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When I was growing up, it was almost preordained that I was to become a physician myself.
In the Indian community, families really push their children to become “one of the big three” with regards to profession: doctor, lawyer, or engineer.
Anything less than entering one of those professions felt as if you failed your family (and I am sure other members of the community would think your parents did not raise you properly).
As my father was an Internist and a source of inspiration, the path of medicine to me was the easiest and most logical.
Few, however, really know the struggles there are to not only become a doctor, but continuing to practice as one.
The jury is still out about how I feel when my daughter told me she wanted to become a doctor a year ago.
I thought it would be nice to have a series regarding individuals who had the opportunity to become a doctor but chose not to, and find out if there were any regrets or not.
It truly is amazing how the internet connects us all.
The following submission was a direct result of me describing the best investment decision I have ever made in my life.
Tyler Rhoades just so happened to work for the company that purchased my medical office building, Montecito Medical Real Estate, saw the write up, and then explored my blog to the point where he noticed I had a topic in my guest post request list that he was a great candidate for.
So without further ado….
Please provide some background about yourself: (age, sex, marital status, number of kids if any):
27, male, engaged, no kids
How old were you the first time you considered becoming a physician as a profession?
I had to do a month-long job shadowing class period during my junior year of high school.
I, of course, waited until the last minute to find someone to shadow so my school ended up assigning me to the emergency room down the street.
Were there any family members or close acquaintances in the medical field that may have helped foster your interest in medicine?
Nobody in my family is a physician.
My interest in medicine was fostered mainly in the emergency room my junior year of high school.
I loved it so much I went back my senior year and got my EMT license before going to college.
How far along were you in the path to become a physician when you first felt any doubts about your career choice? (high school, college, medical school, residency):
I was about halfway through my MS1 (first year medical school) year when I started having doubts.
Was there anything in the educational path to become a physician that surprised you the most?
I was expecting medical school to be tough, so I wasn’t surprised by the workload.
It was definitely like drinking from a fire hydrant like they say…
What were some of the factors that you weighed when considering whether or not to continue the path to becoming a physician?
I didn’t like the direction healthcare was going.
I worked in a PMR (Physical Medicine & Rehab) clinic before medical school so I had firsthand experience dealing with insurance companies.
Half of my time spent was on the phone with insurance companies to get prior authorizations for imaging and medication and it was so frustrating all the time.
I had a feeling by the time I was a licensed, independent physician that the insurance hurdles were only going to get worse.
Of these factors, which one did you feel had the most significant impact on your decision to leave the medical career path?
When a physician I was shadowing threw his computer mouse across the room because an MRI pre-auth was denied for coding chronic pain syndrome G89.0 instead of G89.4.
Had to then start the process all over again, file an appeal, and took about 3 hours of unnecessary work.
What aspect of medicine do you feel was the hardest to leave behind?
The patients, by far.
I loved working in a clinic before medical school and really enjoyed the few patient encounters I had during my first year of med school.
Please complete the following sentence: I would have stayed in medicine if only…..
there was less red tape.
What profession did you ultimately decide to pursue? What were some of your deciding factors that led you to choose this career?
I’m still in the medical field somewhat as I’m in private equity real estate acquisitions specializing in healthcare properties.
I knew I wanted to be around medicine still and it is a great balance to still be able to interact with physicians while having more freedom and flexibility with my career.
Are you happy that you chose to pursue your current profession or do you have any lingering regrets about giving up a medical career as a physician?
Yes, very happy.
I do not have any regrets giving up a career in medicine.
I still see the work I do as helping physicians and ultimately patients.
By purchasing physician-owned medical buildings, I’ve now allowed the physicians to attain greater financial freedom as well as re-invest those profits from the sale back into their practice to expand operations, hire new physicians, grow the practice, and ultimately improve access to care.
As far as financial ramifications of your decision, do you feel you are currently financially ahead or behind where you would be if you indeed had become a doctor?
I would say I’m financially neutral since I’m still young and early in my career.
Knowing what you know now, would you make the same choice of giving up a medical career?
I wish I would’ve skipped medical school all together and gone directly to the private equity real estate field like I am now.
If your child or a close family member confided in you that they were interested in becoming a physician, what advice would you give? Would you dissuade or encourage them along the medical path?
Ask themselves what there motivation is and if all the work and student debt is worth achieving it.
I was somewhat motivated by the financial freedom medicine offers as I had never met a poor doctor.
If money is any part of your motivation, you need to seriously reexamine the pros/cons of going into medicine.
Any parting words to any of my readers who may be considering becoming a medical doctor?
Do it only if you love it.
I work with doctors every day and still get to be around medicine, so I haven’t completely lost touch with the medical community.
Also, what your undergraduate degree is in doesn’t matter.
If you graduate with a biochemistry degree and think your stuck either going to medical school or grad school, you’re wrong.
I have a biochemistry degree and am just fine in the private equity world.
Tyler R. Rhoades
Business Development Associate
Montecito Medical Real Estate
Direct: 615-800-5515 Cell: 918-313-0314
One American Center
3100 West End Avenue, Suite 750
Nashville, TN 37203
Thank you so much for sharing your story with my readers and I.
You are correct that if money is the main motivation for pursuing a career in medicine, you will be destined to fail and be unhappy with your career choice.
There are many other professions out there that allow you to attain a net worth equal to or higher than a physician without some of the negatives associated with being a doctor (demanding hours, arduous training process, threat of medical malpractice, declining reimbursements, etc).
If you, or someone you know, initially pursued a career in medicine but have since done an about face, I would love to hear your story and possibly share it with my readers.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
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Good story. Tyler figured it out early enough to avoid getting in too deep. Nice job.
I agree. At a certain point you have put too much time and money into it and it’s like a huge sunk cost anchor. Those people practice medicine and burn out bc of it
Interesting! You never hear about the people who choose NOT to continue their medical training. But his reasoning makes sense. I know insurance is one of the biggest headaches for doctors. I definitely wouldn’t want to deal with it!
Sadly, some people realize way too late that medicine is not for them. At this point they are 300-500k+ in debt and almost forced to continue because a career change will likely never allow them to pay it off.
My radiology colleague thinks that we may be ending the golden age of radiology as we are going to get paid less and do more (already have seen that trend over several years now). I am sure it will be like that for all specialties.
I define the golden age as one to two generations before the current one.
The the ED, this was when the sole overnight MD slept in the call room for 4-6 hours and the lead nurse ordered the workups, then awoke the doc 1-2 hours before change of shift to arrange disposition of the overnight patients.
In contrast, we are about to add a 5th overnight shift where you are extremely fortunate if you get the time to pee or eat.
Very true, the golden age often seems to be reset by the younger generation. I wonder if I will be considered part of the golden age several generations from now. Which kind of sadly just demonstrates the slow decline of medicine through the years. A slow bleed that can’t be stopped.