The Student Perspective
Third-year Case Western Reserve School of Medicine student Tim Anderson is president of Case Western Reserve’s chapter of Physicians for Human Rights and vice president of the university’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association. He holds a master’s degree in bioethics.
The health care system does impact how we choose our fields. The media often focus on how primary-care doctors are underpaid compared to specialists, and, while this is both true and a direct result of the current insurance system, what I have learned from my mentors at Case Western Reserve is that the biggest obstacle in primary care is the frequency burn out—often after five to 10 years of practice due to heavy work hours, paperwork and difficulty communicating with their patients. Recruitment of primary-care doctors is further complicated by low reimbursements and a lack of excitement at medical school for primary care due to the less advantageous lifestyle.
I have not chosen a specialty yet, but I’m leaning towards pediatrics or internal medicine because I value their continuity of patient care. As medical students, I think we generally have a fresh and optimistic outlook to health care reform. We are still separate enough from billing and paperwork to think about how to address health disparities and improve medical care through reform, and not just change payment methods.