What Are the Pros and Cons of Becoming a Doctor?

The NHS has often been described as the beating heart of the UK, representative of the nation’s attitude to its fellow people. Becoming a doctor is a noble cause – as well as a well-recompensed, highly skilled position – and is seeing a resurgence in interest from younger generations, as record numbers apply for specialty training.

But what is the truth about becoming a doctor? What are the positives and the negatives?

Pros of Becoming a Doctor

The positives to choosing a career as a doctor are numerous, but the first thing that draws people to the long, stringent training process is the prospect of helping others. Practising medicine is a deeply rewarding vocation, as doctors get to assist their patients in meaningful ways and make a positive impact daily. The work is also rewarding on a personal level, as the programme of education never truly ends; there is always something new to learn and there are always new horizons in medicine.

Working as a doctor can also confer social benefits. In their line of duty, doctors work alongside a community of healthcare professionals, from nurses to administrative staff, anaesthesiologists and beyond. Health work is a collaborative process, requiring communication and teamwork to provide the best possible care. Doctors, of course, also meet many patients in their day-to-day work, speaking to people from all walks of life as well as treating them.

Doctors are incredibly well remunerated for their time and efforts, whichever the role. Doctors who specialise can expect to earn between £45,000 and £77,000 depending on the area of expertise and experience, while consultancy wages start in the region of £84,000. The average GP salary sits between £62,000 and £93,000. Even doctors in training are well-paid, with the absolute minimum wage possible lying at just under £29,000 per year.

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The career path is also incredibly stable, with unparalleled security and various options for progression or movement within the NHS – or indeed into lucrative private healthcare.

Cons of Becoming a Doctor

Working as a doctor means being exposed to stressful scenarios and environments daily; whether that’s hospital patients requiring urgent care or a backlog of appointments in a GP surgery, each interaction is crucial – and some may be more time-sensitive than others. Loss is a fact of health work, making the vocation very mentally taxing for even the most well-prepared of practitioners.

Stress can result in mistakes. Well-trained doctors do not make many errors in their care but they do still happen, and in some cases can lead to potential legal action. If a patient or patient’s relative believes that a facet of a medical practitioner’s care has resulted in further injury to them, the doctor may require counsel from a professional clinical negligence claims advisor. Negligence claims can add another layer of stress to an already-demanding line of work.

Even if doctors provide the best quality care daily, there is no guarantee that every patient will be friendly. Difficult characters are a fact of the job, and further stress can be found in navigating these situations – from attempting to provide care to an unwilling patient to weathering abuse from unreasonable next-of-kin.

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