Is an M.D. Worth It Any More?

By Hayes, Cassandra | Black Enterprise, February 1996 | Go to article overview

Is an M.D. Worth It Any More?


Hayes, Cassandra, Black Enterprise


Ever since she was a child, Dr. Yvonne Mason knew she would be a doctor. With her family's strong support behind her, she toiled many sleepless nights at her studies at Hunter College and Harvard Medical School in an effort to reach her goal.

In mid-1994, as the end of her residency at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital neared, Mason eagerly awaited the opportunity to finally practice as a full-fledged anesthesiologist. "Like everyone else, I thought, I'm a doctor, I shouldn't have a problem finding a job, but no one was grabbing me up," says a thirtyish Mason, who holds a master's degree in public health as well.

The market for anesthesiologists was bleak, Mason explains, and she, like many of her colleagues, faced stiff competition in a city where many hospitals were not hiring due to lack of funds. Seven months before the completion of her residency, the Brooklyn native mailed out 40 resumes to local hospitals. But solid job offers were few and far between.

With a seven-year-old daughter to care for and student loans to pay, Mason briefly considered several unconventional options, such as freelancing her services to local clinics. In the end though, she received five job offers, accepting one from Brooklyn Hospital. The unexpected difficulties she encountered in trying to carve out a successful career in the midst of a rapidly changing industry have not dampened her enthusiasm for what she still regards as her calling. As for what lies ahead, Mason says her success as a doctor is not a finite destination, but something for which she continually strives.

Young doctors like Mason are getting easier to find these days. Thanks to managed health care, the once predictable guarantees of independence, prosperity and prestige are no longer in the offing. Thus, those entering medicine today tend to be motivated more by altruism and a true desire to serve than by money. Mason, for example, was lured to the profession by traditional idealized notions. Like many before her, she finds personal success in the faithful discharge of care and the knowledge that she provides comfort to the needy, despite the cost.

As managed health care transforms once autonomous professionals into "employees," the demand for fewer specialists and more generalists increases and doctors are racing to keep up. But perhaps more importantly, they are being forced to adapt their goals and expectations as the image and the options for physicians go through a dramatic overhaul. Adapting, for some, is proving hard to do.

A stubborn resistance to change has already caused some doctors to abandon their practices altogether rather than give up their independence. In the end that may be shortsighted. "We need to protect our patients," says James Harold, a Baltimore psychiatrist who advocates the if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em approach to tackling the managed health care behemoth. Harold says many blacks on Medicaid and Medicare will find fewer black doctors if those doctors don't become more proactive. In an effort to galvanize strength, Harold, along with a group of other psychiatrists, formed the partnership Urban Behavioral Associates, which contracts with the Baltimore Hospital Liberty Health Systems.

Others - particularly those still drawn to medicine for the money - are less conciliatory. Six - digit salaries have long been a major enticement to medicine, and with good reason. Burdened with student loans, the average young doctor leaves medical school with a debt load of $100,000, the equivalent of a small mortgage. "Those thinking of entering the profession must be clear about what drives them," says Dr. Gregory Morris, a health care consulting partner at Ernst & Young L.L.P. in Atlanta. "If you are drawn for income potential, status, independence and autonomy - some of the strongest motivators - then you should reconsider."

Others agree. "Being a doctor is going to get worse before it gets better," warns Leonard Yaffe M. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is an M.D. Worth It Any More?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.