You may think, doctors get paid well... really well. Why would we have a shortage if everyone wants to be one?
First, let's break down the "doctors make bank" myth. Physician income varies immensely, depending on the specialty and the region in the United States. A neurosurgeon in Montana is going to make far more than a primary care doctor in New York. This is just basic supply and demand. Then subtract income tax, malpractice insurance, and student debt, and you have a smaller income to live off of. So before you think about pursuing the career for the money, think again.
If you are a pre-med student or know one, then you know how difficult it is to get into medical school in the U.S. The struggle of maintaining a near-perfect GPA during undergraduate school and creating a competitive resume is stressful, not to mention studying for the now eight-hour long MCAT entrance exam. Because medical school is so difficult to get into, the shortage of slots creates insane competitiveness and challenges the security of choosing to go to graduate school.
Medical students are some of the hardest working people I know in my personal life, among many, but they all faced a similar dilemma at some point: do I sacrifice my youth or a stable future? After graduation from medical school, students then work during a period called residency in which they further their experience and prepare to take Step 3, the last board exam. The number of residency positions do not match the number of physicians needed. The United States severely overwork their residents, who are expected to work 40 to 80 hours a week. This is particularly unacceptable when compared to European residents who work at most 40 hours per week.
Our society requires doctors to answer to government mandates, for example, the newly instated EHRs. They have to juggle patients, hierarchy, lack of help, and too many patients. What results is a scary concept of resident physician suicide? Kevin Jubbal, founder of MedSchoolInsiders started a movement called #SaveOurDoctors, promoting better care of those who take care of us.
If we need more doctors, we need to reorganize our healthcare system, and the profession itself. Doctors should not have to sacrifice their lives to save us.