I wanted to get into medicine to save lives. It sounds cliche, but it is true. I imagined being a healthcare professional as something super rewarding, a stable career that will provide for me and my family, and an area where the learning never stops (because ya girl loves to learn).
In the past 20+ years, I can honestly say I have saved many lives. Whether there was
an emergency condition where I needed to intervene, or there was life-saving education for a patient, lives have been saved. I can also say my career has been relatively stable. Even during the pandemic, when many healthcare professionals experienced job loss, layoff, or difficulty finding employment, I was blessed to have been gainfully employed. We all know things can change at the drop of a dime, but my career has been stable. I have been in a position to help contribute financially to my family and that is huge coming from where I came from. There have also been countless rewards. To know you have directly and positively impacted a person's life or their family's life is priceless. It gives you that feel-good feeling that helps you want to do it over and over again. Also, the learning never stops. I mean, medicine is evolving, science is full of discoveries, so no matter how much I learn, there is always something new to learn.
I want you to know that working in healthcare is not for the faint of heart. Even before the pandemic, and worse now, this industry was one of the toughest fields because there is so much emotion involved. Depending on what specialty you work in and what patient population you encounter, there is that draining sensation when you are helpless as a provider. Meaning, no matter how intelligent you are and how well you know the protocols for disease management, there are many things outside your control. From a lack of available resources to housing issues, to administrative practices and insurance companies that inhibit you from providing the best possible care. There are the patient engagement and satisfaction surveys that lack context and objectivity that make the caring experience stressful. There are entitled people that are combative, rude, and disrespectful which can be triggering.
Let's not dismiss the lack of reward and gratitude for being in this type of service. I cannot lie, there are some days I want to just throw my hands up and walk away. Mainly because I cannot respond how I really want to respond to some of these grievances. I'm here though because I know I was called to help people. Help people get well, get better, and be in control of their health. To educate and change generations by changing how they live. I also know I was meant to show others the way.
So, despite being tired, frustrated, and annoyed sometimes, I try my best not to live in that space. I really am a soldier, in fact, all my healthcare colleagues are soldiers! We see life from the beginning to the end, and in-between. We are innovative and adaptable. Wait...are we warriors! Yes, we are warriors! We are superheroes in real life.
If you want to go into healthcare, make sure the reasons are clear and know that you will need to put your armor on and get ready for a wild ride!
Dr. Jackie the PA