Good and bad reasons to study Medicine

Patricia Hului
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So you just received your SPM results and scored straight As. Good for you. ‘You can be a doctor, your results are straight As!’, ‘Why don’t you become an engineer because your results are great!’ are among the things your parents and a long line of relatives and teachers may be telling you to do when you’re trying to decide what to study.


Prof Reg Jordan giving a funny but down-to-earth talk on the reasons you shouldn't be a doctor.

Prof Reg Jordan giving a funny but down-to-earth talk on the reasons you should and shouldn’t be a doctor.

One career choice that some straight A students go for is medicine. But before you fill in that application form to a medical school or head to that medical interview, you might want to read on for some tips.

During The Borneo Post International Education Fair (BPIEF), Professor Reg Jordan the provost and chief executive officer of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia gave an eloquent and informative talk, ‘So, You Want to Become Doctor’.

With more than 40 years of experience in medicine, Jordan laid out these good and bad reasons to study medicine.

Good Reasons for Studying Medicine

1. It is an interesting career.

There are so many branches in medicine. After studying to become a general doctor, one can look into neurosurgery or cardiology.

If you are interested in feet, you can study chiropody. How about urology, the study of diseases of the urinary system, or medical treatment for them? 

2. You want a career that allows to use your abilities to the fullest.

You will find that a career in medicine maximises your full potential.

According to Jordan, a junior doctor in Malaysia is required to work 66 hours a week. “Many young people I know are not awake for 66 hours a week, let alone working,” he added.

Jordan quoted United State Army General Creighton Williams Abrams Jr (1914-1974), “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” to describe the immensity of the field of medicine and how a doctor not only required stamina but also perseverance and good time management.

3. You are interested in people

Medicine is first and foremost about people.

“You cannot be a good doctor if you are not interested in people,” Jordan said.

You have to decide if long hour shifts dealing with some cranky, some grumpy and others, just plain annoying, sick people is for you.

4. You can make a difference.


Bad Reasons for Studying Medicine

 1. Because you or family member has been ill

It can be a trigger when you once take care an elderly or ill family member. Jordan reminded that caring for someone who is family is different from caring for a stranger.

Everybody has been sick. Does it mean that everybody wants to become a doctor? “Medicine is a vocation, not a job,” he stressed.

2. Because you want to save the world.

“Making a difference is one thing but you are not going to be the next Albert Schweitzer,” Jordan emphasised. Schweitzer was a physician, theologian, organist, and philosopher who died in 1965. He was known for his medical missionary work in Africa.

Going into medicine just because you want to save the world is far-fetched. Be realistic, is every doctor out there a superhero?

3. Just because you come from a family of doctors.

This is a very valid reason not to become a doctor, he said. Same goes if you want to become a lawyer just because your father is a lawyer.

“Make sure it is what you want to do, not what the family dynasty wants to do,” Jordan reminded the medical student hopefuls who attended the talk.

“Too many people dropped out from medical school because they realised medicine is not for them.”

4. Because you like Grey’s Anatomy.

This reason reminds me of the 17-year-old me who wanted to study forensic science just because I was obsessed with CSI and never missed an episode back then.

So don’t study medicine because you like Grey’s Anatomy, House, ER or any other medical dramas. Jordan highlighted, “That is not medicine. It may be good television drama but it is not medicine. It is not the glamorous life you see in the TV.”

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1 Response

  1. collen chipendo says:

    what if you have every reason not to study medicine, but deep deep inside you there is something that is pushing you to study medicine

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