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Engineers VS Medical doctors

View Poll Results: Which group has better life satisfaction?
Engineers 86 54.78%
Medical Doctors 71 45.22%
Voters: 157. You may not vote on this poll

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ElansarGelmir Male
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  #91 Old 12-09-2007 Default

Well, doctors depend on biomedical engineers to come up with new inventions that make their work easier, civil engineers to build medical facilities, computer and software engineers to run computer/software related problems, and E&E engineers to handle the equipment chips. Now, would you prefer to be the one who shouts "eureka! i've got the perfect design" or "Yes! I'll be the first doctor to buy this equipment or adapt this new protocol"?

I'm not trying to disparage what doctors can do here, but when compared to engineers, what the doctors can do is limited by the condition of the patients. Ok, to put it in a better way. Would you be happier to see if the world is better off? And to define better off, it means a healthy population that has strong immunity system. But if the world is better off, wouldn't the demand for doctors wane and most doctors would have to search for other job alternatives? And would that make you happier? Of course, a "healthy wealthy" world is too ideal, but the gist is, doctors wouldn't be too joyful if there are too little sick people in their society, or wouldn't they?

P.S. The doctor that I visited is the college GP. First, she prescribed a wrong ointment that was different from the one first prescribed by my old doctor who was on leave when I visited the health center and that bloody ointment caused more rashes than ever.... Then, she prescribed some ointment that contained fluocinonide (a kind of steroid) that I did not even need, and shouldn't be applying it (I found out about this after I went for a second opinion). Oh, those prescriptions were recommended by that big book that she used in her "diagnosis".
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  #92 Old 12-09-2007 Default

But you have been comparing the pioneers in the engineering field and an average doctor, which is unfair IMHO. Do bear in mind that the majority of engineers may not have the "eureka moments" in their works.

I am not sure where you got that "doctors aren't too happy if there are little sick people" idea from. It's absolutely incorrect, and is not far off the line of "policemen like to see increased crime rate so that they have work to do", or "maintenance engineers like to have more earthquake and damaged buildings so that they have work to do".

The fact is here to stay - we aren't going to get less patients in the foreseeable future, regardless of the advance in biomedical science. The advance in antibiotics and immunisation has greatly reduced mortality and morbidity due to infectious diseases, but when we have lots of people who live longer, we now have increased rates of cancer deaths. Even when cancer deaths are to be reduced in the future, doctors will still deal with more personal health concerns, family planning etc.

I am disappointed that you poisoned the well regarding doctor's principle ethical concerns. All doctors are one in contributing to and wishing for the community's better well-being. There are certainly rotten apples like some doctors who charge extravagant fees, but who are we to say that there aren't engineers who accept bribe to design less-than-safe equipments?

Again, it really depends on one's source of gratification in life. A teacher could be the happiest man on Earth when his or her student goes on and achieve great things, a policeman could derive great life satisfaction because he personally or indirectly helped to catch a criminal, a mathematician could be at the cloud nine because he's just solved a difficult historical conjecture, a doctor could be happy because the patient's pains are greatly relieved after a procedure.

And what's the point of discussing whether a "eureka moment" is superior to a "i-saved-a-patient moment"? If we were to rank satisfactions based on such criteria, one could as well argue that both aforementioned moments are inferior to Paul Pott's "i-won-BGT-and-got-standing-ovation" moment.

Anyway, do bear in mind that doctors can be pioneers in invention as well - a lot of protocols and equipments in medicine are designed by none other than doctors themselves.
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  #93 Old 12-09-2007 Default

Quote:

I'm not trying to disparage what doctors can do here, but when compared to engineers, what the doctors can do is limited by the condition of the patients. Ok, to put it in a better way. Would you be happier to see if the world is better off? And to define better off, it means a healthy population that has strong immunity system. But if the world is better off, wouldn't the demand for doctors wane and most doctors would have to search for other job alternatives? And would that make you happier? Of course, a "healthy wealthy" world is too ideal, but the gist is, doctors wouldn't be too joyful if there are too little sick people in their society, or wouldn't they?
Lol, that's totally against what i've been taught for the past three years. FYI we're entering a new era of preventative medicine, where doctors (especially general practitioners) are increasingly involved in opportunistic prevention measures and ultimately aiming at systematic preventative measures to try to reduce the burden of disease.

When you talk about this, your thinking in narrowly placed on the doctors that you see everyday in the clinics. Remember that there are many other fields that a doctor work in, not mention other health professionals. What about doctors working in the public health sector? What about epidemiologists? What about infection control? All these doctors work to attempt to reduce mortality and morbidity of diseases.

Quote:
Well, doctors depend on biomedical engineers to come up with new inventions that make their work easier, civil engineers to build medical facilities, computer and software engineers to run computer/software related problems, and E&E engineers to handle the equipment chips. Now, would you prefer to be the one who shouts "eureka! i've got the perfect design" or "Yes! I'll be the first doctor to buy this equipment or adapt this new protocol"?
Without the doctors making clinical decisions, the inventions will never be used. Not to mention without the help of doctors, after inventing a new medical invention the engineer would not be able to trial his products. Who gets the patients? Who gets consent for entering patients into trials?

Some doctors are also heavily involved in research. Check out journals and you'll see plenty of doctors as the authors.
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  #94 Old 12-09-2007 Default

Quote:
Some doctors are also heavily involved in research. Check out journals and you'll see plenty of doctors as the authors.
Yes, but are those PhD doctors or medical doctors?
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ElansarGelmir Male
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  #95 Old 13-09-2007 Default

I'm replying to both YY and Zeroth as both of you have several similar points:

1. I still believe in what I said, and what I said was not virulent to doctors' "sanctified" image. I did not say that doctors are not happy, but rather, there's an inclination towards that embittered feeling especially when those doctors are private GPs who own their private clinic but people seem to be healthier than the doctors think they would. Or the clinic next to theirs is doing better than theirs. YET, I'm still not saying that it's the doctors' ill-wish that people are less healthy. They are victims of guilty conscious; they can't afford to be happy when they run out of business... uhmm... patients.


2.
Quote:
What about doctors working in the public health sector? What about epidemiologists? What about infection control? All these doctors work to attempt to reduce mortality and morbidity of diseases.
You don't have to be a doctor to work in the public health sector although you may be at a greater advantage knowing more in depth about health issues compared to an economist or a sociologist. Same goes to epidemiologists. This career is not limited to only physicians or MDs. And I'm aware of MD/PhDs who are more into medical research, and those are the ones that have more "eureka" moments compared to others. That doesn't mean, however, I implied that other doctors are not greatly satisfied with their achievements.


3.
Quote:
And what's the point of discussing whether a "eureka moment" is superior to a "i-saved-a-patient moment"? If we were to rank satisfactions based on such criteria, one could as well argue that both aforementioned moments are inferior to Paul Pott's "i-won-BGT-and-got-standing-ovation" moment.
I wasn't aware that I was saying engineers are far more superior than doctors, or that an engineering profession awards more satisfaction than a medical/health profession. I apologize for any misleading and ambigous statements which lead to the misinterpretation. What I was merely saying was that what doctors can do is limited by what kind of illness/disease/disorder the patient/society has. If the patient needs chemotherapy, then you'll have to perform chemotherapy on the patient. If the patient needs a heart surgery, then you should only perform heart surgery. This is no different from a mechanic or technician trying to fix a malfunctioned machine. First, you have to identify which part isn't working. Then once you find the source of the problem, you'll just have to follow a series of protocols to fix the problem. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN that doctors' tasks are as easy as that or else mechanics would earn as much as doctors do and half of the doctor population would rather be mechanics.



4.
Quote:
Anyway, do bear in mind that doctors can be pioneers in invention as well - a lot of protocols and equipments in medicine are designed by none other than doctors themselves.
Yeah... I can picture exactly what you mean. In a society at steady state equilibrium, there was a new epidemic outbreak. A few months later, a panel of research doctors discovered a wonder drug that can treat the infected patients effectively; another panel of epidemiologists pioneered a protocol to prevent further outspread. And the rest of the doctors in the society... well, they uhmmm... gave moral suppot happily adapt the protocols and use the drugs on the patients... *Don't marah ya*


5.
Quote:
But you have been comparing the pioneers in the engineering field and an average doctor, which is unfair IMHO. Do bear in mind that the majority of engineers may not have the "eureka moments" in their works.
Like what I've mentioned, doctors are like technicians or mechanics who are trying to fix machines or cars while the engineers.... well, let's say that they are the ones who designed the faulty cars and machines and they will keep designing better cars and machines in the future, but we will still be able to find some fault in them. Well, back to your argument. I agree that it's sort of biased comparing successful engineers to average doctors. But do keep in mind that it's not hard for an average engineer to pioneer something new while it may take some luck, prayer and whatnot for an average doctor to experience the sheer joy of a new discovery/invention. But I'm not saying that it's the doctor's fault, or that the doctor is less creative compared to the engineer. Rather, it's because of the limitations of what a doctor can do compared to the solutions engineers can come up with.



6.
Quote:
Without the doctors making clinical decisions, the inventions will never be used. Not to mention without the help of doctors, after inventing a new medical invention the engineer would not be able to trial his products. Who gets the patients? Who gets consent for entering patients into trials?

Errr... You did not understand the gist of my examples. Well, let's just say that doctors are not the only customers that those engineers target.
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  #96 Old 13-09-2007 Default

1. I have never personally come across doctors who are worried about healthier people. If you indeed have come across such doctors, it's more likely to be a doctor who has lost customers because of his/her own incompetence instead of "healthier" people. As zeroth has explained, doctors are in no way having shortage of patients, not in Malaysia anyway when our patient-doctor ratio is still more than 1:1000.

And I don't understand the tongue-in-cheek "business... eerm.. patients". Like, come on, not all doctors are greedy businessmen. Don't choose to look at only rotten apples.

3.
Quote:
Now, would you prefer to be the one who shouts "eureka! i've got the perfect design" or "Yes! I'll be the first doctor to buy this equipment or adapt this new protocol"?
This was an implied comparison between engineers and doctors, unless I am greatly mistaken.

Anyway, I understand your message that doctor's tasks are limited to patients' or society's demand and are not allowed great freedom to what to do. But isn't this the same with most professions, apart from philosophy, arts, humanities etc?

Don't tell me engineers are not restricted to what machine the industry wants or which advance your company requires to stay ahead of the competition.

4. Your generalisation of doctors is unsettling.

5. Is it really that easy to be a real pioneer in the engineering field?


Anyway I don't get what message you are trying to get across, Elansar. Yes I do agree and disagree with your different points, but what's your main point? That engineers get more satisfaction than doctors because of their freedom of creativity, relatively higher opportunity of being a pioneer, and the lack of evil thoughts such as "hey why are fewer people getting sick"? You purported that you didn't claim for higher satisfaction in engineers, but isn't this what we have been discussing all along?
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  #97 Old 14-09-2007 Default

I had a long day today and I will reply to some of your points.

Quote:
1. I have never personally come across doctors who are worried about healthier people. If you indeed have come across such doctors, it's more likely to be a doctor who has lost customers because of his/her own incompetence instead of "healthier" people. As zeroth has explained, doctors are in no way having shortage of patients, not in Malaysia anyway when our patient-doctor ratio is still more than 1:1000.
You still haven't refuted my point. All you are insisting is that it is impossible for doctors to run out of patients. Yes, I agree, but that doesn't meant that when the world is much healthier (ideally), which means much less people who needs medical treatments, doctors might not start to worry about their pockets. Of course today doctors will never run out of patients because everyone is prone to disease. I belive you get my point, but you just refuse to admit that doctors need patients to earn a living by using the excuse (which is viable) that there are unlimited demand for doctors out there.


Quote:
This was an implied comparison between engineers and doctors, unless I am greatly mistaken.

Anyway, I understand your message that doctor's tasks are limited to patients' or society's demand and are not allowed great freedom to what to do. But isn't this the same with most professions, apart from philosophy, arts, humanities etc?

a) Yes, I was making a comparison between the docs and the geeks, but I did not state my conclusion which is more superior. I was just comparing one of the possible and common outcomes between a doctor and an engineer.

b) O.o"
You can't be too creative with humans as your test subjects. Even in life science related research fields, you can do whatever you want to do with your biomolecules and throw them away when things do not work out well. Same goes to machines/chips/softwares. However, you can never throw away humans that you accidentally killed while trying to be adventurous.

Quote:
4. Your generalisation of doctors is unsettling.
Your example about how doctors pioneer "protocols" only represent a handful of doctors in the entire doctor population. Protocols from one doctor can always be passed on to other doctors. Of course the protocols would require some editing, but in general, those protocols are reusable in many similar cases.



Quote:
Anyway I don't get what message you are trying to get across, Elansar. Yes I do agree and disagree with your different points, but what's your main point? That engineers get more satisfaction than doctors because of their freedom of creativity, relatively higher opportunity of being a pioneer, and the lack of evil thoughts such as "hey why are fewer people getting sick"? You purported that you didn't claim for higher satisfaction in engineers, but isn't this what we have been discussing all along?
You would be smart enough to know that it's not worth discussing which is greater / give better satisfaction. If I like orange juice, I would always insists that orange juice gives me the greatest utility over any other drinks. All I was trying to point is that doctors face more limitations in their work compared to engineers. First, they are limited by the fact that human life is fragile and sacred, and any mistakes done would scar their reputation almost for eternity. Like many social scientists, there is no room for experimentation. And they are also limited by the fact that there is a demand for doctors because people always need medical attention. When people are able to prevent themselves from being sick, many doctors will find themselves out of job. But that doesn't mean that I'm looking down at doctors. Hey, if it's not for the doctors in my life, my mom would have difficulties delivering me into this world and I wouldn't be in this "quite healthy" state at the moment. I'm grateful for the wonderful doctors in my life. Really. But of course, that doesn't mean that being a doctor is all hunky dory and peachy keen. Everything has comparative advantages and disadvantages.
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  #98 Old 14-09-2007 Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElansarGelmir
You still haven't refuted my point. All you are insisting is that it is impossible for doctors to run out of patients. Yes, I agree, but that doesn't meant that when the world is much healthier (ideally), which means much less people who needs medical treatments, doctors might not start to worry about their pockets. Of course today doctors will never run out of patients because everyone is prone to disease. I belive you get my point, but you just refuse to admit that doctors need patients to earn a living by using the excuse (which is viable) that there are unlimited demand for doctors out there.
Yup, hypothetically, doctors will run out of patients when there are lesser patients, nobody can refute that. But, your point being? That doctors need patients (which might hypothetically run out) to earn a living? Engineers might hypothetically lose jobs too, when artificial intelligence one day handle projects so much better than human intelligence.

Of course doctors need patients to earn a living, but does that imply anything at all? Wouldn't it be a benign causal relationship, just like "engineers depend on the availability of projects and the immaturity of AI to earn a living"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElansarGelmir
Quote:
This was an implied comparison between engineers and doctors, unless I am greatly mistaken.

Anyway, I understand your message that doctor's tasks are limited to patients' or society's demand and are not allowed great freedom to what to do. But isn't this the same with most professions, apart from philosophy, arts, humanities etc?

a) Yes, I was making a comparison between the docs and the geeks, but I did not state my conclusion which is more superior. I was just comparing one of the possible and common outcomes between a doctor and an engineer.

b) O.o"
You can't be too creative with humans as your test subjects. Even in life science related research fields, you can do whatever you want to do with your biomolecules and throw them away when things do not work out well. Same goes to machines/chips/softwares. However, you can never throw away humans that you accidentally killed while trying to be adventurous.
In life science related research fields, you are still largely restricted by the demands. If you are doing totally "non-practical" stuff, it's hard to get sufficient grants.

Yup in an ideal world, medical research is greatly restricted while it tip-toes on the line between "inconveniencing / risk harming patient" and "researching for the greater good", while other researches don't have so much restrictions in this regard; however in a real life, the economic pressure on the research funding would still impose almost as much, if not equally great restriction on the freedom of creativity in scientists / socialist / any kind of researcher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElansarGelmir
Quote:
4. Your generalisation of doctors is unsettling.
Your example about how doctors pioneer "protocols" only represent a handful of doctors in the entire doctor population. Protocols from one doctor can always be passed on to other doctors. Of course the protocols would require some editing, but in general, those protocols are reusable in many similar cases.
Yup you are right. I never purported that all doctors are pioneers. I was only maintaining that doctors have as much chance to become a pioneer as engineers, which you disagreed. I would just leave it there as I have not much idea about the great opportunity in the engineering field, but I guess I would just take your word for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElansarGelmir
You would be smart enough to know that it's not worth discussing which is greater / give better satisfaction. If I like orange juice, I would always insists that orange juice gives me the greatest utility over any other drinks. All I was trying to point is that doctors face more limitations in their work compared to engineers. (a) First, they are limited by the fact that human life is fragile and sacred, and any mistakes done would scar their reputation almost for eternity. Like many social scientists, there is no room for experimentation. (b)And they are also limited by the fact that there is a demand for doctors because people always need medical attention. When people are able to prevent themselves from being sick, many doctors will find themselves out of job. But that doesn't mean that I'm looking down at doctors. Hey, if it's not for the doctors in my life, my mom would have difficulties delivering me into this world and I wouldn't be in this "quite healthy" state at the moment. I'm grateful for the wonderful doctors in my life. Really. But of course, that doesn't mean that being a doctor is all hunky dory and peachy keen. Everything has comparative advantages and disadvantages.
Haha sorry for mistaking you for maintaining the superiority of engineering over medicine.

Anyway I kind of agree with (a), it can't be as crazily creative as some would like it to be. So if one is full of the most out-of-the-box ideas, he or she would be greatly disappointed if she enters the medical field.

However, medicine is not as restricted as you might imagine it to be either - there are lots of drugs to be trialled, lots of mechanisms to be discovered, lots of possible previously unimaginable manoeuvres to be invented. Yes you have to be careful to avoid hurting or killing patients in the process. But that doesn't mean that engineers aren't afraid of, say, breaking their fragile equipments too. Certainly I know the severity is different, but I'd just like to point out that engineers have its own shares of limitations as well.

I do know that the doctors in this previous paragraph are only a minority group of doctors who actually engage in creative research and discovery. But I think the argument stands, since you are similarly talking about the minority of engineers who actually pioneer invention and discovery.

For your point (b) though, I am still not any nearer to agreement with you. As pointed out by Zeroth earlier, preventative medicine is only possible if it's spearheaded by doctors, or most importantly, GPs. Yes the research might be done by pure epidemiologists, the funding could be by pure filthy rich guys, the collaboration could be done by pure health policy setters, the public message could be done by news broadcasters. But in the end of the day, GPs are one of the bolts in preventative medicine, they play many key roles in discovery, diagnosis, personal care etc. To propose that "people will get so much better in preventing themselves by the wide availability of knowledge" is a pure fancy. In fact I would say that the validity of this particular point is equivalent to "engineers' living depends on artificial intelligence not overtaking human intelligence". [/b]
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  #99 Old 05-12-2008 Default Re: Engineers VS Medical doctors

Good post here! would like to read more on that.
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  #100 Old 09-02-2009 Default Re: Engineers VS Medical doctors

Great discussion!! Bravo!!

So much information....like in Theory of Knowledge class....(Taking IB...hehe) Nicely discussed. But i must say both have their own advantage and yes! I too think that personal life statisfaction depends entirely on that particular person.

If the person thinks he'll achieve statisfaction by becoming an engineer, so be it! You can't change what he is or what he thinks because this matter is very subjective...THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER! Its just a matter of opinion!

People often forgets that this is a discussion and they turned it into an arguement. I feel that we should be free to address our opinion and at the same time we respect other's opinion. Lets put emotion aside and imply logic to this discussion.

To me, Doctors would achieve personal life statisfaction FASTER (I'm implying that both career will get statisfaction, its just a matter of time). Well, lets see, saving one's life is an awesome feeling! And yet, you get to do that almost everyday (if you work in GH).

Imagine you walking around near a river and suddenly, a cute, pretty girl screaming for help and almost drowned in the river. Imagine again that you jumped in heroicly (dunno this word got onot) and saved her life...What would you feel?? Same as a doctor felt when he/she save one's life.

Not only that, the gratitude from patient's family and the way they treated you....all contributes to personal life statisfaction.

I'm not saying engineers don't achieve anything but they are so many engineers nowadays and they outnumber medic students (in malaysia ok?) like a poultry 3:1 ratio. Out of that number, how many actually became successful or should i say discover something new or achieve personal statisfaction? Just how many end up jobless when the economy went so bad?

You see, there is no right or wrong answer. To me, both career will achieve personal statisfaction and the question is here, which one will achieve personal statisfaction faster?

Just my opinion, i'm not blaming or scolding anyone! Hope you enjoy reading it!
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