Top Ten Reasons to (Still) Be a Physician

With all the negative press, the pay cuts, health care reform, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consolidation of health systems and corporatization of medicine that diminishes our voice, I am still approached by people who secretly whisper in my ear, “Would you have your child go in to medicine?”

On first blush, I am tempted to answer “No way!” given the administrative hassles, the negative changes in the public’s perception of our profession, the front-load of education and the long hours of clinical training and late nights involved. But those observations, while real, are at best superficial. Drilling down with more careful analysis after a challenging week on call, I find it worthwhile to stop and ask myself what still makes medicine special for those of us crazy enough to subject ourselves to this lifestyle. I decided to put together a list of things that were important to me and would welcome additions to the list from others.

10. Independence – No matter what happens on the larger public policy and procedure scale with guidelines and mandates, when it comes to decisions regarding a patient’s care, it will always be the one-on-one interaction between the patient and the doctor that will ultimately decide the best approach for care for an individual patient.

9. Respect – The title “Doctor of Medicine” still carries weight in our society. With that respect, however, comes significant moral imperatives to maintain that respect.

8. Flexibility – For those not adept at one-to-one interactions with people (hence, the clinical side of medicine), there are a myriad of opportunities opened with the MD or DO degree in public policy, research, the basic sciences, journalism, consulting, business, etc. It is this flexibility of options that are open to doctors that ensures job security.

7. Variety – I have been doing medicine a long time and have yet to see two days’ activities or two patients that are the same. Ever. Bottom line: medicine is never boring.

6. Influence – Physicians matter. People know it. But you’d better be ready to be cornered at cocktail parties.

5. Reward – I cannot not think of anything superior to helping a fellow man or woman at a time when they are most vulnerable or in the greatest need. And while less and less frequent these days, it also occasionally provides an upgrade to business class or a free beverage when you help treat a hyperventilating patient on an airplane.

4. Trust – Like Smith Barney says, you have to “earn it,” but once a patient’s trust and confidence, it’s the tie that binds. By virtue of your title, you are invited into the most secret parts of patients’ lives to share their deepest concerns – a truly remarkable privilege. Corporate meetings never leave me with that feeling, if you get my drift.

3. Humility – Medicine will always keep you humble since there will never be a time when you can know it all or cure it all – ever. It’s both the blessing and the curse of our profession: the learning, both professionally and spiritually, never ends.

2. Fascination – Every day we work with the most amazing technology imaginable. The wonder of it is incredible: ask anyone who’s ever reached in an abdomen to remove ischemic bowel, prescribed an antibiotic to cure a pneumonia, or ablated an tachycardia that affected someone their entire life and rendered it of historic interest only. Even something as simple as cutting the skin with the belly of a 15-blade scalpel while listening to the patient chat idly about their grandkids thanks to remarkable local anesthetics during minor surgery, you are reminded of the amazing wonders of modern medicine every day.

1. Teamwork – Medicine is, by definition, a team sport. No physician can do what we do in isolation. Our “Club Med” has challenging pre-requisites, but once in, it is a vocation where we share collectively in the trials and tribulations of patient care. We win and we lose, together. Whether we are doctors, nurses, technicians, administrators, clerical staff, safety personnel or maintenance workers – each of us are constantly working for a common goal – the health and well-being of our patients – and when it works, nothing, I mean nothing, is as cool as that.

-Wes Fisher, MD
Treasurer and Co-Founder
Practicing Physicians of America

No time to rest, Practicing Physicians! In the middle of COVID19 battle, we must take back medicine for patients first!!

Marion Mass, M.D. PPA co-founder

Patients… it’s always been about you!!! The physicians that are putting themselves in the line of #covid19 🦠fire, are here for you and working alongside bedside nurses, respiratory therapists and every hospital personnel in scrubs. High time we were all a #stewardofmedicine! 👩🏾‍⚕️👨‍⚕️🧬

Were you there when the battle cry, #givemePPE (more accurately, #giveUSPPE came out? It was a rally point!!

For decades, perverse incentives that allow the BIG corporate quasi-monopolies to prosper, have been making sure that you, America, PAY more💰💵 and get less in health care.
It’s time to realign incentives that promote inclusive stake-holding. This would mean more patients able to capture medical care at a lower dollar value, paying less for health care. It would mean more practicing physicians able to treat you, the patients as we were trained, making enough to pay back the dozen years+ of education needed to become a physician. More bedside Nurses and more Respiratory Therapists and Physical Therapists and others able to support their families.

This means fewer paper pushing middlemen who are offering little value. Put simply, they are represented by monopolized BIG companies (Pharmacy Benefit Managers, Group Purchasing Organizations, hospital systems, insurance companies, Health Care IT, and pharma,) are robbing America blind, and many are RESPONSIBLE for all of the delays in test kits in getting Protective gear #PPE, BIG companies have been medication hoarding, and offshoring supplies and drugs to China and other countries.

Three years ago when we opened up Practicing Physicians of America (PPA) at the Library of Congress, who knew that our band: Westby G. Fisher, Niran Al-Agba, Brian Jamal Dixon, Judith Thompson and Myself would be on the front lines of COVID19?

Who knew that after writing the Free2Care White Paper Last year, the changes we (Myself, David Balat, Kimberly Legg Corba, Doc Nikki Johnson, Caren Gallaher, Twila Brase, Kris Held, Craig M. Wax, Robert Campbell and others suggested to multiple Senators, Congresspeople and other policy makers, would present themselves as being necessary to happen so now and for the next epidemic, medical care workers aren’t fighting a virus without gear and tests, and we, the #scrubs are leading and NOT the suits in the C suites.

PPA became a member group of the Free 2 Care Coalition Free2Care is now 2 dozen groups, with now 3 million patients and 37,000 Physicians, about to expand to 60,000. We are aligned behind the ideas in our white paper, in the process of updating. The ideas that unite Free2 Care are patient centric, Physician/Patient relationship friendly, cost effective and non partisan. Paper can be accessed here:

Free2Care has invited collaboration for a year. Member groups include: Physicians4Patients (Caren Gallaher, Basia Jenkins, Doc Nikki Johnson) Physician Outlook (Marlene Smith ) Hope4Docs (Marnie McGrath) Physicians Working Together ( Doc K Jackson Christina Lang, Marie Jhin Lassila ) DPC Action (Kimberly Legg Corba, Katarina Lindley, Lee S. Gross, Josh Umbehr, Chad Savage) Association of Independent Doctors (Marni Jameson Carey) Patient Rights Advocate ( led by the late Great physician and Senator Dr Tom Coburn, who passed away today. May he, a tireless advocate and always a physician rest in Peace) AMAC (The late Dan Weber and his family, Andy Mangione Bob Carlestrom ) Patients Rising Now (Terry Merrill Wilcox) Citizens Health (John Chamberlain, Megan Janas, Brennen Hodge) The Job Creator’s Network, Physicians for Reform (C.L. Gray, Bev Gossage) Practicing Physicians of America, who is proud to be helped by Kenneth A. Fisher , Lia Huston, Mark Lopatin, Christina Dewey, Katherine Newland Barton, Roy Stoller, Susan M Hull, Mark Lopatin, Susan Brown, Holly Thacker, Rupali Chadha, Jessica Leigh, Mary Delila Tipton, Jamie Wells, Dana Corriel, Amaryllis Sanchez, Jayemzee Costello, Patricia Aronin Sherrill, Natalie Newman, Reese Tassey, Ed Gaines, Chris Sheeron, Phil Mandato, Christine L. Saba-Constantios, Phil Totonelly, Karladine Evelyn Graves, Meg Edison, Sheila A. Olive, Pastor Stephen Broden, Robert Arlett, K Kay Moody, John Radell, Amy Judice Townsend, Amy Zellers-Shrader, Joel Strom, Justice in Medicine, Joan Cullen, Sheila Page, Danae Powers, Michael DellaVecchia, Brian Sachs, Ayal Kaynan, Scott Hardeman, Robert Dean, Marcello Hochman, Marchelle, Gianni, Venu Julapalli, Holly Fritch, John Tomicki, and so so many more!!)

Free2Care Executive Director, David Balat does this PRO BONO, as do all of the PPA board, and almost all of the physicians in the Groups who participate including those mentioned above and more!!!

Invite your physician friends to join one of the Free2Care member groups, PPA is free. Patients can join Patients Rising or AMAC. Physicians can join PPA here:

Together we have multiple connections to Senators, Congresspeople, HHS, CMS and the Administration, and among our member groups, we have been SHARING those connections. Just today, the Amazing Amy Mecozzi Cho, Daniel Choi, Jason Adler, and Julio Gonzalez were emailing a US Senator who immediately called CMS to 🔨 barriers to make sure patients get care and nurses and doctors were protected.

This is after a week of more physician heroes pulling bad Surprise Billing language out of the COVID bill (twice) and pulling language that restricts cost saving innovation models out of the COVID bill. Nothing like tweeting “Take the PORK out, Piggies” 🐷directly at multiple Senators. Take that!!!

Good citizen centric ideas belong to all of us. And congress, the president and EVERY elected official works FOR #WeThePeople!

no time to rest… #patientsfirst #takebackmedicine trust #scrubsNOTsuits first!

⌛️⏰Time is up!!

Happy National Physicians Week!! 🇺🇸💜❤️💗🇺🇸 and God Bless America!