• I guess the young ain’t buying physicians’ complaints

    I do a lot of posting on my annoyance at doctors’ complaining a bit too much about their financial and professional problems. I’ve said many times that, even accounting for all the issues, being a doctor is rather rewarding, both personally and financially. Sarah Kliff reports that students agree:

    That’s the number of applicants for medical school spots in 2012. Highest number ever. I don’t think they’re listening to all those physicians telling them what a bad deal being a doctor is.


    • To find the preference, should we instead look at the rate of change of med school applicants as a portion of all applicants, or per total freshmen enrollment ?

    • Being a doc can still be very rewarding, personally and spiritually. But the ongoing reimbursement constrictions are taking their toll on the financial rewards.

      Expectations are a major component. Docs today have seen what they’ve lost. Current med school applicants might be seeing more of the recession, and becoming a doc to them these days may be like being the prettiest at an ugly contest.

      I think that a major component of the increased med school applications is due to the recession. Another may be due to increased central moves toward primary care reward.

    • If you’re talking about the complaints of most specialists, I would agree with you. If you’re dismissing complaints by primary care physicians, you need to get out more.

      I wonder how many of those record applicants will wind up in primary care …

      • No, the complaints I’m talking about are not about practicing, but about money for the most part. You can read what I’ve written.

    • Looks like a pretty linear trend. I wonder what the share of applicants to college graduates looks like.

    • I don’t know why there should be any correlation between medical school admissions statistics and physician complaining. . . which all of us should turn a deaf ear to unless physicians are fighting for the best interests of their patients.

      The relevant variable is the ethos instilled by the attending physicians in rigorous medical training, where you are surrounded by unimaginable SUFFERING..

      We never complained. . . ever. . .ever!! It was totally taboo. At the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and the entire Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, the spoken rule was that if you had time to complain, you weren’t busy enough. . .a problem which the attending easily resolved by assigning even more extreme patient responsibilities on shifts that sometimes started on Saturday AMs at 6 AM and went on continuously until Monday at 6 PM. Many of the Presbyterian attendings were WWII and Korean conflict battle tested. They never complained.

      It is our privilege to serve. .

      Dorothy Calabrese MD
      Allergy & Immunology, San Clemente, CA

    • Out of curiosity, do you have or have you seen a trend in tuition rates for the same decade?

      My classmates and I complain mostly about the associated costs, which for me are currently at 68.5K annually, and we are concerned about the government making changes to loan repayment programs before we have the chance to benefit from them to pay down these debts.

      Frankly, it’s intimidating to face nearly $500,000 debt (once interest and undergraduate debt is included), and mentoring physicians that give great advice otherwise often just hand-wave over this issue.

    • I also discount student debt. I paid 22% interest from 1972-1976 with loans that refinanced every 6 months to start paying the previous loans on over $100,000. i have a severe allergic-immune disorder and therefore joining the military etc was impossible I worked in the clinical Chemistry Lab throughout medical school excep when I was on the every other night rotation which we broken into those insane 3 day stretches where in another 5 hours you’d go psychotic without sleep in most double-blind placebo controlled studies . The monies paid residents were a fraction of what they are now etc.. The tuition at Columbia p & s was very high- and it was still my first choice rather than going to a state school which at that time was much less.

      Medicine is the greatest sport on earth – if you have it in your blood. If one’s passion is money. . . go into finance or law.or. . . the list is long. With an MD, a JD is another 2 years. . . and $500+ and hour follows. .One of my friends at P 7 S did this and then went on to be a neurosurgeon.

      I don’t think that the extreme financial burden is a good thing at all. But I do know that it beats my grandparent’s generation where you had to have money to pay up front or the door to medical school was completely closed..

      I do not believe in COMPLAINING. I never met a truly great doctor that complained except on behalf of his/her patients and on hospital reforms.. I believe in competition and optimizing free market whenever possible in medicine and a strong social safety net. I speak out on that issue passionately.and encourage others to do so.

      Enjoy your medical training! Enjoy the meaningfulness it brings to every part of your life. Enjoy the joy and hope you bring to those who suffer and need you… . .

      Dorothy Calabrese MD
      Allergy & Immunology, San Clemente, CA