I don't know of anyone in the medical field who is in it for the money – because, to be honest, there isn't much to be had.
I think, in general, we are all in this because we feel it is our calling. It's our dharma, it's something that we are meant to do.
I think that part of my dharma is to go work for Medecins Sans Frontieres – aka Doctors Without Borders.
Most of you don't know this, but I speak enough French to be able to hold a decent conversation. MSF is always looking for medical personnel (doctors, Pas, nurses, NPs etc) who speak conversational French. Right now they need people to go to Haiti, Niger, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.
My husband thinks I am absolutely crazy for wanting to do this. So does my brother. We had a conversation over lunch on Saturday…my big brother is a corporate private investigator and is a pretty big deal in his profession. He works for some very big companies and he investigates fraudulent and counterfeit products and has been all over the world. Anyway, he, my husband and I got to talking about my desires to work for MSF and the countries I could potentially go to. They both got very quiet, looked at each other, and then turned to me and calmly explained that it would not be in my best interests to go to those countries. Haiti is ridiculously dangerous, they said, as is the Congo. Niger is less unstable, but is really not safe either. In other words, they wanted to put the kibosh on my plans.
I realize that these places are unstable, and I realize that I could be in danger if I go there….but I could just as easily get shot in East St Louis (a woman got shot in the parking lot of the hospital earlier this week, and there have been multiple shooting and homicides in the vicinity of Kenneth Hall this year). I would have been in more danger if I had been able to enlist in the Army…and yeah, I would have had the power of the flag behind me, but MSF is a big deal too. When was the last time you heard of a medical professional working for MSF being abducted or killed?
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I realize there is potentially a great risk to this, but it's something that I feel I need to do. It's my dharma, my path, my way of being. It's in my nature to do this, despite the danger. I had hoped that my husband would understand; his career puts him into some pretty risky places and he's not always harmed.
I don't want to do this for the money, because there really isn't any, and I don't want to do it for the fame or the prestige because there isn't any of that, either. I want to do it because I feel I HAVE to. I NEED to.
We'll see what happens when I qualify, I guess.