Peter MacPherson swapped clinical medicine for a career in public health. He explains how studying for a degree in public health changed his perception of medicine and life
Call me an idealist. You can even say that I'm naïve. Maybe by now you've realised that medicine is about survival. Your survival through countless ward rounds, the survival of your friends and classmates during another exam period, and ultimately, the impossibly hoped for survival of the patients you meet on the wards.
During medical school, I began to realise that this constant struggle for survival was vastly different from what I had imagined for my life within medicine. Didn't I study medicine to help people and cure disease? It wasn't that I didn't enjoy learning the anatomy of the brainstem, but surreptitious thoughts kept sneaking into my head, saying what was the point in learning this when there are millions of people dying from diarrhoea and pneumonia throughout the world? Lecturers, of course, never told us how many people were dying of diarrhoea, preferring instead to ramble on about