give a shit. Also brings the morale of the team down.

I agree that work life balance is crucial and no one is asking anyone to be a matyr. Personally, I always put my family first. Not sure why you thought I would think otherwise?

I am in medicine and the sad reality is there is a lot of people here without passion. Hence why I said what I said. There's also a lot of bad seeds. The system does a very poor job of weeding anything out. Honestly, getting into medicine is more about luck than merit. I just feel very lucky and fortunate to be here. 

I find that passionate doctors care more about their patients and are overall happier people.

I’ve had many “jobs” in my life time and they really sucked.  Doing something without passion was so depressing for me. It took me 6 years to find out what I really wanted to do and it’s medicine. 

Lastly, I disagree about medicine being “just a job”. Medicine, like any job, will pervade your life in many different ways.

Is medicine your first career? If it is, I hope it’s the right “job”  for you. If not, that’s okay too. I hope you’ll find something that you love to do one day. Good luck.
 

 

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1 hour ago, ChemPetE said:

Theres a lot of psychology evidence to show that passion is developed and cultivated, and not just born.

Agree. I grew up thinking I wanted to be a baker and that didn’t work out. So I went into investment banking, made lots of money, and didn’t like that either. For a lot of people, it’s takes a lot of personal growth and self awareness to find what they really want to do in life. 

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I always find discussions of "passion" interesting.

The reality is that, in my experience working in different settings, many people do not find a job (let alone a career) which they can say fits their "passions". Many in my undergrad cohort are struggling with this as the realities of finding a job, any job, conflicts with the advice they've heard to "find their passion". Ultimately life doesn't owe you anything, let alone a job that "suits your passions". I dont think there's anything wrong with recognizing that your work, even in a professional field, doesn't need to be your passion. The whole idea is very individualistic to me. A large part of why I jumped through the hoops to get in was for others, not some idealized future patients, but my current (and hopefully future) family, and I can't be alone in this. They didn't push or pull, but that security and stability of (many types of) Medicine is something else, and I see nothing wrong with recognizing this and how that provides a fantastic career when all around me I see people struggling with unemployment, dead end jobs, and the like. When i think of the sacrifices my grandparents and parents made I find it hard to make life decisions solely focused on "my passions".

You can argue that professional fields are different, but how different? How many lawyers have a passion for transactional litigation? How many accountants love doing audits? Im sure there are some, but many people do view their professions as something interesting, but not as their primary "passion". Anecdotal, I know, but of the half dozen accountants I know all have a major hobby that consumes off time. 

I think part of this is (limited) survivorship guilt. Getting in is so tough that you cant help but look around at the people you know who didnt make it and feel a little strange being one of those that "made it". I feel somewhat similar to whatdoido when I look around. I have friends who have built their life around getting into medicine, for nothing as of yet. On the flip side I never did anything that "forced me" into that groove (no Health Sci degree/no MPH/none of my ECs and jobs are directly health related) and yet here I am, a first cycle admit MS1 when I know there are people going into round 3+ with no luck. Its hard not to feel a little strange about that. In a way I can understand some of the bitterness I see towards the first cycle medical students. When you're surrounded by people who mumble the social determinants of health in their sleep and seem hyper focused it does feel strange to have crossed the line while dabbling in other areas and not demonstrating a narrow focus. Perhaps that's a good thing though in the end, time will tell. 

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17 hours ago, whatdoido said:

What about family med? Just aim to pass in med school, the residency is much, much less grueling than most other specialties, and you can work part time forever and still make well above the average Canadian income. Is the 6-year training that hard if you're aiming to coast?

I think it's a little more simple than that. If you hate what you do. It'll be more difficult to do than if you enjoyed the same task. Getting up in the morning is hard enough if you don't wanna go somewhere, I think the same applies here 

 

If you're gonna do something for the rest of your life, why not enjoy it. If you don't that's fine too, plenty of people don't. If you do enjoy, that's awesome.

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It is just a job but since you spend a lot of time at it (be it via training, studying, and then actually working) you might as well find ways to enjoy it.

I am grateful to be doing something that I enjoy doing and getting paid for it. It makes me a lot less miserable to be around. I was lucky that something I was passionate about could be connected with a career in medicine. Thus, I didn't have to be passionate about medicine itself (because I am not) but I am passionate about the word I am so lucky to be able to do and actually be remunerated for it.

Believe me...even in my specialty, there were rotations I really wasn't into and there were others that I loved, and others that I thought I'd love and was quite disappointed once I started to do the actual work.

Nice thing about medicine is there is almost always a niche for everyone. The difficulty is finding it.

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 30 year grad/ practitioner, former uni instructor and ad com member here, borrowing a member's account to comment. Let me say that from every aforementioned perspective of mine, passion in applicants and practitioners is key- our patients deserve no less. 

As a practitioner, the difference between those of us who love what we do and those who do not, rests primarily with whether or not we quite literally 'love' what we do. Loving what you do requires passion- yes it does. For those entering this career with the attitude that 'it's a job' but that they will nonetheless be truly dedicated to it to the extent required to be an excellent practitioner in our Canadian system, you are doing your prospective patients and the profession a disservice. I see far too many that are in this for all the wrong reasons- money, prestige- who are burned out and resentful, and complacent in their practice. Are those characteristics you as a patient wish in your physician?  Our system requires extraordinary dedication and long, irregular hours given we could use many more of almost every specialty to meet Canada's needs, and I've yet to see the confluence of a satisfied, dedicated and excellent practitioner and one who chose medicine because 'it's a job'. If you lack passion, you will in all likelihood succumb to burnout, dissatisfaction and that will reflect in your practice. 

As an instructor/ ad com member, I can say that we are inundated with ample academically qualified applicants, and we ought to begin screening for demonstrated dedication and passion to healthcare from amongst them. Over my career, I have seen an evolution in the attitudes of  medical students which has brought us to exactly where we are now- too many in this for all the wrong reasons. I see far too many students who look at medicine as what it can do for / "owes" them,  ( money, prestige, 'regular' hours....) rather than what they can do for it.  I have taught students who say they "like medicine", but "not the not patients"- preposterous, yes, and entirely too common now. The profession and those we serve ( who, I might add, also pay us) deserve much more. 

So please, to those of you with whom this is resonating, leave the competition for those who would are both academically qualified and passionate. Given the numbers of applicants to medicine, there is no reason whatsoever our system can't have both. I have two children, both of whom thought they would like to become physicians. My son, quite honestly, for all the wrong reasons- and I steered him away. He is now happily studying finance where he can dedicate himself to making all the money in the world. On the other hand, when my daughter, who is a compassionate and caring soul, expressed her interest in medicine, I encouraged her to do her undergrad in a health profession, for exposure to healthcare both as practice and as a system. She has proven to herself now as an RN  to those with whom she works, and to those she serves, and she is ready to begin medical studies for all the right reasons.

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