I COMMEND YOUR IGNORANCE: THE TRUTH ABOUT MEDICINE

It seems to me that Medicine is starting to become a trend a lot of nurses seem to want to get into, but for all the wrong reasons. I’m blogging about this because it’s summer and I have nothing to do, and because I am becoming increasingly annoyed over the tidal wave of messages I have been receiving from people regarding medicine because of the excessively wrong notions they have in their head from only God knows where. I actually don’t mind answering and I like to help whenever I can, but sometimes, people cross the line and I find their ignorance overbearing.
I find it extremely bothersome, having to correct the wild assumptions people make about med school.
A couple of those include the following:

1. Medicine is one of my options because I don’t know what to do right now.
First things first, medicine should never be merely an option. It takes years of careful planning and thought before one can even begin to consider taking up medicine because it is a lifelong commitment. I am plagued by people who tell me medicine is just one of the options they’re considering because they are unsure of what to do after nursing. My fellow batch mates and I took years to come to the realization that this is what we wanted. It isn’t something you decide to do on a whim. It entails years and years of hard work and sacrifice to even come to this stage. Admittedly, the idea of becoming a doctor is something that is conceived easily, but the notion doesn’t end there, it must evolve into a calling fueled by desire, burning into a passion. It is not something you consider along with other things. Its something you have to want really bad. Really really really really bad. So if you have other options in mind, you might as well junk medicine from the list, because it isn’t something you’ve thought enough about. For us, it’s Medicine or Bust.

2. Medicine should be easy because I took up Nursing as my Pre-med.
I hear this a lot. People think that being in the healthcare profession means there is some sort of marriage between the two. I am here to tell you that there isn’t. There may be a handful of similarities, but having the mindset of a nurse while in med school disrupts potential avenues for learning. By having your mind set in a specific way brought about by being taught to think in a specific manner, you end up boxing yourself in and setting limits for yourself. There may be a familiarity of concept or theories but medicine will never be “easy” because of nursing. By having this sense of familiarity, you will let your guard down and eventually settle for what you already know thinking that past knowledge will sustain you and you will begin to assume you know what you’re talking about. Nursing can only take you so far in medicine. In order to fully embrace the higher school of thought, the nurse has to be switched off from your mind for you to begin to tackle the different approaches in learning.

3. Medicine is a good choice because there are no jobs for nurses in the Philippines at the moment and it’s difficult to land a job abroad or Better take up Medicine so you’ll earn a lot of money.
Money is never a good enough motivation to do something. Those motivated by money make the worst kinds of doctors.

4. I’m/You’re smart. Therefore I/you should proceed to medicine.
This is one of the most common misconceptions with regards to medicine. If I remember correctly, my boyfriend’s workmates were encouraging him to proceed to medicine because he’s smart. I have also heard a lot of people encourage their friends or relatives to take up medicine for this reason. Time and time again, I tell my boyfriend not to listen to the people around him who give foolish advice because they don’t know any better. Besides wanting to proceed, it takes more than intelligence to be a good doctor. There is no use filling a person’s head with notions to take up medicine, using their Intelligence Quotient as ammunition because it isn’t good enough. People do not know the damage they do when they push their friends or relatives to pursue medicine for this reason. I have seen a lot of my friends, including some of my batch mates, who are all very smart; drop out because medicine was not what they expected it to be or their performance was not to their liking despite the fact that that they were highly intellectual people. What I’m driving at is that the idea of pursuing a medical career is a very seductive idea when you have the brains for it and especially when you have people around you egging you on to give it a try. The thing is, these people around you will not have to go through what YOU will go through when you take up medicine. For them, there will be no losses, no damages done, no consequences. I am telling you, that if this is the sole purpose as to why you plan on pursuing medicine, then it would be a smarter choice if you stayed put and took the time to reassess yourself before you blindly jump in. Medicine is exhausting. Not only mentally, but the strain of what you will go through will affect you physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. The course itself requires a certain degree of intelligence but also diligence and willingness to sacrifice anything to achieve your purpose. You need to be in love with what you’re doing.
5. After 4 years, I will be a doctor, so it’s worth a try.
You might mean something like 10 years. If you have no plans of specializing, you might as well not proceed at all. It defeats the purpose of taking up medicine if you plan on being a jack of all trades but a master of none.

6. After 4 years, I will be earning a lot of money.
After 4 years, you’ll be reviewing for the board exam, and if you pass that, there’s internship, residency… SO NO. 😀

7. Being a doctor is one way of becoming rich fast.
Only if you topped the board exam and you are one of the best at what you do. With the influx of people aspiring to be part of the medical profession, it is difficult to establish a clinic or begin working without either being the best, taking over a family practice, of having a lot of connections. People have difficulty trusting new doctors regardless of skill. There have been doctors who, after 5-6 years post grad, have yet to find a job in a hospital or have yet to open up their own clinic.

8. It’s easier when you’re a doctor.
Trust me, it’s not. Can you imagine the gravity of your position and the impact you will have on the lives of other people, and how what you do or say can affect them and change the course of their lives for better or for worse? Personally, as first year medicine student, people have been coming up to me consulting me about what’s going on with their body and what medicine they should take, or if the lump they have is unusual or if they have cancer. I am constantly overwhelmed. I try to be confident in what I have learned and try to begin to apply that into practice but a part of me constantly holds back and is constantly frightened. Frightened by the thought that what if something goes wrong, what if I made a mistake. So after I give my opinion about anything, I always encourage them to consult a doctor. I know that at the moment, I lack the knowledge and skills to be able to advise them accordingly, but years from now, there will always be the fear in me that something can go wrong and the knowledge that I am dealing with another human being. The life of another person is literally in my hands and there should be no room for error because one wrong move and everything goes downhill. That is the fear I have to learn to live with as a doctor. So no. It’s not easier.

9. I don’t need to like to read to take up medicine.
You have got to be one of the biggest idiots ever. To be in med school, reading will become your life. You will spend 10-16 hours a day reading and you will spend the remaining time resting so you can keep reading. There will be nothing left for you but to read.

10. You’re school is easier than mine.
My school? Is easy?! Whatever gave you that idea? My school is in the same league as UP considering both schools have a consistent 100% passing rate every single board exam. From an initial 200 freshmen students, the cuts are so steep, once you graduate (if you even graduate), you’re left with only 50 students or less. We have exams every week and there is no room for rest. Everything is fast paced and nothing is spoon fed. You are expected to know the topic for every module before you come into SGD (Small Group Discussion) and books are not allowed in class. your participation will be graded during SGD by a facilitator who may or may not contribute to the discussion. You will learn as a group and what you learn depends on what other people have learned. You will tackle body systems this way and because everything is so broad you will need to learn as much as you can the best way that you can about a specific topic from the vantage point of 4 major sub-subjects (Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry and Histology. You will have 3 hours of discussions daily. During laboratory, you will dissect an actual cadaver and identify body parts yourself with the aid of your atlas without help from the facilitators. You will need to read before you come in to know where the nerves and blood vessels are, as they are to be preserved. You will need to know how to identify a certain cell, epithelium, connective tissue or whatever else part of the slide of a specific organ at a glance. You will need to know the purpose of each structure and what is unique to that specific slide.
You will have 4 kinds of written exams: 2 long exams after every system, 1 unit exam after every 2 systems, 2 written bimonthly exams (1 exam per system). You will have practical exams in histology and anatomy every unit exam and bimonthly exam. Each practical exam is 40 items per subject and is a moving exam with 45 seconds per number. You will need 75% to pass.
Oral examinations occur during bimonthly exams and consist of 24 topics based on any of the systems you have previously discussed. During the day of the oral examination, you will be assigned to any of the facilitators and you will be asked to choose 3 questions to answer and explain in detail. The facilitator has to be satisfied with your answer for you to get a good score. You only have 10 minutes.

Final exams consists of 4 days of written exams based on the 4 subjects from cover to cover because technically, all books HAVE been read from cover to cover. Failing any exam will mean deficits. Deficits mean you need to catch up not only to pass but to get scores high enough to cancel out your deficits. An accumulation of deficits means failing. AND THIS IS ONLY FIRST YEAR.

So my school is easy? Please. Your school can’t even cover the basics well enough for your graduates to pass the board exam. You’re trying to fly when you can barely walk.

11. What’s the passing rate of your school so I can apply? Wait, what’s PBL?

Seriously? You shouldn’t go around asking people about the passing rate of the NMAT without knowing about the school. That is a very dumb way of school hunting. You are an idiot. Don’t bother.

 

 


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22 responses to “I COMMEND YOUR IGNORANCE: THE TRUTH ABOUT MEDICINE

  1. Hahahaha I can feel your anger and frustration. I have never ever considered pursuing a career in medicine because I knew that it wasn’t something I felt passionately about and like you said, being smart, having no other options, and money are not a good enough reasons to pursue it. I’ll leave it to people like you because you obviously want to be a doctor. 🙂

    • thanks. i guess what really ticks me off is the fact that a bunch of kids keep messaging me over and over again with the same questions. 😐 i mean, i feel insulted that they think what i’m doing is easy or that what im doing, we’re doing, is something they can take for granted that easily. 😐 thanks2x. some people just can understand. and when you advice them properly, ikaw pa ang masama. argh

    • hahaha, and what is your ambition? i mean, ambition is alright if its for the right reasons naman dba? 😀 I feel bad for the future of our healthcare system if thats the case. 😦

  2. Very good thoughts….nice reminder to those who choose Medicine for the “wrong” reasons!!!

    Go to Medicine because you “love” Medicine… sometimes, we really don’t know if we love it until you are there!
    It helps if you thought of it years before deciding to go into this endeavor… like before entering college.
    Intelligence helps a lot… but, you need to like to get into it (nobody forcing you into it and on your own decision) and ready to be diligent!

    In reality, it is not the most intelligent who succeed but the ones best in doctor-patient relationships and personality!!!
    Schools help but where you end in Residency Training and Post-residency training (This means more than 4…more than 8 years!) is more remembered!

    And the learning never ends …..

    Hope this also helps!!!

    • this is very true. thank you for sharing your thoughts. i hate the fact that people are just picking up on the trend of taking up medicine simply for the sake of doing it and with a lack of motivation comes a lackluster kind of performance. 😀 i think PR is a god trait to have as a doctor especially when you need to deal with patients, but i find doctors who excel in their practice are those whith not only good pr skill but also with genuine concern for their patients and don’t say things to make an easy buck. i have seen doctors time and time again with great PR skills who medicate excessively, unnecessarily and diagnose blindly without sufficient assessment. i think you have to love what your doing, care about the people around you and be good at it to succeed. 😀 Admittedly, Residency is a very important step, which is why I will probably train abroad, but to get that opportunity, I have to do well in school first. so I guess doing well is initially the most important thing at this point. 😀 thank you so much. you’re comment has been such a great insight.

      • You can do residency in Manila and go abroad for Fellowship/Subspecialty… that would be easier!
        And, if you practice in the Philippines, this step may be more helpful so you know the reality of Medicine in the Philippines, so you are in touch with what Filipino patients need and want! Going abroad would just add benchmarking to what you know…

        At this point, yes, study really well!… it is only if you finish that you would be able to practice your craft!

        Keep your eyes and mind focused… but always keep your heart open… and never lose the fire and idealism that brought you into Medicine in the first place!

      • thank you very much for your kind words, concern and sound advice. my plans are to first and foremost finish proper. my family wants me to do residency abroad in the States but that could be something prone to change. inevitably, i want to work here in the Philippines. it has never crossed my mind that I work abroad. I have always wanted to work here to be able to cater to my fellow Filipinos. 😀

  3. This gets on my nerves too. I don’t know how easy or hard the study of medicine is. But I know I can’t do it no matter how much I want to. I think, to study medicine, you have to have brains+drive. Without either, you won’t succeed.

    Perhaps I’m being judgmental or underestimating them, but when I hear about my batchmates (from highschool-other sections) who go into medicine after nursing, I doubt they can do it. I admit, that sounds really mean of me.

    Or I’m just jealous because I know I can’t. Being a doctor has been my lifelong dream. I decided to be a pediatrician since nursery (with proof from my yearbook) and later in college I thought I could specialize in neurology. But reading so many theories in communication, I realized, I hate reading non-fiction. So I guessed medicine is not for me. Although I love science and do fairly well in it, I don’t think I can.

    My #1 issue is time and cost. I need to start earning via business or work because I want my parents to retire already. Depending on them for another set of years in medicine is not an option for me. Even with a possible scholarship, it still doesn’t come cheap.

    Why I want to become a doctor? I want to help those who are poor. Far flung communities with no access to health care, poor people who are not given the best medical service even in government hospitals *ahem, PGH*… it’s saddening. Being in UP Manila for 5 years and passing through PGH to get to buildings on the other side, I feel really sad looking at these people who are suffering when everyone deserves the best possible health care.

    3 out of 5 sick people can’t see a doctor. 5 out of 10 die without receiving medical attention. In other countries, health care is about preventing sickness while in the Philippines, people still try to combat tubercolosis and eventually die from it. -Dr. Jaime Montoya (executive director, PCHRD & UP med prof). It’s a sad reality.

    So here I am, with fair mind and genuine passion to help those in need, but still unsure. While others, due to the reasons you mentioned above, don’t even give it a second thought. I hate it.

    Anyway, personal feelings aside, medicine is still in my future plan. When I’m stable and can pay for schooling through my own business and not from my parents. I can study without worrying about costs.

    Sorry for the long comment 🙂

    • hi patsy. 😀 i really appreciate your comment. 😀 this is what i keep saying to people who ask me, that in medicine, you don’t get into it because it’s a trend or because it’s “cool” when you tell people “i’m taking up medicine”. this is sadly the case, especially in zamboanga when it’s almost always about the social ladder. for medicine, you need to have 3 things, intelligence – because admittedly, you need to have a degree of it to actually get into a med school and stay there, motivation and diligence.

      It’s not enough to be just smart when you go to med school. I admit, I learned this the hard way. I have never had to study for anything in my whole life and I have always breezed through most of my exams. I grasp concepts easily especially when related to the sciences but upon entering Medicine, I realize this is not the case. I had to adjust to the curriculum by learning to love to read textbooks again. I had to adjust by pushing myself to go further and further and demanding more and more of myself especially considering how I had to tackled around 10 or more chapters a day for only one subject. People only see the glamour of Medicine. They don’t understand the sacrifices people have to make while in Med school. I have seen couples break up the first few weeks of class because of the demands of time. I guess I was just lucky to have a boyfriend who was more than understanding and who supported me despite the fact that he always had to have the short end of the stick.

      Unfortunately, I also think the same way when I hear about people I know who want to pursue Medicine and I know that they can’t hack it considering how lax they are and how poorly they perform in class. I can only tell them that Medicine is a whole different ball game unlike anything I can ever describe to them. I know a few people from my college days who plan to take up medicine now, only because it’s a trend. but they swear that “they have always wanted to take up medicine” but i doubt that because I have been with them since Grade school and I have not seen any of them sacrifice anything to get to where they want to be. I have avoided sports, roughhousing and anything else that may damage my hands since I have always considered proceeding to surgery and neurosurgery not only requires the skill but also “gifted hands”. I have also had to give up piano because for a time my hands began to develop a certain degree of hyperhydrosis. D: It annoys me when I have sacrificed so much and people barely know the meaning of the word and are ready to jump in.

      It is very considerate of you to consider your parents and put aside your dreams temporarily. MY parents have always been prepared and have always done everything to prepare me for medicine. It has always been a guarantee that I would proceed. SO i guess I’m lucky that way. But regardless of that, the path to get here was never easy. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing right? 😀

      As aspiring doctors, everyone wants to change the world or the country and make it a better place. 😀 You don’t need to be a doctor to do that. In Zamboanga, you can be a Tzu Chi Volunteer. They do a lot of good there. 😀 By the way, you mentioned helping people in far-flung communities. You would do better being a politician if that is the case. 😀 It’s nice to imagine yourself being the kind of doctor who travels with government aid from place to place, giving medical attention, something like the movie Beyond Borders, but she wasn’t a doctor. 😀 This will probably not be the case when you get into the medical profession. I myself want to be affiliated with Tzu Chi or something like that. 😀 But first, I have to be very good at what I do to be able to help others massively. 😀

      BTW, you didn’t take up a medical course for college? 😀

      I like the way you think and I hope you pursue your dreams. 😀 if not, there are a lot of alternatives. 😀

      • I got the Blue Eagle scholarship for Biology in Adzu but decided to go for choice of school (UP) than choice of course. I was given scholarship in UP for Organizational Communication too, I felt it was too good to pass.

        I am still hoping I could have a second degree in Bio or Marine Biology, even MBA or Medicine. But that will have to wait until I’m stable. I may change my mind in the future too. I really don’t want to burden my parents anymore. Wala kaming mahihingan ng tulong in case of emergencies.

        It would be better to be a politician, yes. Sadly, I hate politics. And I personally think, kung aasa lang tayo sa kapangyarihan ng pulitiko, umaasa lang tayo sa wala. I’d rather create my own path than travel that dirty road.

        Sa sobrang dami ng alternatives, di ko alam anung pipiliin. I like them all at the same degree. Good thing, I have my priority which is being stable, unless I’d be at a loss.

        P.S. I love blog posts like this that stir people’s minds. Nakakagana.

      • you sound very mature. 😀 thats really good to hear. I mean, I never considered relying on anyone BUT my parents especially for Medicine. 😀 I have not considered waiting until I became stable or anything like that. 😀 But I do want to put myself through specialization. I don’t want to rely on them for that especially when i’ll be working by then. I guess its because it has always been this road for me and my parents prepared for that and there was never another option in my life. 😀 even if they tried to persuade me to not take up medicine to see my resolve. hahaha. that was funny.

        yeah, but if you pursue medicine, you might want to take a second degree in a medical course or something. it’l help a lot. 😀 it’s okay because you may not know what you’ll end up wanting when you leap into the future, theres a lot of time for that. I have batchmates, who worked a couple years to be able to put themselves through med school, they also have scholarships. 😀

        I didn’t mean, rely on the government, but it never really is as simple as forging your own path. In all fields, not only the medical field there is always so much to do, so little time with so little funds when it comes to charity cases. D: so I always have hopes for the chance that maybe, just maybe, we’d have better people in our government. Someone who actually looks out for his/her fellow filipinos. IDK. I am creepily optimistic about the government. hahaha. I am that clueless. :DD

        You are lucky in a sense that you have so many possibilities you’ll never run out of things to do if ever you decide you are unhappy with what you are currently doing 😀

        thanks for the compliment. 😀 you have the same kind of blog too. very stirring and full of emotion. :DD I only wish though that people understood what I was trying to say, the way you guys did to avoid misunderstandings. 😀 you know how it is dba? 😀

    • Makki and Patricia, you are still young…don’t be overburdened by the problems of the Philippines…I have realized it will always be and we will never be in a position to make a great change on that level.

      The only thing we can do is to do our best in whatever field we choose and in the process, help people in our own capacity.

      Young as you are, you have lots of options and in the present world, lots of opportunities.

      There are many who enter Medicine for the wrong reasons, but if they never learn to love it nor learn to study nor learn to care for others, they will not succeed in this endeavor and eventually, change their paths.
      Therefore, if they want to go to Medicine for the wrong reason, let them do so… anyway, they will be weeded out if they don’t give their all!
      They will just lose years in college, but don’t we learn a lot from mistakes. Still a learning experience, right?!
      Maybe, we should warn or discourage the parents, though, especially, if they will be the ones who will spend!

      One of our classmates, was literally forced to finish Medicine by his family, but as soon as he finished, he became the great farmer (as in landed = more than 50 hectare farm) that he dreamed to be. Medicine still became of help, because he was able to enforce change in the biggest government hospital in Davao City by becoming a P1 peso consultant for special concerns (administrative) for a year. And still continuing to find other ways to help the people in his place.

      But, there are others who will be challenged and eventually embrace the Medical profession and will be able to give back in the future.

      Indeed, not all doctors turn out to be great, meaning with the mind that knows and the heart that cares, but that is reality. We just pray that patients would be able to find out before anything happens.

      Patricia, you have a great heart , thinking about your parents before your own dreams. I know, with a heart like that, you will definitely, be a person who can touch lives in whatever field you choose!

      Trish, I am amazed that you can still blog passionate and super long topics while you are in Med School. Multitasking, I may say = = that’s a good sign!

      Good luck to you both… Never lose sight of your dreams and DO YOUR BEST TO TURN YOUR DREAMS TO REALITY!!!

      • hi. 😀 you’re comments have been a joy to receive. thank you very much for your concern and your kind words. I guess what irritates me is how people easily jump into the trend without considering the expenses, the sacrifices, the time. In short, without thinking at all. they jump because they think it’s lucrative or because they want the title and it annoys me because it belittles what I am trying to achieve and accomplish. I have a heard a lot of stories about people who pursued medicine with a lack of passion or motivation and who ended up not practicing at all, so i am glad your classmate was able to help other people despite the fact that medicine was not his chosen career. sadly, this is not the case for everyone who practices and is not interested. I guess another reason that I am annoyed is because of the lack of quality control in some schools and when these kids graduate, they become inept and incompetent doctors. they give the medical profession a bad name and they do more damage than good to their patients. which is why i am constantly annoyed by things like this.

        about my blog, i only blog when I have free time and at the moment, I’m on summer vacation. 😀 so i have more time for my blog. i usually fill up my blog with lengthy posts when i’m on break or when I just finish up with exams. I cannot blog during regular days. My hands are too full, but i try to update whenever I can because I like to write. 😀

        thank you for your insights. 😀

  4. Cj should read this. I’m guessing a whole lot of other people (kids mostly) should read this. I used to want to take up medicine but then after thinking so much about it, I’ve realized I’m not cut out from the right kind of cloth. Prolly would suck a fourth of the way through freshman year. I’ll keep praying you succeed. God knows we need BETTER doctors than the ones we already have.

    • thank you Jannie. 😀 i really appreciate that. this is actually an unfinished post. i got too lazy to retype everything i did. 😀 i might put it in another post. I can send him the link if you like, he might get the chance to reevaluate himself if he does. 😀 which will be good. or you can share him the link. i’d appreciate it if more people were aware of what medicine’s really like. 😀

      i think, you would have made a great doctor if you wanted to. and wanting to counts for a lot. i am proud that you know yourself and you don’t need to let what others say define you. 😀 people should really stop belittling their careers and be proud of what their doing and not see doctors as the pinnacle of the healthcare system. 😀 where would doctors be without really capable nurses? 😀

  5. Your post is definitely eye opening not just to me but to others who want to get into med school as well. During my interview at ADZU, I asked some of my friends who are also scheduled for interview about why they want to get into med school. They told me they just feel like it. Their dads want them to get in. They don’t see a future with becoming a nurse. I feel like their taking it as a joke. Where’s the heart in that? They want to get in for the wrong reasons. If they get accepted into med school and I don’t, I will surely protest!!! >.<

    • hahaha. sometimes people know which strings to pull, but you don’t have to worry. it’s fairly easy to get into ADZU. 😀 I have had it up to here (points above my head) with them telling me my school is easy and that if i were in ateneo blah3x. 😀 hahaha. which is why im putting up a follow up post when I get home from Cebu about what my lifestyle is like now that im actually in med school. 😀 maybe they should read my blog instead so they know. or on second thought, maybe not. i’d rather not have to answer to even more complaints. D: goodluck and God bless you. If you need anything, please feel free to ask me about it. 😀 we might come from different schools, but there’s no harm going above and beyond what you’re required. ADZU is community based and purely PBL. so if you enjoy group work, immersion, working in the community, early exposure in the area. you have to work hard for yourself because they don’t cover basics that well. 😀 ask me if there’s anything you need to know. 😀

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