Completely implicit, but undoubtedly present, exists a hierarchy of careers in the field of healthcare. This scale ranges with physicians at the highest level, followed closely by dentists, pharmacists, physician’s assistants, nurses, and nursing assistants. This hierarchy is truly detrimental to any pre-health student’s passion for healthcare and future career trajectory.

Students aim to reach their highest potential: to work hard and get to the “top.” However, it is difficult for them to achieve their highest potential when the lens through which they are viewing their future career options is tainted with a power struggle. This problem stems from the issue that the “top” is equated to becoming a doctor. Choosing the career with the highest level of education may not equate to the highest level of satisfaction.

Doctors carry the great responsibility of retaining knowledge of diseases, symptoms, and treatments to diagnose patients accurately and effectively. The physician assistant profession ensures that patients are cared for holistically and not just physically. Nurses are skilled in handling the most intimate moments with patients resulting from the vast amount patient contact that the profession requires. Each of these careers are extremely valuable. They each play an important role in the treatment and care of a patient; they could not function without each other.

When asked for her take on the matter and why she chose to pursue a physician’s assistant profession as opposed to a doctor, Jasleen Singh, a senior at Loyola University of Chicago, said “every career has a place in delivering the best healthcare. Nurses, PAs, and doctors all contribute their individualized expertise to provide care that considers a patient’s physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. I greatly admire people who become doctors and dedicate a large portion of their lives to learn about the human body and help the ill. I don’t mean to devalue any aspect of the career, but rather shine light upon on how it can be detrimental to students and other healthcare providers when the career of a doctor is seen as ‘reaching the highest potential’.”

The misconception of a physician as the most valuable professional in the medical field can lead people to choose the wrong future. They are hindered from researching different careers that are better suited for their personality, likes, and dislikes. These career differences do not equate to how important a professional is in a healthcare setting, but rather distribute the heavy expertise needed to deliver the best healthcare possible. To become a doctor, it is important to understand the true meaning of the career and lifestyle that comes with it. Rather than the greed for a spot up in the healthcare hierarchy, the desire to become a physician should be driven by something pure and unique to the individual.