what's up doc?

I just want to explain a few things about becoming a doctor. I have had a lot of people make comments lately that make me realize the general public has no idea what it takes to become a doctor. That's okay really because I don't have the full idea on what it takes to become a Green Beret. Not that doctors can be evenly compared to Green Beret's, I was just using a profession that I really don't know much about.

First things first.
Starting in your undergraduate you have to take certain pre-requisites (basically alot of science classes) and you also have to take the MCAT. It is the exam that allows you to apply for medical school. Your undergraduate GPA+your MCAT scores+your interview skills+your schools credibility all factor in to you getting into medical school.

After you get into medical school.
Once you've been accepted you go through 4 years of medical school. Generally the first 2 are book work with lots and lots of exams and the 3rd and 4th years you do rotations. These rotations help you choose which field of medicine you want to go into. Typical rotations are OBGYN, Family Practice, Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. You have some room to also add in more specialized rotations like Oncology or Radiology. In the fourth year you begin applying to residency programs. Your admittance into programs hinges on your Steps 1 and 2 scores (extremely difficult exams), your ability to interview and your medical school GPA. You apply, interview and then, hopefully match at a residency somewhere in the U.S. The match process could be an entire post on it's own. Just know it is a big deal when someone gets one of their top match choices.

Residency begins.
Residency lasts 3+ years depending on what field of medicine you have chosen. An Emergency Medicine doctor, someone who works at the ER, goes through 3 years. An Anesthesiologist goes through 3 years of anesthesia residency but also has a 1 year internship they must complete before even entering the anesthesia field. A general surgeon has a 5 year residency and are referred to as interns during their first year of general surgery. If a surgeon wants to become a plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon or any other specialty surgeon just start tacking on years. During the residency process, there are exams to be taken just like there were during medical school that show your competency. At the end of residency you take the boards. If you pass your boards, you will become a board certified physician. There are physicians who are not board certified. That is scary. Either they didn't complete a residency or they didn't pass their boards. Either way a certain level of incompetence is to be expected from a physician who is not board certified.

A "real" doctor.
Once again you interview but this time for a real job and your competency during your residency is considered. You apply to jobs alllllll over (or maybe just in specific places that you really want to live) and hope that there are openings. You get hired, THEN take the boards, then hopefully pass them and then you are a real bonafide doctor! No biggie.

SO, when someone tells you, "yes we're moving to Hawaii in June because my husband just got an anesthesia job there." Don't say, "Your husband's an anesthesiologist? Wow! That's almost like a real doctor!"

Or when your anesthesiologist walks in to prep you before surgery don't ask, "so when is the doctor coming in?" When the anesthesiologist replies, "I am the doctor." Don't say, "no, I mean I know you put me to sleep but when is the real doctor coming in?"

Mk? Mk. Cause it is really, really, REALLY annoying. Oh and p.s. are you sure you want physicians to get paid less due to nationalizing health care? Cause after that roughly 200 hundred thousand dollar debt they rack up over the 11+ year process of schooling I'm sure that all they really want is more patients for less pay. Yeah, I'm sure the really, really, REALLY smart people will want to become doctors after that. Cause it makes financial sense. Oh wait, sorry, did I offend you by saying that doctors deserve to make money? Oh yeah, just kidding, doctors should want to do their work for little to no pay. Phew, close one.

That was one heck of a venting session and BOY it felt good!


Melissa S. said...

Hee hee, you're so silly, but right.
Brooks will finish up NEXT year and become board certified and has decided NOT to do a fellowship. Instead he is going to go back and do a Family Medicine Residency. (I'll give you a minute to let that soak in). Yes, he's "99.5% sure" (that's what he tells people) he's going back to do another one. His ultimate goal is to do part-time path and part-time family. But seriously, he's such a people person and has some AWESOME skills, so he NEEDS to see patients. But he also wanted to learn medicine at the cellular level and EVERYTHING he could about it. So that's why he did path. He's looking into the southeast (SC, NC?) for a residency. One in a small town where Family is the ONLY residency there so they can do all the coloscopies, OB, Peds, etc. In a bigger program he can't do all of those because those specific residencies do them.
Okay, how's that for answering your question and taking up all your comment section. ;)

Melissa S. said...

Oh, and it would be easier to serve a mission as a possible mission doc if you're something other then at Pathologist. ;)

Jene and Megan said...

Wow and Lol...you crack me up and I knew it was a lot to become any type of doctor but wow. =)

Heather B said...

Good to know- all my doctor training knowledge I've gathered from the last few years following you guys.

I'd love to hear the stories that prompted this rant.

Prina Family said...

I have a brother-in-law who is an anesthesiologist and they had to work their butts (plural because I know how hard it is on the WHOLE family) off for the first 10+ years of their marriage. But I didnt know as much as you shared it this post. Thanks. Every time we get to spend time with their family I feel so happy for them that they are finally making really good money. They TOTALLY deserve it and thats how I feel for you and your family:) So congratulations!

Prina Family said...

Also, since my last comment was so short...
Will Michael be working at the Wilcox Memorial Hospital? Is that even still there? haha. My brother who was child number 6 was the only one born there and it was my moms 1st epidural because they didnt have them on Kauai before that. She always flew to Honolulu to have her babies. Anyway, that will be crazy if hes going to work there

Lindsay Gunnell said...

Can I just say.....amen Amen AMEN! I don't care how strong you are or pretend to be--medical school kicks your trash. I know Michael went through the same thing I'm going through right now where everyday I wake up at 4:00am, get to the hospital by 5:00am, spend the entire day there getting drilled...literally oral exam style...ALL DAY LONG. Not only do I spend 12-15 hours there 6/7 days of the week, but I also do an overnight call once a week. Can you imagine being asked question after question after difficult medical question by people are constantly evaluating your competency? On nothing but 5 hours of sleep or less? Then of course you have to take national shelf exams after each rotation just for a little cherry on top.

So, when I tell people who ask that I'm in medical school and they ask what that means and I say I'm going to be a doctor and they say, "you mean, like a nurse?" and I say, "no, like a physician," and they still look confused I feel defeated. Did I mention that I cry a lot?

Thanks for letting me vent too. I needed that.

Michelle said...

This was awesome! Thanks for explaining the process of becoming a doctor as I have realized that very few actually realize what it entails. Also, I keep meaning to tell you congratulations on the job in Hawaii- that is so wonderful- I'm so excited for you guys. I'm probably signed in to my work account right now (which is why I didn't comment a long time ago about you guys moving) so if I am, this is Kim Huish.

Bridget said...

I can't believe people say stuff like that! I respect anyone who goes to school for that long to do something they love. At least you guys get a big paycheck...eventually...unlike certain people who get four degrees in the humanities who are also called Dr...

(Not that I'm complaining because I knew what I signed up for. Seriously.)

Kory said...

I don't think it's anything personal. Maybe they just mean the doctor they went there to see.

{lindy baker cakes} said...

I'm so glad you posted this. It informed me, though I already knew an anesthesiologist was a real doctor. I'm so happy for you guys. You have gone through so much. Hopefully you'll sigh a big sigh of relief when you are all settled in Hawaii.

Ashley and Chris Miles said...


Wendi and Eric said...

Amen Sister! And so excited you get to come back to Hawaii!