A Look Around the Office:
Dr. Levy is really passionate about his job. From the moment that we met, Levy continued to find opportunities to teach me about what he sees in patients, his rationale for a diagnosis, and stories about his previous experiences as a doctor. I was interested in reading several of the medical texts that Levy had in his office, with many of them covering topics in Sports Medicine, such as proper nutrition, rehabilitation from common athletic injuries, proper techniques for lifting weights, reconstructive surgery of the shoulder and elbow, how to diagnose sports injuries - these were all topics that I wanted to learn more about. Since that moment, Levy kept handing me articles to read and packets that contained information about his diagnoses. I told him that I was interested in independent research and that I had a passion for learning, and he was very impressed by my self-motivation to do so.
In getting to know him, I also decided to interview him about how and why he became a podiatrist. I also asked about obstacles he encountered throughout his journey, and whether or not he regrets anything throughout the process. Here are his responses:
Why did you choose to become a Podiatrist?
I chose this field because I have teammates who had injuries and they were at the end of their careers.
What is your educational background? Please include all degrees and certifications you hold.
I have an AA in Chemistry, a BS in Biology, a DPM in Doctor of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University, Fellowship in Wound Care, Chemistry + Psychology Major in College
What are the educational requirements of your current position?
DPM (4 yrs + 3 yrs Podiatric Medicine and Surgery residency), 4 yrs of undergrad w/ pre-med cources
Approximately how much did your education cost? Were you awarded any scholarships or other financial aid to finance it?
I got some scholarships but they were very minimal. I mostly payed tuition off as I went, and then I took out loans as I went. In med school, I took out loans and took 10 yrs to pay them off.
Do you feel you picked the right school(s)? Why or why not?
You always think you picked the best school, but I think that I picked a very good school that gave me a great education and a good well rounded education to do what I do, as well as a great learning environment.
Approximately how much do you earn (gross) per year? Do you feel you earn an appropriate amount for the work you do? When you compare what you spent on your education, is your current income a fair return on your investment?
It’s a varied return on investment. If I bought a McDonald’s franchise, I would be retired and much more richer. So selling burgers is much more lucrative than being a doctor. I have EOBs from 89-90 and 91. They were greater back then.
What is the best aspect of your job?
The best aspect of my job is definitely helping people get better.
What is the worst aspect of your job?
Paperwork. And of course the amount of hours that I work, as well as the amount of education that it takes to become a doctor.
Does this job allow you to spend adequate free time? Are you able to take vacations when you want/need?
The answer is yes, but it’s qualified. So it’s almost like you’re paying for the vacation by the week before and after by being twice as busy.
Oh ok, so you allocate more time to your practice, and that’s when you take time off so then you can still earn.
Exactly. I essentially work longer hours in those weeks so that I can still receive the income that I would have earned had I not taken a vacation.
If you could give one bit of advice to a student considering entering this field, what would it be?
In medical school, what were some of the challenges?
There was never enough time to learn, sleep, and eat.
Oh, so it was really hard to balance.
It’s 25 units of science a semester.
There were 10 classes. And they’re all science. And you have to do well in all of them. Midterms and finals are 2 weeks long.
If you could go back through the process of medical school and choosing your specialty would there be any regret or anything you’d do differently?
No, I have no regrets and I’m positive that I chose the right job.
Working with Dr. Levy has been a great experience thus far and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the stories that he told about his journey leading up to his eventual career and I was very impressed with his eagerness to discuss his work and to take the time to describe his methods and his thought process as he diagnoses patients. The most invaluable experience was observing his reactions and interactions with patients because it gives me a great idea of what to expect when I answer the medical field myself. I look forward to working with him and to continue to hear more stories and lessons that I know will serve as invaluable experience.