Is the doctor-making “factory line” the same everywhere? Yep. Pretty much. Here’s why you may not want to attend a big-wig school. Listen to today’s podcast inspired by a letter from this amazing premedical student. Enjoy!
I have shared your work with so many of my premed and physician friends! Thank you, so much! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t dream of my “Ideal Clinic”… thanks to your inspiration!!! I have a strong entrepreneurial background… I think I just needed permission to merge dreams! For now, I’m still a premed. Actually… only three more weeks, and I will have completed all my premed classes, with straight A’s and then some.
I would love some advice: I am a mom (of three boys). They are all taller then me now, which is why I’ve allowed myself to go back to school towards my longtime dream. Dear husband is scheduled to retire in 5 years (quite a bit early)… I haven’t applied to med school yet. The school I’m at has a direct “in” to my local University med school (as long as score well enough on the MCAT).
PROS: * 2-minutes from my house * I don’t have to move (myself, my husband, my children) * weekly clinical hours from day one * I’d be serving my very own community * huge refugee women’s population and hispanic population * tons of familiarity (with the schools, the doctors, the hospitals)
CONS: * not well ranked * not real impressed with a lot of the doctors that come off the med school factory line * facility is not well funded/old tech * I have the grades, the background, and the ability to go to a “big wig” school, but I am feeling pressure to stay local. (Not sure if the pressure is within me, or familial—mom is old, my only brother is here, my boys are here, my husband doesn’t want to move, we’ve spent years renovating our house).
BUT… Am I missing out if I don’t apply to “something better?” Is the doctor-making “factory line” the same no matter where I go? Is where I do my residency more “important” than where I get my MD? (and by “important” I mean: will I get a better education, will it be more effective out in the world, and maybe a little bit of “will people respect my ability to heal” more if I have a fangled degree on my wall)
OR… Do I just have “grass-is-greener-itis?”
I would love your take on this. Thank you so much for any insight you can give me!
All my love and light,
To answer your questions:
1. Am I missing out if I don’t apply to “something better”? NO.
2. Is the doctor-making “factory line” the same no matter where I go? YES (pretty much).
3. Is where I do my residency more “important” than where I get my MD? NEITHER ARE. What’s important is what you DO with your degree and whether you live your dream.
4. Will I get a better education, will it be more effective out in the world, and maybe a little bit of “will people respect my ability to heal” more if I have a fangled degree on my wall? Michelle, people don’t care what you know unless they know that you care. You need TIME to care (which you can’t get in big-box assembly-line medicine). SO . . . your best bet is to cruise through and open your dream clinic ASAP. I’ll totally help you! If anyone else out there needs help just have them contact me here and I’ll walk them through how to do it 🙂
Ok. And here’s some more commentary: Brand-name schools may be helpful if you are trying to climb your way up the ivory tower or become surgeon general or something. When it comes to patient care, no patient that I can remember has ever asked me where I went to medical school, where I did my internship, where I went to residency. Here’s what patients ask, “Can you see me today? I think I have strep throat.” “Do you do Pap smears?” “Can you remove this mole on my shoulder?” I can’t recall any patient ever asking if I’m board certified. I’m not sure patients even understand what my specialty is, whether they know the difference between a general practitioner, a family physician, and an internist. They do know the difference between an assembly-line visit and a doctor who takes time with them.
The MOST important thing you can do for your future is to have a clear vision of your dream clinic and stick with it. Align yourself with others who are living their dreams in medicine. Med school just gives you a little extra tool kit you can use in your practice, You are already a healer. Your heart, your soul, your love, your care is what patients are coming for. With your medical degree you can give them an antibiotic for their strep throat too, prevent cervical cancer, remove a melanoma, save a life. That’s a bonus.
When you practice medicine off the assembly line you’re a better doctor. Healing takes time. Medicine is an art not something you can do in 5-minute increments on a production line. Follow your heart. Be true to your calling. Plaster your vision statement—your dream— on your wall. That is your North Star.
Plus think of all the money you’ll save if you don’t go to a big brand-name school! My medical school (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston) was $900/year when my mom went there is the 1960s, and when I was there in the 1990s it was $5000/year. Now tuition is $16,612 per year now. Still a great deal. Dartmouth, Columbia, and Tufts are all more than $60,000 just tuition (including living expenses in places like NY – that’s $80,000 per year! – over $300,000 just to get a medical degree. Michelle, go with a cheaper school and you’ll save like $200,000.
P.S. Oh, and here’s what a $20,000 diploma looks like 😉 (about the same as a $200,000 diploma)
Pamela Wible, M.D., leads live teleseminars and hot spring retreats to help medical students and physicians live their dreams in medicine. She is author of Pet Goats & Pap Smears and Physician Suicide Letters—Answered.