From the Archives

Physician Frustrations: Who will be our future?

By Shanna Combs, MD

This piece was originally published by TMA on Blogged Arteries, a forum for physician opinion and commentary, on February 28, 2018.

shannacombs

I spoke with a young woman recently who is working on her application to medical school. She had the same excitement and nervousness regarding the application process that I had when I began my journey into medicine. Unfortunately, I was disheartened to find out that she had spoken to many physicians who had tried to talk her out of going to medical school and pursuing her dream of becoming a physician. 

I chuckled with her saying I had experienced the same thing. Unfortunately, she was even starting to question her desire to be a physician.

What happened to our field? Why are those of us in practice frequently found telling prospective students not to join our path and seek another one with better pay, better work-life balance, and more appreciation? 

Are there frustrations with the health care system, insurance, and electronic health records? Yes. 

Do we work long hours with minimal acknowledgment of our dedication? Yes. 

Do our years of study and practice get dismissed for the more vaunted Dr. Google? Yes. 

Do we sometimes forget why we even became a doctor? Yes. 

Do we also have the privilege to help patients through some of the most exciting as well as difficult times in their lives? Yes.

I find it an honor to be a physician. Do I deal with all the above concerns mentioned? Yes. 

What happened to our field? Why are those of us in practice frequently found telling prospective students not to join our path and seek another one with better pay, better work-life balance, and more appreciation? 

However, when a patient says thank you for my support during a difficult diagnosis, or I see the tears of joy on the face of a new mom as I hand her her baby for the first time, I remember why I became a doctor.

You can read the full article here.

Shanna Combs, MD, is an obstetrician/gynecologist practicing in Fort Worth. Currently, she is serving as the 2022 president of the Tarrant County Medical Society.

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