Why medical school should start at age 28

Why medical school should start at age 28

Why medical school should start at age 28

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A merican medicine is at a crossroads as doctors begin to reject a cruel, exhausting educational model and a minefield-ridden practice landscape. Hands wring over the worsening physician shortage, yet little happens to ease physicians’ administrative workloads or student loan burdens.

These challenges have led to unacceptably high rates of work-related psychiatric illness and suicide, with physician burnout entering the national lexicon. At the root of some doctors’ anguish and despair has been a sense that medicine is their only option – because it is all they know how to do – rather than a fulfilling job they choose to do.

Indeed, discussing one’s early exit strategy, whether to retirement or to a completely different job, has become all the rage in private online physician communities like Sermo. And doctors in practice for as few as seven years are quitting at an alarming rate, even as baby boomers are filling clinics and hospitals with their complex arrays of medical problems.

While U.S. medicine is in need of immense reform, including intuitive electronic health records and higher pay for primary care, there is something physicians-to-be can do to protect themselves from some of the problems that plague doctors today: spend their formative years working at a first career and meeting their life partners, and wait to begin medical school until age 28.

Why 28? For starters, working for six or seven years after college at a nonmedical job would let doctors put crucial funds into retirement and real estate. For many physicians, part of their current collective disillusionment with medicine is financial. Instead of enjoying incomes proportional to their sacrifices, they tussle on the phone with professional payment deniers at insurance companies and watch as money slips away to paying off massive student loans, licensure fees, and malpractice insurance. Plastic surgeons may buy mansions, but geriatricians clip coupons. It is no wonder that a geriatrician shortage looms.

Cheers and jeers as med school’s Step 1 test becomes pass/fail

Unlike their nonphysician counterparts, who have been growing their nest eggs since their early-to-mid 20s, many physicians worry about having to work past retirement age due to foregoing buying that fixer-upper or missing the years of compounded investment gains accrued from putting money into retirement accounts before starting medical school. http://guaranteedinstallmentloans.com/payday-loans-id/ For students and medical residents with little to no disposable income, the cash flow just doesn’t permit it. But both adult goals can be achieved before starting medical school. The proceeds from selling or renting out that home or the dividends from early investments can help offset the costs of medical school, as can doing work on the side in one’s twenties profession during medical school.

Starting medical school later in life can prevent unrealized dreams and potential, which are sometimes a source of resentment in unhappy doctors who feel trapped. For some people, the 20s are a time of stunning creativity and productivity. Musicians, writers, artists, software engineers, and others must often shelve their obvious talents for the unrelenting timeline of medical education: completing onerous chemistry labs, volunteering in hospitals, studying for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, and the grind of residency. That talent must be allowed time to marry with the incredible energy and neurological magic of the early 20s.

One of my most successful medical school classmates enjoyed international fame with a Taiwanese pop group during his early 20s. Not only did he have money to pay for medical school, but having self-actualized without wondering What if? he was able to study and achieve the level of mastery needed to earn a residency position in orthopedic surgery at a top program that was typically out of reach for graduates of our school.