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What It's Like to Become a Doctor: A Year-by-Year Journey from Medical Student to Practicing Physician (PDF)

What It's Like to Become a Doctor: A Year-by-Year Journey from Medical Student to Practicing Physician (PDF)

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Matthew Moeller, MD

Dr. Matthew Moeller steps up and provides an educated voice on the challenges confronting all doctors-in-training, ultimately seeking a way forward for more efficient and better patient care. This book is for students who are thinking about a career in medicine, patients who are frustrated with America’s healthcare system, and lawmakers who need an insider’s perspective when making healthcare laws.

Read Dr. Moeller’s honest and multi-angled stories of Call Night, Match Day, the rigorous academic schedule of medical school, the tireless hours of internship, his years of fellowship training, and humanistic accounts of patient care as he transforms from student to practicing physician.

As a bonus, he provides an insiders’ analysis on how to “fix” the healthcare system so physicians can focus more time on taking care of patients and less time on meaningless work that has nothing to do with patient care.

EARLY PRAISE! “… a gripping profile of the sacrifices, both personally and financially, it takes to become a highly specialized physician. Dr. Moeller also dispels several myths regarding physicians.” “A must read! Dr. Moeller gives insight, wit, and an intelligent analysis of healthcare today.” “As a patient, I see now the challenges of becoming a physician and the continued hurdles they face in their career.” “Dr. Moeller’s book is an accurate depiction of the training of an American physician. It is a must read for politicians and hospital administrators and anyone planning on medical school.”

Table of Contents

About the Author
Chapter 1: Call Night, December 2012
Chapter 2: My Youth—The 1990s
Chapter 3: My First Year of Medical School—August 2001
Chapter 4: My Second Year of Medical School—August 2002
Chapter 5: My Third Year of Medical School—August 2003
Chapter 6: My Fourth Year of Medical School—July 2004
Chapter 7: Match Day—March 18, 2005
Chapter 8: My Internship (Residency)—June 2005–June 2006
Chapter 9: My Second Year of Residency—June 2006–June 2007
Chapter 10: My Third Year of Residency—June 2007–June 2008
Chapter 11: My First Year of Gastroenterology Fellowship— June 2008–July 2009
Chapter 12: My Second Year of Fellowship—June 2009– July 2010
Chapter 13: My Third Year of Fellowship—June 2010–July 2011
Chapter 14: Life as a Gastroenterologist—July 2011 to Now
Chapter 15: Reflections and a Call to Action
Chapter 16: Understanding the Doctors’ Reality
Chapter 17: Ideas That Would Lead to Better and More Affordable Healthcare from a Doctor’s Perspective

About the Authos

Matthew Moeller, MD, is a double board certified physician in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He is the author of several peer reviewed scientific articles in Gastroenterology and Hepatology and has spoken on topics of liver and gastroenterology diseases in national and international forums. He trained at the University of Michigan and at Henry Ford in Detroit and currently practices Gastroenterology in Michigan.



“A must read! Dr. Moeller’s fascinating dissection of the intricacies involved in becoming a physician and the hurdles that a young doctor must overcome gets an A+ in Gross Anatomy 101 of the healthcare system. His unique insight, wit, and intelligent analysis of the multi-billion dollar debacle we call healthcare does not cease to draw the reader in. Ultimately, Dr. Moeller provides a view that only a well-versed medical doctor can provide and allows us to understand the trials and tribulations of the select few who truly devote their life to their passion: healing humankind.”

AMIT BHAN, MD, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI

“This book by Dr. Moeller describes the real journey of becoming a doctor. Dr Moeller’s experiences are representative of the real day-to-day challenges physicians face. The enormous sacrifice required to become a physician and the burden of managing all of the complexities of practicing medicine has not been presented to the public the way Dr. Moeller describes it in his book. I think this book is a great read, true to the core, and is sure to provide a unique perspective on what it takes to be a doctor for anyone who is not already in this profession.”


 “This book is a gripping profile of the sacrifices, both personal and financial, it takes to become a highly specialized physician. The general public and lawmakers in Congress, in particular, could greatly benefit from reading this book. Dr. Moeller also dispels several myths regarding physicians—most importantly the one that professes that all physicians are rich. He also provides a detailed analysis on how to ‘fix’ the healthcare system so physicians can focus more time on taking care of patients and less time on meaningless paperwork and the other daily frustrations that have nothing to do with patient care. These issues are leading so many physicians to leave medicine or retire early.”

GREGORY OLDS, MD, Chattanooga, TN

“Dr. Moeller takes the reader on an insider’s journey of what it takes to be a physician in this day and age. Through his keen insight, one can appreciate the rigorous academic schedule and the tireless hours of the internship, residency, and fellowship. It includes humanistic accounts of personal sacrifices and the emotional rollercoaster that is interwoven into the life of a contemporary physician. The book culminates with an intelligent explanation of the economics of healthcare. He exquisitely explains that what a physician actually gets paid is quite different from the charges patients see on their bill and reminds us that the tireless attention to patients’ well-being via phone calls (even at 3 a.m.) and family consultations are not accounted for in a doctor’s compensation—there isn’t overtime pay in medicine. “Without regret, Dr. Moeller, like many of his colleagues, commits to the profession of medicine because of the altruistic nature inherent to the role and the intellectual stimulation afforded by the practice. Overall, this book provides a sobering perspective of healthcare providers on the front lines of medicine, and a call to action that would include the voices of these front line providers in the ongoing reform of the U.S. healthcare system.”

NICK LIBERATI, Reimbursement Specialist, Grand Rapids, MI

“Medicine is considered a noble profession because of what we, as physicians, have to sacrifice for our patients and society. This book has done a wonderful job of portraying the rigors of what it takes to become a physician and offers potential solutions that reference the principles of our founding fathers and free market economics, the pillars of what makes the United States so great. It is both an emotional portrait of the life of physicians as well as truly patriotic!”


“The life of a physician is not an easy one. This book highlights the enormous struggle, sacrifice, and commitment necessary to become a physician and the real-life challenges physicians face when they are in practice. As a nurse, I recognize there are many current issues in healthcare that need to be addressed. It is my sincere hope that this is read by not only members of the general public so that there may be a better understanding and appreciation of physicians, but also by legislators who can affect the policy changes that need to occur. “

LISA GABIER, Staff Nurse, Grand Rapids, MI

“Dr. Moeller’s book is a fun read and an accurate depiction of the training involved in the evolution of an American physician. Dr. Moeller draws insight to many of the flaws in our current healthcare system and offers some creative solutions. This book is a must-read for politicians and hospital administrators."

DANIALD RODRIGUES, MD, Fellowship, Wayne State University

“As a patient of Dr. Matthew Moeller, I can now see the challenges of becoming a physician and the continued challenges physicians face in their career. It is astounding how much work is placed on them to complete this journey into helping others attempt to live a better life. The handicaps placed on them and the burdens they face throughout the course of their lives and their family’s lives to help society as a whole is proof of the compelling need for some policy makers to actually involve them in the decision-making process.”

MICHEAL CORREALE, Patient, Lansing, MI

“Dr. Moeller’s book is a must-read for everyone who is interested in attending medical school. The insight he provides into the journey of the medical profession is unparalleled. Dr. Moeller deserves tremendous accolades for taking the time and articulating his opinions on the current problems in healthcare. More Dr. Moellers are necessary for a successful, efficient, and affordable American healthcare system for the 21st century.”

RANDALL MEISNER, MD, Fellowship, University of Wisconsin

“It seems as if public’s perception of doctors has been relatively negative in recent years and perhaps motivated by the media and the current state of politics in the nation. Dr. Moeller accurately portrays ‘our side’ and rekindles the notions of service, dedication, and nobility to the medical profession that seem not to be noticed amongst politicians lately.”

PRAVEEN SATEESH, MD, Fellowship, Georgetown University