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August 7, 1967

Should I Go to Medical School?

JAMA. 1967;201(6):499. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130060173044

Not infrequently I am asked by high school seniors and college undergraduates whether I would advise them, or indeed my own children, to study medicine as a career. If I understand the implications of their question, some of these bright and highly idealistic young men and women are searching for a profession which offers more than financial security or scientific achievement (in the sense of predominantly research activities). Would it not be reasonable and intellectually honest to describe medicine as an art rather than as a science? Can we not assure these students that a medical career is appropriate for them if they seek the warmth of human relations and the trust of patients gained by extending sympathy and understanding? How would you describe the practice of medicine?