Growing up in Canada when children were asked what they wanted to be when they grow up, the automatic response was "a doctor." Of course, many of us outgrew that dream, but those who didn't have now become the caretakers to many sick Canadians.
It's a known fact that being a doctor is a lot of grueling hard work. Not only are you dealing with sick people, but an average shift working as a doctor is easily over 10 hours long, not to mention having to work days on end and weekends. The job is not only physically strenuous, but it's also mentally strenuous baring the responsibility of someone's life and wellness in your hands.
If you dare to take on a career in medicine then you have to go to medical school, which has a reputation for being absolutely daunting and insanely difficult. While over 10,000 students apply to Canada's medical schools every year, only a few hundred are selected for each program.
Shows like "Greys Anatomy" have people totally intrigued in a career in medicine so Narcity figured it would be worth investigating what a day in the life of a Canadian doctor was really like.
Dr. Jonathan Assayag is a general practitioner working in Montréal, Québec, who also works in non-invasive aesthetic medicine. The 31-year-old not only has an amazing job as a doctor but he also owns and manages more than one medical building.
Though Assayag was raised amongst doctors, he was inspired by the first-hand experience of being in a hospital to choose a career in medicine. Through a health scare in his youth, the passion of medical professionals is the what drove him to become one himself.
Now, Dr. Assayag spends nearly 12 hours a day helping Canadians, whether it be a regular checkup or intense medical situation. Here's what a day in the life of a Montréal doctor is really like.
Where did your interest in medicine stem from, what made you want to become a doctor?
JA: My interest in medicine began when I was 13 years old. I went through some health issues at that time where I had to be hospitalized for three months. Even though my father was a doctor, that was my first real encounter in the medical field.
I saw first hand the devotion and passion that those professionals had and it inspired me. Later on in life, I also saw my father go above and beyond in order help countless people in our community and I guess it kind of rubbed off on me.
How did you get started in your field and get your first job?
JA: I got started working with people in the medical field during my studies in University as a young medical student working in hospitals all over Quebec and New Brunswick. Then I continued on as a medical resident working in Ottawa for two years before finally settling back into Montreal.
I was able to start working in a hospital as soon as I got back to this beautiful city and since then I have been fine tuning my medical career, keeping my knowledge up to date, starting new business’ and following my many passions.
Could you give us a breakdown of an average day as a GP (General Practitioner)?
JA: My day to day varies greatly depending on where I’m working during that period. I work in hospital and clinic, practising general medicine as well as non-invasive aesthetic medicine (including Botox, fillers and laser treatments but excluding major surgical interventions that are usually performed by plastic surgeons.) I also have many other non-medical commitments as I own and manage a five-story medical complex, a medical clinic, as well as an aesthetic clinic and I, have a stake in a few other projects as well (mainly real estate projects).
For the most part, I like to get my day started early around 8 AM and usually end my work day at around 7 PM. I also work two weekends a month and I try to maintain a healthy social life so it does get a little busy.
I personally see about 20-40 patients on a busy day which ranges from minimal cases to intense medical procedures. Every day is different, which is the part that I love the most. Uncovering new cases and helping my patients get better is what gives me the motivation to wake up in the morning.
What is the best part of practising medicine? What’s the worst?
JA: The best part of practising medicine is the gift of being able to connect with so many people on a very deep and intimate level. The worst part is the politics and administrative part of it all but I do my best to not let that interfere with the love I have for my profession.
Where do you see medicine in Canada going in the future?
JA: The medical system in Canada varies greatly from province to province. In Quebec, the system is currently going through many changes and the outcome remains to be seen. But in general, I believe that the future of medicine is trending toward is a duel healthcare model composed of a public and private system in order to alleviate some of the strains on the public sector.
Is there any advice that you wished you received before going into the field? What would you tell an aspiring doctor?
JA: An important point that is rarely brought up is the emotional strain that medical professionals often experience. I believe that it is important to discuss it early on with aspiring doctors and medical students in order to try and prepare them to handle it. With all the work, the long hours and stress it’s easy to lose yourself in it all so my best advice to anyone in any stage of their medical career is to stay passionate and always remember that you're dealing with real people and not just laboratory values in a chart.