The health care industry is highly rewarding, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of accomplishment from helping people and overcoming challenges along the way. You must have the right temperament, however, for if you don’t, it will become a waking nightmare, severely depress you and leave you angry and disillusioned with the world.
The first major concern is that people are kind of disgusting, even the beautiful, kind ones. Nurses regularly deal with vomit and feces, surgeons work with literal blood and guts, and technicians must assist weird looking naked people all the time. Even if you’re merely helping as part of an occupational therapy program, you’ll most likely have to touch people, smell their breath and listen to their stories about yucky experiences. Getting desensitized to nastiness is absolutely required. I’ve heard horror stories about medical students, deep in debt, who didn’t know that seeing blood would make them faint until their second or third year, so if you’re already worried, just reading this, it’s likely not for you.
Blinded With Science!
The difficulties with biology, math or chemistry are a common initial concern, but those aspects never change and become quite a bit easier with practice. Those basic skills are also what translates to better pay, so that will come to be something you prefer. Math and chemistry are trustworthy in ways that people often are not.
Dangerous and Boring
Another source of strife is the repetitive boring procedures, protocols, and paperwork. Because of the liability, insurance, and government agencies, there are many tasks that seem pointless, redundant wastes of time. Yet they are often necessary for good outcomes and aren’t too complicated. They get easier, if not throbbingly exciting. And paperwork at least isn’t smelly.
Your Better Nature
The biggest issue is certainly that most people are a bit grouchy, especially when they’re sick or in pain or overworked. They’re rarely grateful, even if they aren’t worried about finances, so you must have a strong internal value system to thrive. If you don’t know what you’re doing good for your fellow humans despite never hearing about it, you will burn out. The consolation is that your peers in medicine will be in the same situation, so there is some emotional support among the best places. Unfortunately, far more often, the grouchiest people are your peers. Because of the ornery patient and often overworked staff you’ll be surrounded by, handling difficult people will absolutely be your most important skill. With the right attitude, you can make the best of it, and even enjoy the effort and successes. With the wrong personality, you’ll make things worse, and in a hurry.
If you’re considering a career in health care, volunteer as an orderly or aide, to make sure that you can handle the strife and yuckiness. Anyone can handle it, for a little while. The real question is whether you can handle it every day.