How to Respond to the Interview Question: “Why Do You Want to Become a Doctor?”

When you’re in med school, you’ll be asked why you want to be a physician many times. But although your “why” might never change, you’ll learn quickly that the person asking has a specific answer they’re looking for.

Over time, you’ll start to get a feel for what the other party wants to hear. To stay true to yourself, you’ll need to learn how to adjust your own personal statement to be able to match what they consider the “right” answer. 

This continues to be a challenge you’ll face during interviews, too. Why you want to be a doctor is your own opinion. Yet, there are “good” and “bad” answers that the hiring personnel are expecting to hear. 

If you’re just coming out of a residency, potential employers want to know that you understand what you’re getting into. This guide will help you as you prepare for your job search, as will having a prepared, but flexible, response ready for interview questions.

To get the job, you need to be able to read the other party and use the answer they would identify with best. You should always be honest with your response without going overboard.

Keeping it simple and focused is best. These five replies are strong examples of what you could say when you’re asked why you wanted to become a doctor.

 

1. You Want to Help Others

The number one reason why most people choose to go into the medical profession is to make a difference in the world. By helping other people have a better quality of life, a doctor often feels fulfilled in their own lives.

Being a doctor can be demanding, stressful, and high-pressure. If you’re only in it for the prestige or the money, you might find yourself burnt out fast. Having an altruistic reason, such as helping others, keeps you grounded when the pressure and stress gets to be too much.

As a physician, you have the opportunity to help people in ways they can’t do themselves. This is a solid and widely accepted response to the “why do you want to be a doctor” question, but it’s also the “why” behind most physicians.  

 

2. You Love the Knowledge

There aren’t too many fields in the world quite as full of continuing education and ever-changing knowledge as healthcare. 

Scientists are always learning about new medications, diseases, and medical conditions. Different side effects and adverse reactions occur. New ways to treat illnesses and injuries arise.

The human body is almost a mystical creation. We still don’t know everything it is capable of, but as a physician, you know more than most. Being enthralled with the science behind how the body works is a strong reason to become a doctor.

 

3. You Care About People Individually

One of the integral aspects of a good physician is that they care about people. When a patient shows up sick or injured, they’re in a vulnerable state. They are trusting that the doctor caring for them has their best interests in mind. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with every physician. Some medical practitioners don’t want to get to know the individual and treat them accordingly. They adopt a one-size-fits-most care plan for each diagnosis and send the person out the door.

Empathy is an integral trait in the best doctors. To be labeled a doctor who truly cares about their patients is often a better reward than a hefty bank account.

 

4. You Want to Be Influential in Your Field

There are some professions that are automatically more influential than others. Teachers, law enforcement officers, and physicians are three of the main ones. As a physician, you have the ability to make changes in the future of healthcare.

If your goal is to become influential and make a difference in the medical field, interviewers see you in a different light. They know that in order to accomplish this, you’ll have to build a strong reputation. And they will want to be part of that journey because it could help their facility in the long run.

 

5. You Like the Fast Pace

Not everyone is cut out to be a physician. You’ll rarely have a day that turns out as you expected it to. Problems show up daily as part of your job.

Between treating patients, handling documentation, and dealing with the minutiae of working in healthcare, it’s a hectic pace. Chances are, you’ll work through lunch and dinner just to catch up.

But if this is something that invigorates you, let the interviewer know. People who need stability and consistency don’t usually do well in certain medical fields. You might thrive in an environment that is fast-paced and high-pressure.

Conclusion

Preparing for your job search after you’ve been in residency is both a science and an art. These responses will help you get your foot in the door. They’re all professional replies that you can confidently use to answer, “Why do you want to become a doctor?”


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Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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