A Doctor's Value 6/07/2008 10:28:00 AM

I am relatively young in the world of the medical profession, having just received my license to practice a little over a year ago. And with that came automatic membership into the local medical society under the Philippine Medical Association. Until now, I actually have no idea what their activities for doctors is, although I recently heard about some symposium in our place, which I'm not sure any of the other young doctors were able to attend. For most of us residents, the next time you usually here talk about the PMA is when someone is about to take the specialty board exams (i.e. the chief resident in our department) and finds out he/she needs to pay the requisite membership fees for the past 3-5 years which he/she was not faithfully remitting to the society. After that , probably you won't hear much about the PMA... you'll hear more from the specialty societies...

I'm sorry that I still have to figure out for myself exactly what they are doing for us and what we are doing for the Philippine Medical Association in turn. Honestly I'm clueless... So, I really can't say anything more based on personal experiece.

I hate to say it but the fact that a lot of the doctors in their mid-30's to early 40's are taking up nursing to seek greener pastures seems to say volumes about the state of the profession. Maybe they don't feel their family will be secure with them staying and practicing their first profession in the country?

Fewer students are deciding to take the additional 4 years of medicine plus one year internship to get that M.D., and of these, probably 3/4 (I'm stating this as a reality in terms of my own class- CIM 2005) will be aiming for the USMLE and other foreign board examinations with the intention of settling elsewhere for good.

The few of us left doing our residency training are probably also thinking of doing further studies abroad (that's one option I'm personally inclined to) and probably settling somewhere else in the near future (Personally, I'm not inclined to the option of permanently renouncing my citezenship, but it's not something I'm totally ruling out either).

So, what's the value being put on us? Maybe it isn't that much. I know residents in the capital are paid a paltry. In our part of the country, most of us are paid a little higher (can't complain about my own salary as I get to save since I work pretty near where I live with my family and can save on some expenses) yet there is still a general dissatisfaction about the income that pervade (i.e. a co-resident of mine having plans to get married next year is taking up a side-line job just to afford to pay for the wedding expenses). When you go into sub-specialty training locally, you still get paid a paltry sum... Then, when you start your practice, it's another story... A friend and college classmate of mine, also planning to go into residency training in radiology stated it plainly when she told me: "You know, we will probably have to set-up a diagnostic center together..."

So... Maybe I am a bit worried with regards to the financial side of this profession. Still, I think it is a pretty noble endeavor, although reaping the rewards of the time, effort and finances you have sacrificed are a long time in coming or won't come at all. Afterall, we touch on something basic in a person - health. Sometimes, it is not just the physical side of the person that you touch but also one's mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Still it is a way for one to earn a living so one has to be able to determine the pros and cons of determining the right professional fee for one's services, or maybe decide to charge nothing at all.

Somehow, I have always sort of counselled most of my younger friends not to enter medical school by presenting the hardships that are in the way. My advice though is seldom heeded as just this school year, I happen to have two good friends who are not about to heed my advice by beginning their freshmen year of medical studies.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my youngest sister (about to start 3rd year high school) won't follow the footsteps of this eldest sister... I still don't want anyone else in my immediate family to go through everything that I did to become a doctor and whatever difficulties I have yet to undergo to establish myself in my chosen profession.

6 other thoughts:

Got meloinks? said...

that's what i told my friends about med school. :-) thanks for being honest. i entered med school about at the start of the mass exodus of nurses. boy was i clueless.

and what is the PMA doing with this? wala.

tara na mag-nursing. hehehe.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened to see young MDs with such emotions about being/becoming doctors.
Problem is many of us enter the profession with noble dreams, only to have it shattered by harsh reality.
I think our medical education should be more forthright about the difficulties, and temper that with teaching us skills to survive the financial part of our profession. Why are so many of us afraid to talk about making money as if it were the plague? I think it's because society has such high expectations, short of martyrdom, of doctors. That myth has to be shattered too.

Got meloinks? said...

hi doc. tbr12.5 is up. :-)


Vk-mahalkaayo said...

"are taking up nursing to seek greener pastures seems to say volumes about the state of the profession."

duna koy layo na paryente, dr. siya dha sa atoa, nagschooling ug nursing for greener pasture....presently, tua siya sa USA as a nurse.

see.....dr. tungod sa green...nurse nalang kay mao man dali n demand.

drs. in the phils are the famous and good....good pa kono ug service......

diri, na good sila, pero service....dili pareha sa atoa.

thanks for sharing...balik pa ko to read, pero sakit na akong mata....

someday, makibasa diri ha?...pwede ba?...bisan dili ko apil or PMA?....

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

time sa, my nephew, mograduate next yr. sa nursing....asking for a help nga mo-proceed daw siya ug medicine...

is this a good idea or gusto nya?

diri pod, practically....walay gana mo take up medicines, kay mao, hago, long hrs. to wrks, tapos barato sweldo....

pero, we can´t leave by bread alone....isipon na lang maka HELP sa isigkatawo....pero mao lagi,
without money, di man pwede pod sa?

sorry sa akong commentar.....itago na lang kong di maayo.

commentatoria man gyd ko uy....sorry,dr.

J.A. said...

K ra ka commentario Vicki, oi!
Nice to meet another Bisdak diri sa blog world.
BTW, naa sad ko half-German classmate pag-med school nako, I think he's now beginning training there in Germany. He did pre-med man diri sad ug dinhi sad nag-med kay mas-barato.
Daghan half-Filipinos or mga immigrants na ang status dinhi mag-med then balik where they came from to practice kay cheaper to study diri.
Hala, kung gusto gyud imo nephew, pa-uyoni na lang. Mao na akoa attitude sa pag-advise sad mga younger nako na gusto mag-medicine pero dapat forewarned sa hardships gyud.