34. Doctors¡¯ license in a cabinet
I decided to become an anatomist when I was a senior in medical school. Even if I failed the medical licensing examination, I was still able to become an anatomy instructor. However, I thought teaching anatomy would be uneasy if I didn¡¯t pass the medical licensing examination. I imagined how a future student of mine might say ¡°mind your own business¡± to me when I am teaching as I have not passed the medical licensing examination. This thought helped me prepare for the medical licensing examination, and I barely passed the exam.
My doctor¡¯s license soon became a license in a cabinet. I wasn¡¯t performing any medical treatment with the license. A clinician may hang his or her doctor¡¯s license on the wall his or her office, but there is no reason for me to hang my doctor¡¯s license on the wall of my anatomy lab.
I¡¯m a quack having my doctor¡¯s license in a cabinet. I have forgotten almost all of clinical knowledge that I have studied in school, and I have little clinical knowledge related to anatomy. I¡¯m afraid of emergent patients. Let¡¯s say I¡¯m on a plane and I hear a voice saying ¡°there is an emergent patient. We need doctor!¡± I would be confused. ¡°I¡¯m a doctor, but my clinical knowledge is no better than a veterinarian or a pharmacist. Should I volunteer to help or not¡¦.¡± It¡¯s been 30 years since I became a doctor, and I have never been in that kind of situation. If it has never happened for 30 years, I suspect it¡¯s likely that it will never happen, so I¡¯m no longer afraid.
There were few medical school graduates who became anatomy instructors back in 1980s when I became an anatomist. There are even fewer today. Students become clinicians after they graduate, even though making a living out of clinic is becoming harder and harder. Why is this so? It is because entering medical school became harder than the old times. In other words, acquiring doctor¡¯s license became harder and much more effort-taking, and it feels like a pity to keep the license inside a cabinet. Nobody gets the doctor¡¯s license just to help emergent patients on a plane.
The med school requires both an anatomist who is not a doctor and an anatomist who is a doctor. An anatomist who is not a doctor excels in research. An anatomist who is a doctor excels in teaching. There is an anatomist who excels in both like me, of course.
I say, ¡°I¡¯m happy there aren¡¯t many anatomists who are doctors in Korea. I feel like there would be a job for me after I retire. I could make money with anatomy until the day I die.¡± This is just a joke. I¡¯m waiting for a young anatomist who is brave enough to put his or her license in a cabinet.
I have suggested many med school students to become an anatomist, but I have failed. Surprisingly, I have succeeded in persuading my son who was a med school student. Today, my son is working together with me in teaching and studying anatomy. My family is the second family in Korea to become anatomists in two succeeding generations. My son and I look the same. To describe his morphology, he has longer hair than me. To describe his function, he likes to play as much as I do.
Any med school graduate who becomes an anatomist will do a better job than me and my son. Become an anatomist when there is lack of anatomist; in other words, when anatomist is worthy of becoming one. According to the law of demand and supply, you will become an anatomy professor. This applies to all med schools.
This is to a med school student who is still in hesitation. ¡°The professor of basic medicine like anatomy is equal to a professor in a law school, the professor of clinical medicine is equal to a judge or a prosecutor, the doctor in a hospital is equal to a lawyer in a law firm, the doctor who runs his own clinic is equal to a lawyer with his own office. Becoming a clinician disregarding anatomy professor is the same as becoming a lawyer disregarding a law school professor. Think wisely.¡±