5 Myths about Doctors Our Society Believes

JULY 27, 2016
Dr. Wise Money

Doctors are rich.


Are you kidding?


How rich do you feel when you are 36-years-old, just starting your first real doctor’s job, with half a million dollars worth of student loans at 7% interest rate, and have capitalization of interest accrued over your seven years of residency training?  You also just moved for the job, have no house, no money in retirement accounts, and your car is 20-years-old?


Time value of money is not on the doctor's side with the delay in critical savings (retirement, college, home, etc.) and the prolongation of carrying high interest debt. Even with one of the highest starting physician incomes of 350k, the post-tax take home could be as little as 200k. Even if one puts $200k of post tax income towards his half million student debt, it would take a few years.


Let alone one needs to save for a house, save for retirement, raise a family, save for kids college, not to mention the catch up component of missing 14 years of two doubling time in investment (assuming 10% annualized return).


So when people say, the big debt is no problem since you've got big income, I wish they would do some math and put themselves in their doctors' shoes. 



Doctors are confident.


A majority of my colleagues and I are some of the most insecure people I have ever met. We constantly are surrounded by the smartest, hardest working, most amazing peers, and frequently feel that we might have gotten to where we are (med school, residency, or a job) by luck or worse, by mistake. The impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome is prevalent, constantly undermining our self worth and performance. Too many of us believe that "I’m not as smart or as good as others might think I am." 



Doctors are healthy.


Since I started embracing my favorite specialty of medicine, radiology, I have walked 0.5 miles a day. I sit in front of the computer for 10-12 continuous hours with occasional bathroom breaks. I eat my meals really fast because I want to keep learning, working, and taking notes in lectures.


I learned that sedentary lifestyle is as bad as smoking tobacco in causing peripheral arterial disease. I don’t want to know or check how unhealthy I am. I don’t want to read my own MRA of lower extremities… “severe atherosclerotic disease with critical stenosis…”



Doctors are selfish & competitive b*tches and sons of b*tches...


If so, why are we in the profession to serve and care for total strangers? Love unites where hurt divides. Doctors and doctors in training have been an insurmountable amount of hurt from the de-humanizing, grueling, and relentless demands of medical school, residency, and more so nowadays than ever the eventual attending physician medical practice. These demands test our intellect, emotional capacity, mental fortitude, and physical limits. Just ask Dr. Pamela Wible. Why do doctors commit suicide three times more than their patients on average?



Doctors enjoy great lifestyle.


How many non-physician pays $50,000/year for the privilege to work 80+ hours/week and on most weekends and holidays like medical students are expected to do for 4 years?


How many people work 10+ years after graduating from college at wages $0-$17/hr?


How many people work shifts around the clock throughout the year?


Doctors continue to work 60 hours/week after completing training. Many doctors remark that the intensity and demands of their career take a toll on their health; physical, mental, and emotional. Doctors wake up in the middle of the night wondering if they chose the right treatment regimen for a dying patient or if they made the right diagnosis which sent the patient into the OR. Even after working 60-80 hours/week, doctors still have trouble leaving work at work.


To me, a great lifestyle means decent wages to support one’s needs and some of one’s wants.


It also means having the energy and mental capacity after work to enjoy one’s family and earnings. For most doctors, regardless of the stage of training, I don't see that they enjoy a great lifestyle.

 



Thank you for hearing us doctors out. We too are human. In spite of our surviving an inhumane training process and satisfying the ever so inhuman systemic demands, we need love and support.

Please join us in "Physician Support Initiative" (PSI), a grassrots movement to make healthier, happier, and more effective doctors. PSI aims to raise awareness, empower, and support doctors and their community in maximizing their individual and collective wellness in all of life's dimensions, encompassing personal, professional, psycho-social, and financial health.


 

 


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