YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many picture a doctor’s life as a glamorous one, with a big house, shiny cars and lots of money. Behind that image is one of a caregiver who wants to help patients feel better.
Doctors have to want to take care of people, and have a desire to learn why things happen and how to fix medical problems. They also need to understand that it is a lifelong profession.
However, there is a shortage of doctors in the Youngstown area that could cause sick people to sit in the waiting room longer.
“The shortage is in primary care,” said Dr. Jim Kravec with Mercy Health. “Family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics.”
Kravec sees it every day while recruiting physicians to Mercy Health. He says there is even a shortage of specialists.
He thinks there is a simple way to determine if medicine is the right career path.
“If you think you want to be a doctor, the best thing is to talk to a physician and…most would allow you to shadow him or her to see what it’s really like.”
The first place to start is by going to college and getting a bachelor’s degree. Most doctors have degree in pre-med, chemistry or biology, but that’s just the beginning of training.
“All have to go through the medical school tract, which is a four-year program, and then you have to go through residency,” Kravec said. “For primary care, it’s three more years after that.”
Since the schooling is so long, doctors can graduate with tons of student loan debt. Mercy Health and other hospitals will help doctors pay off the money in return for a commitment to the area.
It’s a big commitment, but Kravec says the reward is worth it.
“My favorite part of being a physician is when people call and say, ‘This is my problem, I don’t feel well. What do you think it is and how can you help me.'”
For more information about becoming a doctor and to see available job openings, visit the Ohio Means Jobs website.