Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Is being a doctor a vocation?

Doctors’ vocation: true satisfaction comes from what you put in

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 31 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1272
  1. Ieuan H Davies, consultant paediatric gastroenterologist
  1. Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK
  1. ieuan.davies{at}

Kar challenges doctors to consider why we chose medicine and what motivates us to continue.1 He offers insight as to his reasons but leaves more questions than answers.

Family influence contributed to my decision through a tacit understanding of what might be involved instead of direct persuasion. Like others in the UK, this choice was made around the age of 17. But, even now, I do not know how medicine differs from other careers because it is all I have known for 27 years. I do ponder what not being a doctor might be like. But when I feel dispirited or question my choice, I reflect on times when I have been present and influential during key moments in other people’s lives. This job is important, hardly ever boring, and is well rewarded.

When I qualified my grandfather wrote to me, “But with the privileges come also the responsibilities. Do not forget that one does not enter the profession primarily for what one will get out of it. True satisfaction will come mainly from what one puts into the profession and into society generally.” This sentiment continues to drive me.


  • Competing interests: None declared.


View Abstract

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription