Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 541: The case for primary care

I'm not even remotely accepted to med school and yet, the idea of specializing is already beginning to ebb at my periphery. A friend of mine just got into med school and he was already concerned with what specialty he was going to go into. I said, "J! You just got in. Maybe you could just revel in that wonderful fact and worry about that stuff when it comes." And then he prattled on about "there's room at the top, just nowhere to sit." (Translation: working hard doesn't let you sit down. You've got to keep going-going-going.)

And with his acceptance, came my growing fear that I wouldn't get in. Whatsmore, there's the fear that I do get in and I'm not good enough. Or, even worse, what if I get in and I rock? Will I look like a lame duck for going into primary care instead of one of the more "prestigious" medical specialties (radiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, anesthesiology or dermatology)?

That's something I've grappled with ever since I put this crazy idea into effect. I wholeheartedly believe in my abilities and I know I could play with the big-boys. I could specialize and I could kick major butt. But, with the obvious issues we're having with our health care system, primary care is something that's on the forefront of something. Is that something change? If so, is it good-change of bad-change?

Pauline Chen's most recent article for the New York Times made a case for primary care. She brought up a lot of the issues that face primary care physicians, from what primary care physicians symbolize to the money they make. Of course, I'm way too early in the game to even consider any of this, but it is something I think about. Do I have more pride and ego than I thought? Do I actually care what other people think of me? If I do, can I overlook it all and go into what I deem to be the best medium for me to help people?

The message is's just getting lost in translation.