WHAT DOCTORS DO. I had an eye appointment last week, and my eye doctor commented that he had been very naive in medical school some twenty years ago when he imagined himself treating patients all day. He hadn’t realized all the other things a doctor who is managing a practice has to do. Years ago, I read an article that said that in choosing a career, one should make a realistic analysis of what the job entailed. It gave the example of a surgeon who was asked by a mother whether her son should go ahead with becoming a surgeon. “That depends,” he said, “on whether he enjoys cutting into living flesh.” Somebody considering a medical career now (and at all times) should consider that a traditional practice involves running a small business which involves a lot of paperwork.

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