How Physicians Decide to Become Doctors

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

decision to become a doctor dike drummond optTell us how and when you made decision to become a physician

In October of 2013 I asked this question to the 2000 doctors who were then subscribers to the HappyMD newsletter. This page houses their stories.

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"Decision to Become a Doctor" Story

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Here's my story ...

My great grandfather was a physician in the depression in E. St. Louis, Illinois. My grandmother and mother were both inspired to become physicians by his example ... and each was diverted into becoming teachers during their college career.

I was born the first male grandchild with this three generation aspiration to medicine. The two strong women in my life never pushed me to medicine and the old desires were still in place.

When I graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in Biology I knew I did not want to get a masters degree ... that meant working in a lab, something that seemed so boring at the time. I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I will just apply to the best medical schools I can think of ... and if I get accepted ... well, I would think about it.

I got accepted at Mayo ... and the rest is history.

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My mum has progressive multiple sclerosis and from an early stage was involved in her care. I am from a farming background and an only child, but was attracted to involvement in a profession caring for other people. Dad acknowledged my academic skills and encouraged me into going to university. With support and advice from my careers team in high school, I opted to go to med school.

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During my science degree I did volunteer work in Honduras and had the opportunity to visit a hospital. I come from a family of teachers, but I knew I wanted to do something that would help the people I met in that hospital. It is now 25 years later (5 kids, a PhD and medical training later...) I practice Internal medicine and Endocrinology in my home town. Next year I will be going back to Honduras- hopefully to help. It's a great career we have!

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My father was an internist, who made a good living, and was free most weekends to spend time with his family. He told me that his mother had told him to be a doctor. He was the youngest of five children who were all science oriented; 2 engineers, a pharmacist and (my aunt) a lab technologist. My brother and sister and I all benefitted from the newly created "gifted" education in our schools. My sister did not thrive on science and math, like my brother and I did. My brother, 3 years older, never talked about wanting to be a doctor. But then he applied and although brilliant, only got in at one school. My mom felt he had been too cocky at his interviews (store that idea for later).

In high school, I fell in love with biology. I was looking toward veterinary medicine, to work with zoos or chimps or dolphins. I was unsure of myself socially, and worried I would not be good at persuading patients to follow my prescribed plan. Then I went to a smaller, elite college, where there were lots if smart people like me.

My social confidence increased, and I majored in biology with a concentration in genetics. Many friends were premed, and I eventually shifted toward human medicine and development. In med school, however, I found that medical genetics was a sad place in the 1980's. We were just starting prenatal genetic diagnosis. We could diagnose some genetic diseases and syndromes, and plan supportive care only. Frustrated, I went into general pediatrics, which I have loved.

Then came the human genome project and its broad sweeping findings. Then epigenetics and genomics. I get excited reading about all if these areas of progress in understanding and diagnosing genetic diseases. Then, the mother of one of my patients with Lieber's Amaurosis asked if there were any new discoveries for her disease. By then, we had the Internet, and I found an article about gene therapy getting partial success. I told the family where they were doing the research so she could contact them. This is what I had hoped to be doing years ago!

So now I am thinking towards the future. Retirement age is still far enough away, that I am considering a move into human genetics. However, I am not so young and have a family to support, so I have to wait until I can work it out financially. Speaking of family, my 15 year old son is already working with DNA in his AP biology class. But I kvell at each news article related to genetics just biding my time until I can join the newsmakers.

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My parents were Holocaust survivors, the only members of their respective families to live through genocide. They wanted me to be able to make a living doing something practical under ANY government I wound up living under. They pushed me to be a pharmacist, because pharmacists had a good survival rate in the concentration and death camps, being pulled out to work in clinics. Also, it was a profession which could be studied relatively quickly, so I could be through school by the time WW3 erupted.

I didn't want to be a pharmacist, because in the inner city where we lived, pharmacists were always shot for narcotics while their stores were being robbed. I thought optometry was a good choice. In keeping with the "get through quickly" plan, I skipped grades in primary school, junior high and high school. I excelled at everything, especially biology. I planned to do the minimum of college, 2 years with 60 credits of science and apply for early admission to optometry school.

Fate intervened. I was accepted at an Ivy League college. After my first 10 days at the university, I told my parents that my plan had changed and I wanted to finish college. I was dazzled by the options that I saw even in those few days and wanted to take advantage of them.

Well, I didn't take 4 years to finish college, shooting thru quickly per usual so I graduated at 18. During college, I did research in several prestigious labs and had to decide between a doctorate in mammalian genetics versus going into medicine. Survival options would be better for a physician than a biology researcher and there you have it. An 18 year old college grad applied to and was accepted to medical school. Per usual, I did it in 3 years instead of 4. I'm still running for my life.

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While still in high school, I did an aptitude test which said I could "do anything" which didn't help the career decision-making process. My 11th grade English teacher said that she thought I would "make a good doctor" so I applied for medicine based on that. The rest, as they say, is history!

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My parents were both doctors and one tried to talk me out of it, and the other said I had to make mY own decision. I decided this was what I wanted to do when I was 14 and worked my teenage years and thro medical school to get there. I never really thought of any other careers once I was 14, I was good at science and I liked people and wanted to do something in public service. (I am in the UK where we are fortunate to have a social model of healthcare).

Once I got there I realized I was actually much more interested in strategic change, leadership, and making the system better. I'm still a doctor but a public health physician specializing in improving the quality of health services. My friends from school all earn a much bigger salary to me but I find meaning and purpose in my work and whilst it is a very very hard career choice, It was the right one for me. I tell my 12 y o daughter not to be a doctor though! Female Age 41.

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I grew up in a small rural town, I was an average student without a clue what I was going to do. I found a pamphlet in the guidance office about the health related professions. This started my pursuit in direction of a career in health care. I spent the next 3 years working toward an associates in applied science, radiologic technology (aka x-ray technician). I excelled in this environment, I finished top in my class but I was 19 and even before I started my first job I knew I needed/wanted to do more. I dabbled in thoughts of a degree in marine biology and went as far as getting accepted into a program with a scholarship.

Then one day I was working as an x-ray tech and a patient came in for an IVP procedure. She was a young woman with a large tumor in her abdomen. The IVP was for pre-operative localization of the ureters. We spent most of the day together as her ureters were obstructed and it was a waiting game. She was not very comfortable and there were moments of deep compassion and intimacy. During this time I felt a strong connection with this person and a strong desire to do more. It was after that day that I decided I wanted to be a doctor. The decision was one to be processed.

Around this time MRI was just becoming popular, it was new and exciting and I had applied for a job as an MRI tech. I made the decision going into the job interview that if I did not get the job I would go to medical school. Fortunately there were other applicants with much more experience than me and I did not get the job. At that point the decision was made and I never looked back.

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Both of my parents encouraged me when I was in high school. My father, a teacher, historian, scientist, POW survivor, said being a physician was the most independent profession anywhere. It was where science had the most practical application. My mother, a teacher herself, said that only the smartest students went into medicine, and that I had what it took.

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I used to hate doctors because when I was 6 my dad died in the hospital and doctors said it was a medical mistake (made by others of course). He was 31. I always wished to be an architect than a chemical and at the end when I was about to finish school I abruptly decided to study medicine, because I was interested in how humans work and above all I was interested in energetic medicine like ayurveda and acupuncture.

I continued for a long time during university to think I would have never be a physician, I just wanted to learn theory... but I felt in love with internal and emergency medicine...I'm am an emergency physician now and acupuncturist too...

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I really wasn't thinking, as much as following a path I was called to at a very young age. To this day I cannot explain it, outside of direction from God. There was never an allure of money or prestige, and frankly, looking back, I never planned on how to optimize my chances to get into medical school. Unsure if that was a good thing or not, I can only say with certainty, that I just always knew it was what I was supposed to do.

No hoopla, no intensity, I just "knew." In a way, it was the only thing if certainty I had in my life. The certainty felt from outside if me, as if I was guided.

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I like to tell myself I decided to try to go to medical school out of pragmatism and a search for security, but it had a romantic idealist side too. I am the youngest of three and my father died when I was young, leaving our mother to raise us to be stoic, strong and never rely on anyone else – especially not us girls. No one in the family on either side had even graduated from college, but my generation was encouraged, even expected to do so.

When a high school biology teacher confessed on career day that he’d wanted to be a doctor but hadn’t made it into med school, a seed of desire to do something so challenging that even this early mentor hadn’t been able to achieve it was planted. I set my goal, chose a college and a major that was purely practical, worked part time through the year and full time every summer, took the bus, saved money voraciously for my med school tuition fund and set about making my goal a reality. I told myself I’d certainly find something else equally practical if I failed to get into medical school, maybe become a teacher like my mentor before me.

But at the same time I started reading novels and stories about medicine and doctors – about the high drama, the emotions, the nuanced art of communicating with people in crises, the excitement of medical emergencies and the sense of contributing something truly valuable.

When the acceptance letter finally came, I thought I’d feel a sense of satisfaction, but in actuality I was filled with the unexpected – real joy.

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My father was a doctor. People always treated him with a lot of respect, both his patients and all people who knew him. He helped everyone who needed his services, whether he was paid for it or not. He had a passion for medicine and for helping people. He also valued honesty and integrity. For all these values, I admired him and I wanted to be just like him.

In summary, I wanted people to need me and be grateful for what I can do for them. Honesty and integrity are still more important than money for me.

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When I was a teenager I read many books including books about madam Curie, Pasteur, and Lister. I went to college with a science, biology, chemistry, math concentration. I loved to learn and realized I was smart. I wanted to use my brains and science talent in some very useful way My college BS degree was in medical technology. I just loved the science, chemistry, microbiology.

But when I started studying about the science behind the lab tests, and met a few patients, I knew I could not spend my life in a laboratory. So when my physician father suggested that I go to medical school to follow him, my mother, and my older brother, my decision had already been made.

My medical school interviews were horrific. One interviewer( actually a 4th yr med student was very rude and confronted me about being a woman and what would happen if in medical school , I met someone and was married with children!

Another MD interviewer asked me to interpret a painting in the wall in his office!

(That was difficult since I had only science and no art background!) I had no difficulty getting into medical school and getting through with high grades.

When I was a medical resident, infectious disease were so challenging, and I noticed that the attending infectious disease MD were so smart and could figure almost anything out in very sick ICU patients It is no surprise that I specialize in infectious diseases and just love what I am doing.

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It's ironic that my Dad (an Internist) discouraged me from going into medicine, although my older brother was already in med school. He remembers the difficulties when Medicare was enacted. This was the early 80's and HMO's were just starting. He said that there was just too much interference in the practice of medicine. Thirty years later....Obamacare: designed to fail so that we go to single payer system as a rescue from disaster. I'm going to stick it out for now, though.

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I decided to become a doctor, to go after my mother and my grandfather. A doctor in Russia was a respected man. Time has passed. Much has changed. The work of a doctor in Russia appreciated very little. Patients considered something of a free medical service staff. And therefore had to move to the Middle East.

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"A Wall of Books"

As a kid, there were three things I liked to do: ride horses, climb trees, and read books.

In his study at home, my physician father had a wall covered in bookshelves. It was full of big heavy books. Occasionally I would sneak one down and look through it. I say "sneak" because I knew my father didn't like me to read them, he was afraid the contents would scare me - and they did sometimes!

One evening, when I was about 11, I stood looking over the wall of books. I was impressed by their sheer number. I asked: "Have you read all these books?" Dad put down his pipe. He looked almost offended. "Of course," he said. Right then I knew I wanted to do what my father did. I wanted to have a wall of books.

I wanted a job where I would be well paid and well respected and me independent/less dependent on others/society. I was a single mom on welfare when I decided to go to college and be pre-med. It is certainly is true that I have both to some degree. But both are significantly less true than I imagined at the time.

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Well my story is similar my grandfather was a traditional African healer so it was my father desire to have an orthodox physician son so from early age I was encouraged towards this profession in the cold war era the eastern bloc encouraged Nigerians to study in soviet union in my case I had scholarship to study medicine in Bulgaria after my bachelor degree in medicine and surgery I enrolled in residency programs in general surgery my late father liked surgeons it was his wish for me to be one

I was passionate in helping people through surgery during my active service in government medical service I was able to reach the pinnacle chief surgeon CEO two times in two different hospitals now retired at statutory age as stipulated by Nigeria govt presently I do consultancy program in some private hospitals happily married with grown up graduate children I thank God for making my life dream come through Dr. Alfred Kunson

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My family gave zero guidance toward any career choice. I am one of 7 children and it was assumed we would all go to college. My father was an engineer. Mom was a teacher. I knew money was tight so I literally said to myself when I was in 11th grade "Doctor-too expensive an education,,,,Lawyer-no, I don't want to do that....Indian chief -ha ha".

I decided that dentistry would combine a profession of esteem and my artistic side. I was a science major in undergrad and then went to dental school, never realizing how expensive it was going to be. I became overwhelmed with debt. I had so many student loans. I had to drop out after 2 years of dental school because I could not borrow any more money to pay tuition. I finally got another loan and finished ,adding a 5th year.

I joined the military because they offered a job -very little pay, but I did not care because I was penniless with no support. I rapidly developed incapacitating carpal tunnel and had to change careers.

I would not have known what to do, but someone in the military told me to go to medical school. I did. (More expense). I finally finished medical school and residency at the age of 38. Life has been tough but I have paid my way the whole time at the expense of having a family. I feel that I have missed out on the normal family life and development. Because I had NO SUPPORT system. I had to do it all by myself financially and emotionally.

Now in my middle age, I feel cheated. I have neither wealth nor prestige. I have been in medicine now for almost 20 years and I don't know how I will last until legal retirement age. I treat a large number of Medical assistance patients. I had to become an employed doc after the death of my spouse. I feel unfulfilled.

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I was born with duodenal atresia in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1957. I would have died, had a doctor, who had just completed his residency in Pediatric Surgery, not been available to help me.

I also had the good fortune of being anaesthetized by a "crusty old Scot" who was able to perform venous cutdowns. My mother was so grateful that she encouraged me to consider a career in medicine. I was a good student, not brilliant, but I was accepted into medical school after the second application. It was a good thing because I didn't have a plan "B".

It has been 32 years since I graduated and I don't regret my decision. It has been an exciting and and humbling adventure. I am grateful to have been given an opportunity to "give back". I owe my existence to luck and the skill of the medical team who operated on me.

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It was on a solo backpacking trip along the shore of Lake superior when I decided that becoming a doctor would allow me to do something interesting and live in the country if I wished.  There were no doctors in my family and my father suggested that I should consider it but in usual rebellious fashion rejected it mostly because he was suggesting it.[It was only after he had died that I started getting it serious consideration-sad]. 

I thought that I would like the intellectual challenge and stimulation but was not sure I would like working with illness and sick people. 

After 30 years and now a semi--retired family physician it was a great decision, a very good career and I was surprised how much I enjoyed working with people through health and illness. Despite the stresses I strongly recommend it to the younger generation-it can still be a very rewarding path.

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Gosh thanks for asking. It is really important to tell the stories because the stories become the reality, even though maybe, they aren´t. So here is the story I have told since the beginning.

My family was broken by one of the first divorces in a Midwestern town, in 1970. My grandfather and father were general family practice surgeons. I was so drawn to medicine and resolved not to do it, medicine wrecked my mom and dad.

I was born with a calling, to teach people who don´t have access to studies. It´s a revolutionary act, to teach and teach about things that are usually hidden from the unschooled. Who knew how it would unfold.

So I studied chemistry what a good premed major in retrospect. I planned to be a science journalist and write for the masses. And I got a job far away in Washington DC.

And wouldn´t you know it, I lived four blocks from the Washington Free Clinic. This place is one of only two places like it in the U.S. Nonprofessionals learned basic medical skills, and provided services to the uninsured. So there I was a bureaucrat by day adoing Pap smears and STD care in the evenings. For hospital workers who were kept at 25 hours a week so they couldn´t get insurance. In 1982.

Well what is a young bright person to do. Medicine leaped out of my DNA and onto medical school applications. There is for me no more fascinating field, except perhaps the spiritual search. I told the medical schools I would teach health promotors with my education. They must not have believed me.

I was not happy when I got accepted. I was in a bad fix. My resolve weakened. I asked a brave doctor I knew who had taken his practice of medicine into strange new places. He said, Don´t do it unless you have no choice. And I said to myself, I have no choice.

And NOW. 20 years later. I say. Of course I had a choice. Medicine has been for me... I used to say the greatest blessing, but now it takes second place to my people whom I love and who love me. Medicine has taken from me more than I wanted to give, and perhaps it will continue to. But now I live it as a choice. And often I am grateful. I teach rural farmers to be health workers where there is no doctor, in villages and fields. They suture, they treat pneumonia and asthma, they treat diabetes and hypertension. Amazing.

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My great grandfather was a prominent physician in the early 20th century. My mother, who told us she switched from pre-med studies to political science as an undergraduate so she could play field hockey, went back to medical school once I and my siblings were in school. My family life was strongly influenced by her being in medical school and a doctor. I was proud of and inspired by my mother. She grew up in an era of constricted opportunities for women, and her accomplishment seemed personal and cultural.

There were costs, too, of her being a physician, which I experienced in a variety of ways as a child. I was a good student, and academic achievement was prized in my house. In a lot of ways, however, I was unguided and lacked the confidence to pursue science directly as the humanities came so easily to me. My mom's path had been such a struggle - sexism, balancing family and work, debt, a marriage ended - I was ambivalent and for a time, just trying to stay under the radar screen.

It wasn't until after one of my sisters went to medical school and after getting halfway through a doctorate degree in an unrelated field that I decided to apply to medical school. At my best, I see myself as being smart, intuitive, caring and disciplined, and medicine offers me the chance to use these traits in a meaningful way. My husband and I sat with a dear friend dying of AIDS, and his widow, my close friend, also HIV positive, killed herself a year later. This happened the week before my interview at the medical school I would ultimately attend. "This is why you go into medicine," my interviewer said, a kind and simple acknowledgement of the human connection in medicine.

I was also strongly motivated by the prospect of being able to support myself and my family. It seems idealistic to say so now, with debt and regulation and the uncertainty of medicine, but independence was a strong factor in the decision. My husband has been a pillar of support.

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I never had any thought of becoming a physician when young, although my mother was a nurse. Education was always stressed in my family; however rather than go straight on to college I married my HS boyfriend, which ended in divorce 1 year later after my spouse became abusive. This was a very traumatic experience. I was working as an executive secretary when I decided to go on to college, and decided to go into Physical Therapy.

During my first year of courses I began to volunteer at a clinic for children with CP. I became very involved with the children and their families, and did not like the way the Doctor's who came to the clinic treated the parents or the PTs. I decided that I did not want to be bossed around as a Physical Therapist, and wanted to be a Dr. Instead. I decided to dedicate my life to help these children, and decided to go into medicine as a child neurologist.

My parents did not think I would really stick with it, but after 3 years of hard work and unwavering determination I started my training in one of the top programs in the country. I feel that by helping others I have fulfilled God's plan in my life. However, my wish for independence and to never be in an abusive relationship again were also important factors.

I do not regret anything about my career choice, however dealing with the politics and business aspects of practicing medicine has never been my cup of tea. I have taken several years off from practice over the past 30 years to be with my family/children. My sons are very proud to have a mother with my training, and to have 2 parents who have helped so many people over the years.

I am the 1st MD in my family.

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I was working as a laboratory technologist in a small hospital doing 12 hr weekend shifts. Most of my lab orders came from Emergency Room patients. The ER docs were often residents from a local Family Practice program and they allowed me to "round" with them before returning to the lab to run the tests. They and my graduate professors strongly encouraged me to apply to medical school.

I was surprised that I got accepted (since I was 32 years old and had two toddler children). It was one of the greatest days of my life!

I grew up always pretty much wanting to be a doctor, without any real reason. My mom says from an early age, my dad kept saying, "You want to be a doctor when you grow up, don't you?" When I was in my teens I started having some health issues due to a genetic disease (which I won't name because it's rare enough to reveal my identity). I missed a whole year of school, and then did OK long enough to get through undergrad. I was sick of school and decided to hold off on medical school. I wound up in a marriage that went bad quickly and also a resurgence if my health problem,which kept me from working for several years.

In my mid 30's, divorced and with my health under control, I decided it was time. I threw all my time and effort and a ton of money (in the form of student loan debt) at the goal of getting into medical school. I decided I needed a master's to "prove" I was smart enough, since my undergrad grades were only OK. MCAT review course. Two tries to get into medical school. But I got in. I was the oldest in my class. I loved the experience of being in medical school and I did very well.

But then, in residency, it all fell apart. With much less structure to guide my study, I stared to flounder. When I couldn't answer pimping questions correctly, I was accused of not reading. Even though I WAS reading. I couldn't master the technical skill of laparoscopic surgery. If I peed between cases, I might miss the opportunity to meet the patient before they were wheeled into the room and I'd be accused of being lazy. And I felt abused by unreasonably demanding patients. I felt sub-humans as nobody cared if I ate, slept or even peed.

So I quit. I intended to go into anesthesia, but I never could get it together to write my personal statement. I worked a moonlighting job, but lost that job when a handful of nurses decided they didn't like me and filed vague complaints about me. Always anonymously. Never with enough detail for me to piece together what really happened. And nobody in administration was even willing to listen to my side of the story. It was never about patient care issues, it was always that vague "I don't feel comfortable calling Dr X" crap. Luckily I got hired to be a consultant and got out. But then I got laid off. So now I'm doing crappy locum jobs just to pay bills. I have massive student loan debt with little hope it will ever be paid off. I have almost nothing saved for retirement, since I spend so much of my life spending everything I had just to get into this nightmare.

It was bad for me socially as well. When I tell people I meet social settings that I'm a doctor, it completely changes how they interact with me. They label me as "rich" and suddenly say that being around me "makes them feel stupid" simply because they know I'm a doctor. It's been horrible for my dating life because most guys don't want to be with someone that "makes them feel intimidated"

I cannot begin to say how deeply I regret becoming a doctor. I hate it beyond belief. With the increasing regulation, I feel like a drone who is just there to execute an algorithm designed by someone else. With severe penalties for deviation. I'm so tired of walking on eggshells around patients and nurses, not knowing what might trigger them to dislike me and seek to destroy me. I have no other real marketable skills and with my financial situation, I see no way out.

The only way for me to survive is to simply stay numb, and constantly look for signs that my current job is going bad and bail out into another one before they run me out.

What was I thinking when I made the decision to go to medical school? I was thinking that I'd be treated with some respect. I was thinking that I'd be treated like a human being. I was thinking that I'd be helping people instead of simply meeting their demands (big difference) I was thinking I'd get to use what I learned and apply clinical judgment instead of merely being following algorithms. I was thinking this would enhance my life, not destroy it.

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I am Australian and always lived, studied and worked in Australia.

When I was a child I was often very ill with asthma. Some of those episodes were life threatening. Our family had a wonderful general practitioner who would always come out to see me at any hour of the day or night and give me an injection to ease my distress. He usually waited to ensure the injection worked. If my symptoms recurred, he would come out again.

I resolved to do medicine as a result of his example, to help other people as I had been helped.

My maternal grandfather was a blacksmith, my paternal grandfather was a ship painter. My father was a sheet metal worker without formal qualifications. He left school at fourteen during the Great Depression and had to get a job immediately. My mother had wanted to be a doctor, but told me the Great Depression came along, and her father told her he could no longer afford to pay for her to go to medical school. She told me that she then stopped working at school. Some years later, her father said she could now go to medical school but mum said it was too late as she could not catch up her education. No one in my family had anything other than a basic high school education.

At public high school my headmaster, who had taught my father, told me I would never do medicine. One of the great regrets of my life is that he died before I was able to go and show him my medical degree.

When I finished high school my results were not high enough for me to get a Commonwealth scholarship, so I was unable to go to university and study medicine, as my parents could not afford the fees. They offered to let me repeat the final year of high school, but I did not think I could do any better, so decided not to. At that time there was no quota for medical school, apart from achieving a certain standard in the matriculation examination at the end of high school.

I had been very good at accounting in high school, so I decided if I could not do what I wanted to, I would do what I was good at. I got a job, and started studying economics and accounting at night.

At the end of that year, my parents told me that somehow they would find the money for me to study medicine. I applied, and was unsuccessful, as that year a quota was introduced based on marks in the matriculation examination and I just missed out.

I kept studying economics and accounting at night and working during the day.

Four years later our state changed from a five year high school program to a six year program. That meant there were virtually no school leavers. Without telling anyone, I applied for medicine and was successful at the University of Sydney. In due course I graduated in medicine. My wife and both my parents were able to attend my graduation.

Initially I went into general practice, after hospital training. After some years I became an occupational physician. I am now almost retired.

I think I have achieved my life goal of helping others as I had been helped.

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I wanted to be a vet, was really set on it for a long time and did not consider much else, but at a training day (where you could look around at the university) I discovered all the other people who wanted to be a vet were girls who loved to ride horses. I'm much more down to earth and practical, and was very discouraged by the idea to spend the rest of my life between these girly girls. When I went with a friend to a day at the medical university we were in a ' skills lab' where I delivered a baby (in a doll model), and I loved the idea so much that you could help people, it opened my eyes, and I changed my career to human patients.

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I decided to become a doctor when I was fourteen and had a surgical repair of a patent ductus arteriosus.  I remember being fascinated by watching my own cardiac catheterization and walking around the peds unit with my IV pole checking on the other kids in the hospital.  My parents did not finish high school but after the surgery I knew I wanted to be a doctor.  In college, I had a work study job in the research lab of a physician who mentored me.

 

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I had been a farrier by trade until a horse kick sidelined me. During my recovery I decided to finish college. There I decided on a career in (human) medicine after excluding veterinary medicine. I sat for the MCAT, and all went well.

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While I was an academic faculty member, the residency coordinator would give me the application essays written by our new interns during the match process. In December, we gave these essays back to their respective authors as laminated pocket cards. We hoped their own words would help them see how far they had come, and provide a source of inspiration for their ongoing journey.

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There was no push or shove to get me into medicine. In fact, people often told me I'd fail at anything I did. I aimed to please but always fell short at "That's good, sweetie."

I went to school for computer forensics just to get a job. Anything would do so I could help my mom out and still have a little money for myself but then, my mom died when I was 20. It was then that I realized the IT school I was in was all for her. I just wanted to get the fastest job and take care of her. Without her, I moped around for a year before I realized I don't even like computers. I'm just good at them! What I love is being needed and taking care of people.

And thus, I got myself together and BOOM on my way to being a Pediatrician.

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Tags: dike drummond md, decide to become a doctor, decide to become a physician, decision to become a doctor, decision to enter medical school, decide to go into medicine, choose to be a physician, career in medicine


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