Throughout my premed and medical training, I’ve been deluged with a steady stream of negative thoughts regarding medicine as a career from outspoken, burnt-out physicians. To this day, nine years since I’ve finished my residency in family medicine, I remain passionately opposed to this sentiment. I’ve seen statistics and mathematical calculations painting a dark picture of the financial, personal and professional world of today’s physician, overwhelmed with debt, administrative nightmares, declining reimbursement, legislative red tape, and other headaches. Nonsense! I couldn’t be happier. I have an ideal work/life balance and a wholly satisfying career.
Surely, geography matters when it comes to your income and cost of living. San Francisco is a beautiful and costly place to live to live if you’re a family physician or an investment banker. That’s one reason I live in the Midwest where I’m making far more money than I had anticipated as a family physician working four days per week.
What about job security? It’s a fact I could pick up and move anywhere in the U.S. or even abroad and instantly be in demand.
Every day, I work I help each of my patients make impactful decisions. Sometimes these decisions are small and affect a temporary or self-limited symptom. Sometimes they involve life and death matters. In my clinic, every patient visit is meaningful for us both. Being a physician is the greatest honor and privilege in my life. There is no question this career is a gift from God.
Andrew Cunningham is a family physician.
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