A family doctor is an MD

For many medical students, a doctorate is still desirable. But what advantages does it really bring to its wearers? And what does he use in the branch?

Reading time: 5 minutes

There is hardly a doctor who is not addressed by his or her patients as "Frau" or "Herr Doktor". For many people, "doctor" is the same as "doctor", so it is more of a job title. The title is primarily an academic degree that can be acquired in all possible subjects - including medicine.

Doctorate equals high prestige?

Those who have a doctorate often also enjoy a certain reputation. For the German Dr. med. this is only partially true in the world of science. This is because the doctorates in medicine differ in their quality. And there are certain reasons for this: The doctorate usually indicates that you are able to work scientifically in research at the highest level. To do this, you will learn certain tools in most subjects, become routine in writing academic term papers - and usually do a doctorate only after you graduate.

Fluctuating quality of the dissertations

It is often different in medical studies. Many students start their dissertation during their studies so as not to extend their already very long training period. That means a huge amount of extra work - and thus even more stress. In addition, her doctoral thesis is sometimes the first written scientific work. Because housework is rarely asked for in the course of study and there is a lack of practice - and not least the tools to do it professionally. Surveys among students show that their care by the doctor's mother or father is often not optimal. All of these factors have an impact on the quality of academic work.

The consequence: the German Dr. med. is less valued in an international comparison. German students who apply for international funding programs, for example, feel this. You must have additional qualifications, for example proof of publications. In the meantime, a number of universities have responded and launched structured doctoral programs to help students with their doctoral theses.

Promotion as a career kick

Inferior reputation or not: If you want to go into medical research and you can imagine a career as a scientist, you can't go without a title. However, opinions differ about the relevance of the doctorate outside of the scientific world. In 2017, the Hartmannbund asked students whether they saw a benefit in their doctorate for their later work: 44.3 percent agreed, although very few of them would later want to work scientifically. A second federal survey of assistant doctors from the same year showed, however, that around 60 percent of those questioned see no benefit in the doctorate for their medical work. The majority of doctors also stated that their employers do not value a doctorate. The Marburger Bund doctors' union, however, assesses the situation differently: It is of the opinion that leadership positions at universities or hospitals are difficult to get without a doctorate. If you want to settle down, you can confidently do so without a doctorate. For his own practice, the Dr. med. No condition.

Prestige with the patients?

But how do patients actually feel about the doctorate - does the title screw up their reputation? First of all, the numbers speak for it. As the Hartmannbund found in its survey, the majority of the assistant doctors questioned believe that the doctorate definitely has an influence on how patients perceive doctors. However, it is difficult to objectively assess whether patients actually rate them differently if there is no doctorate in front of the name. Because there are no exact surveys to date. However, there are surveys that show what patients are particularly interested in when looking for a resident doctor and what criteria they use to make their choice. A survey carried out on behalf of the Weisse Liste and the Bertelsmann Stiftung in 2018 revealed interesting aspects:

94 percent of respondents said that information on experience and specialist knowledge when looking for a doctor is very important or rather important to them. In addition, they value information on hygiene measures (90 percent) and the services offered in the practice (84 percent).

Qualitative surveys also show that patients value communication, competence, service and quality of treatment: Am I being taken seriously as a patient? Does my doctor explain my illness and the treatment options to me in an understandable way? Can I trust that the doctor has sufficient experience to treat my illness? Do I get an appointment quickly? Was the treatment successful? These are central aspects that are in focus when looking for a doctor.

Doctorate yes or no? Your checklist

How important a PhD is to you depends on where you want to go:

☐ Do you want Career in science make it difficult without a doctorate.

☐ Do you feel like one leading position, a doctorate may not necessarily be the decisive factor, but it is certainly a helpful competitive factor.

☐ For the branch is the Dr. med. not mandatory.

☐ And not for one either full practice. Because for patients there seem to be more important quality features that make a good doctor.


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