Stress can cripple one emotionally, even those who are well off. We have always heard that “money can’t buy happiness,” and a recent study into the lives of American physicians back up this cliché with great strength. According to the thedailybeast.com, being a doctor has become the most miserable occupation in America.
An astonishing nine out of 10 physicians would not recommend going into the medical field, and 300 physicians are projected to commit suicide this year.
This editorial board believes this is a byproduct of a broken health care system, and the mental health of our physicians needs to be preserved in order for the health care system to improve.
Constant stress and sleep deprivation are destroying our doctors around the country. According to the same article by The Daily Beast, primary care doctors typically see about 24 patients a day, limiting the amount of time a patient can see the doctor in his office. Not to mention, doctors work ridiculously late hours, interrupting their basic biological need for sleep and relaxation.
Other professions that have innocent lives dependent on their work (pilots, bus drivers, air traffic controllers) have regular sleeping schedules. Yet, the people who operate on our bodies and attempt to cure our ailments might be running on fumes. These people should be in tip-top shape in terms of mental clarity, instead of fighting back fatigue.
Their family lives can take a turn for the worst because of the extreme hours; they don’t have time to spend with their significant other or their kids, which can obviously degrade their family relationships.
They also have the lives of other people in their hands. Can you imagine the humiliation or shame a doctor could experience if he made a mistake diagnosing someone and they end up in critical health because of the misdiagnosis? On top of the misdiagnosis, doctors are liable for the mistakes they make, making them susceptible to lawsuits.
For students going into the medical profession, after reading interpretations of the current state of the medical field, this editorial board hopes that budding doctors are aware of the demanding aspects of the job. The profession has enveloped current doctors’ lives completely, pushing them to the brink of retiring early or dropping the profession altogether.
Stress management and tough skin seem like a necessity for this kind of work, especially during the current state of today’s medical care system. The demand in this profession is incredible, especially the financial burden. Graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of loans might be worth it if the outlook of the profession was not so bleak. Medical care needs to top the list of priorities to improve, or else this could get worse.