Being a doctor is a tremendously rewarding profession, but it is a profession that not everyone can do. If you are considering getting into the field of medicine, you should be aware of some of the challenges that doctors face. If you are already practicing medicine, then you know that being a doctor has many difficult aspects to it. While helping people is usually the easy part of the job, you also face a lot of challenges associated with running a successful medical practice or working successfully as a physician.
Challenges of Being a Doctor
Some of the many things that make being a doctor difficult include the following:
- Insurance issues. For many medical professionals, dealing with insurance companies is one of the biggest hassles that they face when doing their jobs. Most people do not pay privately for medical care but instead they rely on an insurance company to cover the cost of their visit. This means that doctors rely on insurance companies in order to get paid. Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims when they shouldn’t or for requiring a whole lot of paperwork in order for a doctor to get paid. Many physicians spend a lot of their time or a lot of money to pay someone else to spend time dealing with insurance companies and trying to get the funds for provided care. When patient treatments need preapproval, as many do, this also creates a whole host of additional requirements associated with getting the insurance company to agree to pay for the treatment.
- Educational costs. Becoming a doctor is an extremely expensive and time consuming process. You’ll pay a lot of money for many years of schooling and for the first few years as you go through your residency process, you won’t make a lot of money. You could end up graduating school with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debts that you will need to continue to pay back over the course of the time that you are practicing medicine. For many doctors, it takes many years to pay back student loans, which creates financial pressure.
- Medical malpractice risks. Medical malpractice has become a really big issue within the medical community and there are many tort reform advocates who argue that things desperately need to change within the malpractice system in order to get a handle on healthcare costs. Lots of patients file frivolous lawsuits against doctors because they aren’t happy with the outcomes or because this has become a very litigious society where lawyers encourage plaintiffs to sue for any perceived problems, whether those problems are real or imagined. Medical malpractice cases can cost upwards of $20,000 even if they ultimately end with you “winning” because the claim is dropped. If the claim progresses to settlement or you have to go to court, then the costs increase exponentially and could be enough to bankrupt any medical practice. To protect yourself against the tremendous risks associated with medical malpractice, it is essential to get physician malpractice insurance as soon as you begin practicing medicine.
- Patients who don’t follow recommended treatment methods. There are many medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that are chronic conditions that can be treated with drugs and lifestyle changes. As a doctor, you want the best for your patients and you will prescribe drugs and make recommendations that could help those patients to improve their health. Unfortunately, some estimates indicate that as many as 50 percent of patients are noncompliant and do not follow the treatment recommendations that their doctor has made. It can be really frustrating to know that you can help someone but to have that person not listen to you and instead keep coming back with worse health issues and complications.
- Over-cautious patients. At the other end of the scale from those who don’t follow directions are patients who constantly think they are sick and who always fear the worst even when they are healthy. You may have patients that visit frequently for every minor health problem and who want you to order extensive tests that they don’t really need. These hypochondriac patients can be difficult to deal with as you don’t want to ignore actual health problems but it can be hard to know when the person is just being overly dramatic or imaging issues.
These are just some of the many different things that make being a doctor such a difficult profession.
Alan Jandell has been blogging about the medical field ever since his retirement a few years back. His past experience does him well as a medical blogger, thanks to many years as the head of his own practice. He admits he wasn’t the easiest to work for, but he knew how to run a money-making practice that helped many people.