In visiting several universities and asking people regarding their choice of major, one field of study seemed to dominate all others with the exception of engineering: Biology. Some would just reply that they are pursuing the “pre-med route” with their final destination being a career in a well-known hospital or health group. When professors in my math, writing, and other classes would ask how many people of a certain major were in the lecture hall, the biology and engineering students took the top place in numbers. Once I began to notice this pattern, I began to wonder why so many people chose to pursue the pre-med route of study.
It was a curious thing: why were these medical students willing to endure the well-known hardships that are encompassed by biology, organic chemistry, and chemistry courses? So I began to ask around, and was very happy to hear that most of the students had a strong desire to help people and to fight the diseases that plague the populations of this world. I also pointed out that the pay was also quite considerable, and most of the students ended up agreeing with me, saying that the income was indeed handsome. I hoped, as a non-pre-med student, that all of the students were sincere when they said that their top priority was being able to give aid to the infirm and give support to their families. While there is no shame or accusation in desiring success and prosperity by means of a secure and high-demand job, it is important to remember that these students will soon (and hopefully all of them will) impact the lives of real people. People will look to them when they are struck with infirmities they cannot properly identify and will place their trusts on the doctors to diagnose it correctly with precision and care. In extreme cases, their actions and decisions may determine the fate of the patients they interact with.
People that are close to me have suffered from seemingly-lazy doctors who would just listen to their symptoms and prescribe them medicine for diseases that turned out to be much more serious than they had first anticipated. I have also interacted with some doctors who appear much too tired or bored to give careful attention to the details of the symptoms and simply prescribe medication that would prove completely ineffective or even harmful. Of course, it is understandable that they are also human beings and can fall victim to fatigue, errors, mistakes, and other factors, but even just their attitude toward the patient and his or her concerns regarding the illness can change how the patient feels in honestly describing the symptoms and dutifully following the doctor’s recommendations. As a doctor or medical expert, it is important to let the patient know that they are cared for and understood in their worries. Without a pure or strong motive and desire to help these individuals, a doctor may as well come off as being arrogant in his or her success or uninterested in his or her work.
As a last sentiment, I would wish these students good luck in their endeavors, and that they would continue to grow their understanding of medicine so that they may change the lives of many individuals for the better.