Monday, December 4, 2017
“Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Doctors”
This is Waylon Jennings' and Willie Nelson's 1978 cover of "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys". The song, originally performed by Ed Bruce, was number 1 on the charts for four weeks in the spring of 1978 and was released on the classic duet album "Waylon & Willie".
In the famous song by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, they opine about the hardships of the “cowboy life”. When asked the question of whether you would want your children or relatives to become physicians in the modern era, the answer is always “YES… but….”
Motivations for becoming a physician are multiple with multiple answers. They are generational in scope and multifactorial. These include:
1. Saving the world
2. Helping mankind
3. A means to an end.
4. Avoiding the draft and the Vietnam War
5. Family tradition
6. Economically motivated
7. Opening doors
8. Raising your social statue
9. Good at “School”
The modern day physician is caught in the trap of the “fantasy” of the good old days and ever-changing landscape. The physician is no longer the perceived expert of their domain but a valued cog in the big picture.
Patients still love their personal physician but want input in all aspects of their care. The paternal system of “I’m The Doctor” no longer works.
The physician is also trapped in the electronic world of endless data capture that is rarely relevant to the individual patient in front of them. Click 18 more boxes and you might get paid. 17 boxes and you get a 50% reduction. Did the patient get better? Who knows?
The modern day physician has become a corporate employee with little autonomy unless you are a dinosaur from the past and cling to your “perceived” freedom. Once you accept Medicare and Medicaid payments, you are indirectly/directly an employee of the government.
Getting back to whether you would recommend it as a career. I would do it over again because of the positives definitely outweigh the negative. Every 10-15 years medicine has been shaken up for financial reasons and everyone survived. The burdens are different but with the proper understanding that early acceptors of change are always the winners.