Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Medical students consider abandoning degree because of financial pressures, survey finds

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 26 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4990

Rapid Response:

Rx for Young Doctors

Becoming a doctor is extremely difficult. A medical education is like an ultra-marathon. There are four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and three to six years of residency. The curriculum includes anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and pharmacology - but excludes nutrition, hygiene, safety, and common sense. Throughout medical school, internship, and residency, young doctors are required to take night call, which means going without sleep. In addition to sleep-deprivation, young doctors must cope with cafeteria food and frequent tests. The net effect of this ordeal is that many young doctors are malnourished, overworked, exhausted, and dazed.

This is why most doctors do not have fond memories of their medical education. As an intern on morning rounds, I remember an attending physician saying that if he woke up tomorrow and found that he was a second-year medical student, he would hang himself. We all laughed in pained agreement, because we understood the rigors of medical education. It's ironic that young doctors must sacrifice their health for the sake of an education that does not fully prepare them to cure themselves or their patients.

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 November 2018
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA