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Seasoned with Sage
Doctoritis: “I Should’ve Been a Doctor!”

Once upon a time—straight out of college—I suffered from Doctoritis. I blame it partly on my youth. But the rest of the blame lay with Dr. Steele.

You see, I was an impressionable young man and Dr. Steele had it all: he was 29, handsome, worked out at the gym and had the muscles to prove it. He also had every woman in the hospital in love with him.

I often pictured myself in his shoes. I thought, If this is what being a doctor is like, then I want to be one. In those early days, I was reluctant to tell strangers that I was a nurse, especially since the common assumption is that male nurses are usually gay.

Like all young nurses I was good at one thing--spending money on nights out on the town. Often Dr. Steele would join us. It was always entertaining to watch Dr. Steele in action. One night stands out vividly—and it’s when I first thought, I should have been a doctor, not a nurse.

That particular night a women's netball team was visiting the city, and we met up with them at the local pub. I watched several attractive ladies glance at Dr. Steele, hoping to catch his eye. One of them succeeded, and Dr. Steele went into action.

Dr. Steele was drinking a cocktail and stirred his drink with his straw. The woman with whom he'd made eye contact copied his motion. Dr. Steele then gently began to poke his straw in and out of his drink, a motion which the woman copied.

She made her way over to us. After Dr. Steele explained that he was a doctor, within minutes they left the bar.

An hour later, a grinning Dr. Steele returned to the bar. The night was young, and there was the rest of the netball team still to conquer.

Years later, I can tell you I definitely do not want to be a doctor--and I am happy as a nurse. You don't stay in this line of work for 13 years if you're not in it for the right reason. And now, as an older nurse, it is entertaining to watch the new, young, bright-eyed students succumb to Doctoritis.

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6 Responses to “Doctoritis: “I Should’ve Been a Doctor!””

  1. JoEllen Says:

    Does anyone ever wish they had been a doctor for the autonomy and power? Sometimes when I see how nurses struggle to use their weak “nursing diagnosis” language and when even though they KNOW what is wrong with a patient and they know what meds or intervention needs to be done, they have to go call a mean doctor. . .well, I wonder if I shouldn’t have gone to med school.

    any thoughts?

  2. Rachel Says:

    Nope, I can have the knowledge of a a doctor and still not have to deal with the responsibility, and that is just the way I like it. We have a new group of residents come through every few months and even when I was still on orientation I was teaching them about our patient population and hospital standards and policies. I get my days off really off and I can leave my work at the door (unless I don’t want to) every day.

  3. Kayla Says:

    I struggle with this frequently. I’m going to nursing school and I’m thinking about how much easier med school would be. I’m much better at the whole memorizing thing anyways. Then I just think of how if I was going to be a doctor I wouldn’t have a life or a modest income for 12 years.

  4. Jaclyn Says:

    I’ll be honest, nursing school was not my first choice. Growing up I really wanted to be a doctor. Even now, I catch myself getting caught up thinking that it would be great to be a doctor for the autonomy and power as JoEllen stated. However, I chose nursing because I didn’t want to give up my life and income for 12 years. I wanted to jump right in with helping patients and practicing medicine. I wanted days off and a flexible schedule. I didn’t want to deal with malpractice insurance and potential lawsuits. I think nursing will be a good fit for me. I plan on pursing graduate degrees, but in nursing disciplines. We’ll see. I can always go to med school later.

  5. Kim Says:

    I struggle with this sometimes, but I really love my schedule, the flexibility, and having the knowledge (to some extent) without having the responsibility! I love learning and like the fact that all my options are open. I would feel pressured to do one particular thing if I had taken half my life to prepare for it, but instead I can continually follow my passion and be right in the heart of patient care.

    Doctors also don’t often get to spend that one:one time with the patients which can really make the difference. In that way, I look at nurses as partners with the physicians by doing the things they are not able to do (time wise) and really reach out to the patients.

  6. Brittany Says:

    For all of the nurses that want a higher salary, more responsibility and autonomy, why don’t you become a nurse practitioner? It’s definitely something worth looking into.

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