Joining a Gang
Over on SDN, there has been quite a popular thread brewing this week entitled “Why do you keep doing it if you’re miserable?” http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=478369 . This got me thinking-
Isn’t Medicine in many ways just like joining a gang?
Now now… bear with me for a moment…I realize that this may be a bit of a stretch but hear me out. In order to get into a gang one must undergo a brutal initiation. If you survive getting the crap beaten out of you, then you can proudly call yourself a gangster. Likewise, to call yourself a doctor you must undergo four years of torture called medical school in the form of endless tests and being pissed on by everybody including the assistant of the nursing assistant.
Gangs are said to use physical violence to keep their members in check just as verbal and mental violence is freely unleashed about the hospital work environment to keep residents always on guard. Gangs also define themselves as being opposed to mainstream norms. Whereas normal people work 9-5, don’t allow themselves to get beeped at 2AM, or work 30 hrs STRAIGHT, Medicine sees this as perfectly acceptable. Now if this way of life does not seem to be the paradise that you had previously envisioned, you are in for a rude awakening. If you try to get out of the gang you will be hunted down and killed. If you leave medicine, you have broken your vows to the NRMP contract and are blacklisted from re entering the match (not that you would ever want to return to residency if you are lucky enough to get to this point). You would never talk about this Machiavellian scheme to others in your gang or residency for fear of being labeled “weak” or “lazy” or “stupid”. You will quickly be made to feel like an outsider and that is the last thing anyone wants to feel. So like most everyone else in your predicament, you shut up and suck it up and stay just like some battered wife who refuses to leave her husband.