To worry about DS wanting to be a doctor?(52 Posts)
DS1 is 16 and has just started A levels. He's always been a bit vague when asked if he's got any career plans but has occasionally mentioned medicine and, when we went into the school to hand his results in and firm up his A level choices, he told the tutor that he wants to do medicine.
I do have some worries about this. I have been a nurse for 20 years so know quite a bit about what's involved.
DS is quite shy and introverted, especially when he first meets people. However, he got a glowing report from his work experience at a GP practice. He's really sensitive and I don't know how he would cope with people dying on him or with really rude, aggressive patients. He's also quite 'daydreamy' and I just can't see him coping well with emergency life or death situations.His college is brilliant and they've linked him in with programmes at a number of universities and he's able to attend some of the lectures there.
He's so enthusiastic when he talks about what he's doing in biology but I get the feeling he's more interested in the theory of medicine rather than actually wanting to be a doctor and he's never actually mentioned the word doctor.
I can totally see him doing something related to medicine like research or pharmacology. I really don't want to interfere but I genuinely think he's just too much of a softy to cope as a doctor.
I would never try and put him off but would IBU to get him some information about careers in medical research or related stuff?
He's 16- stop worrying. He may well change his mind or develop into a brilliant doctor. Yes- do suggest other careers too but I wouldn't put him off being a doctor. Sounds like he is bright enough.
Only if he asks you.
My mum constantly told my little brother he couldn't be a teacher (not clever enough, too disorganised, not the right sort of person) and because she is a teacher, she thought she knew.
Fortunately, others saw his talent and he is now at an outstanding school and is a brilliant teacher.
I'm so pleased he never listened to her. She would say she was just being honest and speaking from her experience and basing her opinion of evidence (my brother is dyslexic, has a tendency to be more sporty than academic, and often is disorganised). But it just makes me sad.
Sorry- I may be projecting, but in my opinion he will be acutely aware of his own limitations and will already know medicine is more than just being a doctor. If he starts the conversation, fab- but please don't make him feel you don't believe in him.
Support him completely.
If he asks your opinion then tell him
He's a long way off medical school. You don't want to limit any of his choices, do you? Leave well alone. Being told your parents don't think you're up to something is hugely demotivating and can have long term effects. My DPs are truly wonderful but their doubts about my ability in one area skewed my education.
Ah uou can't put him off, the people they are at sixteen is not who they are as adults and university and junior doc etc will soon make him grow up.
Seriously support him, don't tell him he's too soft, that's not ok, even though uou think uouve doing it for the best.
As a current doctor, I'd say both that some of the shyest people in my year at med school made the best doctors, and also given the recent changes/political upheaval to consider associated areas eg dentistry.
I'd discourage him personally. Medicine has a pretty universal awful bullying culture. High rates of alcoholism, depression and suicide. Your son is shy, intoverted and sensitive . It does not sound like a good combination.
They mature so much though.
At 16, I had similar concerns to you. At 20, dc is much more confident and I have no qualms at all.
He is 16 he will mature even if his personality doesnt change iyswim. My shy introverted wouldnt say boo to a goose Dd is in the emergency services i was when she said that is what she wanted to do I thought she will never cope she didnt go in straight from school though she did a completly different degree first but still i was not convinced she would cope. It is natural mum worry and if you work in this area you naturally want to protect him just see how it goes but keep encouraging him.
I think that basing your judgement of a career he won't begin until his mid twenties on his personality at 16 is possibly quite short sighted. My brother at 16 was a completely different person to who he is now at 27. He was always very reserved, very quiet and a real mummy's boy. Now he is outgoing and confident and works in a customer facing role.
By all means, get him information on careers, but include the career he wants in that as well. He might see its not for him if he has a clearer idea of what is involved. Or he may decide it is definitely for him.
I'd just make sure he's got lots of info about all the different careers related to medicine. But definitely don't tell him you don't think he'd make a good doctor! Support him to educate himself about the options available in the field of study he's interested in!
He can always study medicine and move into research if he doesn't like it - there are tons of medics in research
I'd also say they are very good at getting their own info and they don't need their mums to do it for them, sorry op. And I'd also maybe think about if he told the tutor before uou...
He sounds like a great kid, be proud and support him.
He's still growing up! His adult character is still developing. And with organisational and dealing with difficult people/ confrontation is something you definitely learn quickly on the job. He'll get there if he wants to.
Did you know that qualified doctors that end up in research earn a full doctors salary, which is 3-4 times as much as an ordinary graduate who goes into research? Plus they get a lot more support and are highly regarded, and have a lot more funding options open to them. If he qualifies as a doctor and doesn't like the job he will still have loads of good career options. If he gets part way through the degree and realises it's not for him he can probably finish after 3 years with a BSc. If he can get into med school and wants to do it, you'd be mad to talk him out of it. As long as he knows you support him even if he later realises it's the wrong choice, and he won't be pressured to stay in a career he dislikes, there's nothing to lose really.
I share your reservations about the problems in working as a doctor but on the other hand you don't know how he'll turn out when he's a bit older.
I'm fairly sure a couple of our paediatric doctors would have been the shy sensitive types at 16, a bit geeky and awkward. They are however fabulous, sensitive, caring doctors. Don't discourage him OP, you cannot guess at the man he may be x
If he asks be honest but don't put it as you have here. You're making him sound like a failure before he's even started. Instead, turn it around to be about the challenges he'll face - 'You'd have to learn to detach yourself enough not to be too upset by losing a patient', rather than 'I don't know how you'd cope with people dying on you' for instance.
FWIW My DH is still introverted, daydreamy, and sensitive and has just secured a consultant post in his chosen specialism. Some parts of his training were hard for him, but he's a fantastic and very well regarded doctor now.
And your son has time to change his mind or diverge on his way to a suitable specialism.
A lot of people who go through a medical degree don't actually become doctors but work in related fields. He'll find his niche, he's only 26 so let him follow his dream, don't limit him.
16, not 26. Keys are too close together for my fat fingers!
I was coming here to completely agree with you - all that shift work and unsociable hours, steer him clear!
But because he's got the wrong personality? Nope - he may change and there are some lovely gentle doctors out there.
Honestly - there are so many parents on here despairing because their kids have no passion in life. I think you should keep showing him options but don't discourage him from anything.
I'd be more concerned about whether he's up to getting good enough A level grades and up to the academic rigours of the course than whether he has the right personality for the job.
Let him go for it, as much work experience etc will help him go into it eyes wide open. a friend with a similar personality is now a lab based pathologist, a fantastic doctor but not patient facing - not all medical jobs are.
Let him do it, even if he doesn't go into medicine, he will have some excellent A levels
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