7 Surprising Facts About Doctors


Whether from TV shows or elsewhere, the public
perception of what it means to be a physician is often woefully inaccurate. From personality to intellect, motivations
and biases, much of what you think you know about doctors is probably wrong. So what is true and what is false? We’ll separate the fact from fiction. Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. First, Doctors Are Incredibly Smart Given the path it takes to become a doctor, I understand why most people would assume
doctors are particularly intelligent. First you compete as a pre-med student in
college in an often cut throat environment, you score well on the MCAT, pass through medical
school and take your boards, and then go through 3-7 years of residency before you’re a fully
board certified and practicing attending physician. Don’t get me wrong, the gauntlet that is
medical training is incredibly challenging and should not be taken lightly. But I’d argue you don’t have to be all
that intelligent to get through it. As they say, learning in medical school is
like drinking from a fire hydrant. The information isn’t particularly challenging,
but rather it’s the quantity and rate at which you must learn. And this has less to do with intelligence
and more with work ethic. If you’re willing to put in the time with
repetition repetition repetition through the form of Anki cards and other active learning
methods, you should be fine. The key point is this: being successful in
medicine has less to do with intelligence, and much more to do with work ethic. Getting into certain competitive specialties
may favor those who are better at taking tests, productive in research, and liked by their
preceptors. But that doesn’t necessarily make them more
intelligent. I go over the [top 5 most competitive specialties
in a previous video. Certain other specialties may require more
brain power, like electrophysiology as a sub specialty within cardiology, but you still
don’t have to be a genius by any means to do it. Number two, We Hate Eastern Medicine Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM for short, covers therapies not traditionally
included in western medicine. CAM often gets pitted against western medicine,
as if it’s an either or and that western medicine physicians must be diametrically
opposed. But that isn’t quite true. You see, modern physicians strive to practice evidence
based medicine, meaning therapies and medicine which has demonstrated utility through sound
research. And often times, the research in a certain
areas of health is lackluster, like nutrition, and clinical judgment is necessary. For example, I have Crohn’s colitis, and
research demonstrates that curcumin and vitamin D supplementation helps to maintain remission
in patients with my condition. Is it CAM or is it western medicine? Call it whatever you want, but it’s evidence
based medicine at the end of the day. That being said, clinical judgment and reason
is essential to know what supplements interact with others and how to take them in a safe
and efficacious manner. For example, I’m not going to pull a Gary
Null and overdose on Vitamin D to the point of requiring hospitalization. Watch out for such charlatans who promote
questionable (and often times harmful) alternative and naturopathic medicine practices while
antagonizing evidence based western medicine. Number three, Doctors Make Bank Contrary to popular belief, doctors are not nearly as wealthy or financially well off
as society would have you believe. This misconception comes from the high salary
that physicians earn. Primary care doctors earn on average $220,000
per year, and specialists earn an average of $320,000 per year. Seems like good money, right? It’s a good living, but remember that doctors
only begin earning this salary after 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and
3-7 years of residency. Tack on another 1 or more years if they decide
to do fellowship. Plus the average student debt for graduating
medical students is near $200,000. Given the opportunity cost and significant
loan burden, it still takes some time for physicians to catch up to their peers. These numbers have been explained time and
time again, but another largely overlooked reason is the distribution of income amongst
physicians versus other professions. If you are a physician working full time,
there’s a very high likelihood that you’ll be making low to mid six figures. Not too many do more than that, and not too
many do less. In statistical terms, we call this a low variance. With other professions, however, there is
a much broader spread. If you’re a higher level programmer or business
person in a large company, making seven figures is not out of the ordinary. Do some physicians make seven figures? Absolutely, but they’re the exception and
not the rule. Number four, All Doctors Know Medicine Broadly If you don’t use it, you lose it. For most physicians, they’ll have the highest
level of broadly applicable knowledge after taking Step 2CK during their last year in
medical school. And it’s all downhill from there. Once upon a time, every physician had the
cervical plexus memorized and could recite all the different types of diabetes management
and a slew of other useful pieces of information. But if one’s specialty is not regularly
doing work in these areas, it’s only human to forget the details after a certain period
of nonuse. Would you expect your dermatologist to be
well equipped to handle your high blood pressure or anxiety? Obviously not, and that’s why we have cardiology
and psychiatry as specialties instead. Sorry grandma, I’m not the best person to
tell you what dose of hypertension meds you should be taking. Number five, We’re in Bed With Pharmaceutical Companies It’s almost comical to me how often you see lay people talking about doctors as if
they’re evil and just want to push drugs to make money off your sick health. These are the same people that need to lay
off the bath crystals and let go of their tin foil hats. The reason we go into medicine is ultimately
to help people. Most of us love the biology and science, the
intellectual stimulation, and some even get a little too caught up in the prestige and
salary. But at the end of the day, physicians are
in the business of healing their patients. Are there bad apples? Sure, but that’s with anything in life and
they are exceedingly rare. As a whole, physicians want what is best for
you. The overwhelming majority don’t even have
any affiliation or incentives from pharmaceutical companies. And while pharmaceutical companies are highly
polarizing given some of their more scrupulous business practices, understand that if they
didn’t ultimately help people with their technologies and medications, they’d be
out of business. People like to talk in black and white, but
the truth is always more nuanced than that. Don’t be a sucker for the sensationalism
and extreme opinions that are more fiction than fact. Number six We Know the Answer and Don’t Need Your Input This misconception is more common amongst the older generation. It’s a common belief that doctors already
know the answer and don’t care what you think. Good physicians understand the utility of
asking a patient what they think is at the root of their concerns. In fact, the proper use of this sort of questioning
can actually help reach a diagnosis, and equally important, be the foundation upon which a
doctor can educate a patient on how to practice the most effective treatment. Often times, patients misunderstand the genesis
of their disease or the interplay between factors. For example, when I volunteered at the free
clinic, some diabetic patients believed that taking insulin causes one to become blind,
have peripheral nerve damage in the hands and feet, and lead to kidney dysfunction. After understanding my patients’ concerns,
I was able to educate them they those are sequelae or poorly managed diabetes, not the
insulin itself. Proper use of insulin, in fact, works to combat
the high blood sugar levels that lead to these pathologies. And number 7, Doctors Are Invincible This is a misconception that both the public and physicians themselves often believe. Maybe it’s because physicians are healers
and help others, or maybe it’s because they’re expected to act selflessly for much of their
training and make immense sacrifices. Whatever the cause, this misconception is
ultimately incredibly harmful. If you don’t take care of yourself, how
can you expect to take care of others? Physicians that are fatigued or overworked
are prone to making more errors, and that’s bad for patient outcomes. The epidemic of burnout, depression, and suicide
amongst medical students and physicians is something I’ve covered in greater detail
in a previous video. It’s also a cause I’m deeply passionate
about and investing my own time and energy into through the #SaveOurDoctors initiative. If you enjoyed this video, you’ll love my
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to unsubscribe, and I promise I’ll never spam you. Thank you so much for watching. Are there any other misconceptions I missed? Let me know with a comment down below. If you liked the video, let me know with a
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in that next one.

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