David Oliver: Leaving medicine—is the grass always greener?BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3254 (Published 11 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3254
All rapid responses
It was very interesting to read this article on leaving medicine, in a widely read medical journal.
I am at the aspiring stage, the very start of what I see as a very exciting career path.
That some doctors contemplate leaving, or indeed leave the profession, has to this point not even crossed my mind.
For me, green grass is where I want to be, "greener" isn't something in my sphere. It might be greener when I've selected one speciality over another, and that is as green as I would need it to get. Everything else should be the profession's fight as a whole.
I appreciate that priorities change over time, and job satisfaction or rather dissatisfaction might be effected by various factors, "trivial" or otherwise such as paperwork or non-clinical "mundane" staff. However, the profession should stand together for its values and fight for change while continuing in its aims which drive us into medicine in the first place. Clearly some factors in job satisfaction could come purely from choice of speciality, for example obstetrics on-call might not be the same as dermatology.
It would be worth mentioning that a truly inspiring doctor trainer/mentor probably transmits enough enthusiasm to students to last them a whole career, and make it successful and worthwhile. Even at times of hardship the memory of a role model could make a positive difference.
Also, doctors spend at least ten years of training, and if they change career, they have potentially wasted quite a big portion of their life. So to leave medicine, one would not just have to leave to find greener grass, but because there is no grass left in their field - a truly unlikely scenario. You loved it for ten years or more, "remember thy first love" and work hard to rekindle it, and it shall reward you even more!
Competing interests: No competing interests