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21 Compelling Reasons To Become A Doctor

21 Compelling Reasons To Become A Doctor

Updated on: December 3, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

If you’re considering a career in medicine, you may be looking into some of the reasons why people choose to study medicine and become a doctor.

From helping others to being able to work anywhere in the world to job security, there are a multitude of reasons why many people choose to pursue a career in medicine.

Over the last few years of working as a doctor, I’m still discovering new reasons why I genuinely think it’s the best job in the world.

In this article, I’m going to explore 21 reasons to become a doctor, including some of my best personal experiences of working in healthcare.

The Chance To Make A Difference

It’s undoubtedly a bit of a cliché, but one of the most rewarding aspects of being a doctor is the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives.

As a doctor, you have the power to help others on potentially one of the worst days of their lives.

You can provide comfort and support to patients and their families during difficult times, and help them navigate complex medical issues with compassion and understanding.

Reasons To Become A Doctor Pixel Infographic

Whether you’re working in a hospital, clinic, or private practice, you will have the opportunity to build strong relationships with your patients and their families.

You will be able to listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.

In almost no other profession do you have such unfiltered access to people’s lives while simultaneously having the power to make a real positive impact.

The Ability To Work Anywhere

Potentially one of the greatest benefits of pursuing a career as a doctor is the ability to work pretty much anywhere in the world.

Every country needs doctors and many are experiencing a shortage of healthcare professionals and are actively recruiting doctors from other countries.

This means that if you’re interested in working abroad, there are plenty of opportunities available to you.

Many medical professionals choose to work in different countries for a period of time, allowing them to gain valuable experience and broaden their horizons.

Lots of my friends are choosing to take a bit of time out from working in the NHS to go and work as a junior doctor in Australia or New Zealand.

Equally, a few of my more adventurous friends have spent time working with non-profit organisations delivering healthcare in places like Kenya, Zambia or Nepal.

This can be an excellent way to learn about different cultures and healthcare systems and to make connections with other medical professionals from around the world.

A Career With High Demand

Being a doctor and working in medicine is a career that will almost certainly always have high demand.

The UK is currently extremely short of doctors, particularly in certain specialities such as general practice and psychiatry.

Two surgeons performing a bronchoscopy
Two doctors performing a bronchoscopy

This means there are plenty of job opportunities available for doctors and you’re likely to find work quickly after completing your training.

Furthermore, as the population grows and ages, the demand for healthcare services will also increase.

As a result, working in medicine is likely to be a stable and secure career path for many years to come.

The Satisfaction Of Problem-Solving

As a doctor, you’ll have the opportunity to solve complex medical problems and make a real difference in people’s lives. For me, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of the profession.

One of the key skills that you do develop through medical school and as a doctor is problem-solving.

You’ll be presented with a range of medical issues and will need to use your knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat them effectively.

This can be challenging, but it is also incredibly satisfying when you’re able to find a solution.

You need to be able to think on your feet and make quick decisions in high-pressure situations. This requires a combination of knowledge, experience, and intuition.

One of the most satisfying aspects of problem-solving as a doctor however is the impact your solution can have on your patients.

By finding an answer to a medical problem, you can help to alleviate pain, improve quality of life, and even save lives.

This is incredibly rewarding and can give you a real sense of purpose and fulfilment.

The Journey Of Lifelong Learning

Medicine is a constantly evolving field and it’s crucial to keep up with the latest developments as a practising doctor.

Lifelong learning allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest medical research and treatments. This means you can always provide your patients with the most effective care possible, taking advantage of the latest advancements in the field.

Not only does this constant evolution benefit your patients, but lifelong learning keeps your mind active and engaged. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and stay intellectually stimulated over a career.

Learning new things can also help you grow as a person. It can broaden your perspective and help you develop new interests and passions.

People can spend over 50 years working in their job, so you want to pick a vocation that will keep you interested and stimulated over all that time.

High Earning Potential

While money certainly shouldn’t be your primary motivator, there’s no denying that becoming a doctor can lead to a highly lucrative career.

While junior doctors don’t get paid particularly well at all in the NHS, a doctor’s earning potential can really start to take off later on in their career.

Once a doctor has reached the top rung of the training ladder, they have a lot more opportunities for taking on private work.

While an NHS consultant’s salary is certainly nothing to sniff at, the real money is made in private practice.

This can be anything from performing private hip replacements as an orthopaedic surgeon to breast augmentation surgeries as a plastic surgeon.

Doctors working privately can easily double their NHS salary, comfortably taking home multiple 6 figures.

Job Security

Tying into the high demand for doctors we discussed earlier, becoming a doctor is one of the most secure career paths you can choose.

Once you become a doctor, you can expect to have a stable job with a regular income. This means that you can plan your life and finances with confidence, knowing that you have a secure job.

Medicine in the UK has extremely robust training pathways for junior doctors: once you graduate from medical school, there’s a clear path laid out for you to take you from day 1 graduate to consultant physician, surgeon or GP.

You don’t have to put too much thought into which jobs are going to best advance your career or whether you’re stuck in a dead-end posting.

As long as you don’t make any serious medical errors, and keep in good standing with the General Medical Council, you’re extremely unlikely to lose your job and there will always be work for you.

The Opportunity To Specialise

If you so choose, you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in a particular field of medicine. This means you can focus on a specific area of interest and become an expert in that field.

Specialising can be a great way to increase your knowledge and skills and to become more valuable in the medical industry.

There are many different specialisations available to doctors, including cardiology, neurology, oncology, paediatrics, and psychiatry.

Each specialisation requires a different set of skills and knowledge, and each offers its own unique challenges and rewards.

By specialising you get to choose the particular area of medicine that interests you the most and that you find most rewarding- and then only focus on that.

Additionally, specialised doctors often have more control over their work schedules and are able to work in a variety of settings, including private practice, research, and academia.

Involvement In The Community

Doctors have the opportunity to make a real positive impact on their local community.

In times gone by, the GP was a staple of the local community and town- and although times have somewhat changed, there’s still plenty of opportunity to get involved.

Community involvement can take many forms, from volunteering as a subject matter expert for organisations to participating in health fairs and community events.

A virtual reality stand at a medical health fair

By getting involved in community outreach programs, you can also help to improve the health and well-being of those around you.

By taking an active role in your community, you’ll help to raise awareness about important health issues and promote healthy lifestyle choices.

In addition to improving the health of your community, community involvement will also almost certainly benefit you as a doctor.

By building relationships with community members and other healthcare professionals, you can establish a strong network of support and resources that may prove invaluable in overcoming personal challenges down the road.

Respect And Prestige

A common reason people choose to become doctors is in part due to the respect and prestige that comes with the profession.

Doctors are highly regarded and respected members of society, and their job is considered one of the most noble and honourable professions.

As a doctor, you will be viewed as an expert in your field, and people will trust and rely on your knowledge and expertise.

You will be responsible for the health and well-being of your patients, and this level of responsibility commands respect and admiration from others.

It can be a lot to take on at first, but as you grow into the role it is unquestionably a privilege to be trusted as such by your patients.

Patients and their families often look up to doctors as people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and this can be a very rewarding aspect of the profession.

Being Able To Serve Others

Being able to “help others” is another cliché that medicine applicants frequently reel off at medical school interviews.

While it isn’t necessarily original, it is one of the most common reasons people pursue a career in medicine.

However, in order to impress medical school interviewers your reasons for pursuing medicine don’t have to be original- they just have to be genuine.

As a doctor, you will have the opportunity to help people in a meaningful way every day, improving their health and well-being.

There are many ways in which you can serve others as a doctor.

This can be through the direct delivery of healthcare, such as from a hospital or GP practice, but it can also be through providing preventative care and health education, or even by working to improve access to healthcare and address health disparities in your community.

The Chance To Teach Others

As a doctor, you have the opportunity to teach and mentor others. You can share your knowledge and experience with medical students, more junior doctors, and other healthcare professionals.

This can be a rewarding experience that allows you to make a positive impact on the future of medicine.

Teaching can take many forms. You might lead a lecture or seminar, supervise a clinical rotation, or provide guidance and advice to a junior colleague.

Whatever the format, teaching can help you refine your own skills and deepen your understanding of medicine.

In addition to teaching within the medical community, you can also educate your patients.

As a doctor, you have a responsibility to explain medical concepts and procedures in a way that is understandable to your patients. This can help them make informed decisions about their health and treatment options.

The Opportunity To Innovate

As a doctor, you can contribute to the development of new medical treatments and technologies. 

You can conduct research, design clinical trials and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to advance medical knowledge and improve patient outcomes.

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving and doctors play a critical role in driving this change.

You can identify areas for improvement, implement new processes and technologies, and help to create a more efficient and effective healthcare system.

Innovation in healthcare is not just about developing new technologies or treatments, however.

It’s also about finding new ways to deliver care that is more patient-centred, compassionate, and personalised.

As a healthcare professional, you can work with patients and their families to understand their unique needs and preferences and develop care plans that are tailored to their individual circumstances.

The Variety Of Daily Work

Doctors encounter a huge range of medical cases and patients throughout their careers.

This variety of daily work is one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of being a doctor: pretty much no two days are the same.

Every day you’ll face new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow as a professional.

You’ll work with patients of all ages, backgrounds, and medical conditions, from newborns to the elderly.

While you might be working in the same hospital, with the same medical team, on the same acute wards, by virtue of working with the general public each day will bring fresh experiences.

The Opportunity To Work In A Variety Of Settings

As a doctor, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, from primary or secondary care to laboratories, schools, and even (if you wanted to) NASA.

This means that you can choose a work environment that suits your interests, skills, and lifestyle.

In a hospital, you’ll work with a team of healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat patients with a wide range of conditions.

You’ll have access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and you’ll be able to work in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

Two surgeons and a nurse performing a thoracoscopy
A surgical team performing a thoracoscopy

If you prefer a more community-based approach to healthcare, you might consider working in a GP practice.

Here, you’ll build long-term relationships with patients and their families, providing continuity of care and helping to prevent illness and disease.

For those who enjoy research and development, a career in a laboratory might be the perfect fit. Here, you’ll work on cutting-edge projects, developing new treatments and therapies that can improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

Or equally, if you’re looking for a more adventurous career, you might consider working on expeditions or in remote locations. Doctors are often needed to provide medical care to explorers, scientists, and other professionals working in challenging environments.

As you can see, the opportunities for doctors are endless. Whether you prefer a traditional hospital setting or a more unconventional career path, there’s a role out there that’s a perfect fit for you.

The Opportunity To Lead

The opportunity to lead might seem like a bit of a strange item to include on a list of reasons to become a doctor, but I think it is an under-appreciated aspect of the job. 

As a doctor, you have the opportunity to lead in various ways. You can lead your team of healthcare professionals and be a thought leader for your patients and their families.

In your role as a doctor, you’re often the leader of a team of healthcare professionals, including nurses, physician associates, and more junior doctors.

You’re responsible for coordinating care, delegating tasks, and making important decisions. By leading your team effectively, you can ensure that your patients receive the best possible care.

This responsibility to your patients in making sure your team works effectively can be incredibly rewarding when things go well.

Equally, you can act as a leader and role model for your patients directly, giving advice on lifestyle, treatment choices, home life and everything in between.

The Chance To Work In A Team

No matter what you might see on TV, medicine is a team sport.

The best care is delivered by teams that include doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and a host of other healthcare professionals.

Working in a team allows you to collaborate with other professionals, share knowledge and expertise, and learn from each other.

It also allows you to provide a more comprehensive approach to patient care, as each member of the team brings a unique perspective and skillset to the table.

Working in a team can also provide emotional support and help alleviate stress.

The healthcare field can be challenging and demanding, and having a supportive team can make all the difference in maintaining a positive work environment and providing quality care for patients.

Some more solitary professions can be quite lonely at times, but in medicine, you’ll often be able to lean on an incredibly supportive network of colleagues.

The Ability To Impact Public Health

I think public health is an incredibly exciting field; instead of being able to help one patient sat in front of you, you’re able to help potentially thousands of patients out there by improving public health policy.

As a doctor, you have the ability to impact public health in a significant way.

Your role in public health involves preventing disease, improving the health of the population, and promoting life expectancy.

This can either be through actually specialising in public health, and becoming a public health consultant, or just by taking an active role in improving your community’s health through your chosen speciality.

You can educate your patients and the wider community about healthy lifestyle choices, disease prevention, and the importance of regular check-ups. This can help to raise awareness and improve public health outcomes.

Doctors can also contribute to public health research by conducting studies, collecting data, and analysing health trends.

This research can help to identify risk factors for disease, develop new treatments, and improve both local and national public health policies.

The Chance To Shape The Future of Medicine

By working in medicine, you have the opportunity to shape the future of medicine. With advances in technology and research, medicine is constantly evolving, and you can be a part of that change.

Your ability to shape the future of medicine comes from a lot of the things that we’ve already discussed.

Whether that be contributing to medical research and helping develop new treatments and cures for diseases, teaching and mentoring the next generation of doctors, or using your medical expertise to influence healthcare policy and advocate for better patient care.

By speaking out on issues that affect healthcare, you can make a difference in the lives of your patients and the wider community both now and for years to come.

The Chance To Leave A Legacy

Finally, I wanted to end on this: the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in the lives of your patients.

Again, I don’t think it’s something that’s often discussed, even among doctors, but leaving a positive legacy is a huge privilege that medicine can offer you in your life.

The care and compassion you show during the treatment of your patients will be remembered by them and their loved ones for years to come.

As a doctor, you have the chance to build meaningful relationships with your patients and their families. Your kindness and empathy can make a lasting impact on their lives, even after their treatment is over.

Your work can have a positive impact on the lives of countless individuals, leaving a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.

Final Thoughts

The 21st and final reason to become a doctor (in my humble opinion) is that due to all the above, it is just an amazingly fun job to have! There truly is nothing else quite like it.

If you’re still not convinced by the prospect of pursuing medicine then it may just not be the career for you.

The truth is that working in healthcare can be incredibly tough and if you’re not going to appreciate the wins then there really won’t be much in it for you.

However, I imagine that at least a few of the reasons on that list truly resonated with you and hopefully deepened your drive to become a doctor.

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.