Reader Responses: If You Were A Doctor.
So after a hundred responses, I categorized everyone’s answers into the following chart. It would appear that most readers want to be some sort of surgeon or internal medicine sub-specialist.
I wanted to take a moment to discuss surgery, not to dissuade but to inform, as it was slowly dawned on us as we entered medical school.
Throughout the country, surgery appears to be the leading career interest for medical students. There is however a growing discrepancy between the number of graduate surgeons we produce and the number of positions that are available. Part of the reason is the economic downturn and the delayed retirement of surgeons; other contributors include the issues of expanded surgery residencies and even political factors. When 30 surgeons must compete for a single position, that is a serious problem.
For many, the salvation is in doing locums for established physicians or to pursue fellowships to brave the drought. The dwindling positions only became a evident within the last few years, long before the current batch of residents would have graduated.
Perhaps in a few more years, the field will open up again. Only time will tell. For now, the reality does not conform with expectation.
As one surgeon described it to me: “The golden age to be a surgeon has passed.”