“My son / daughter is a doctor,” still makes for some words parents utter very proudly, in the same way that children learn to say “My mother / father is a doctor” with pride. Sure, these days if it is indeed all about the money that comes with pursuing such careers, people working in the financial sector or even in the tech sector stand to make so much more than medical professionals, but it’s not all about the money when it comes to the associated prestige.
At face-value a parent would be proud of their child who managed to qualify as a medical professional as a result of a number of suggested triumphs that come together to ensure they obtain that qualification, one of which is how hard they had to work despite how smart they’re inherently believed to be. It takes more than some smarts to make it into medical school and then go on to complete your qualification. You pretty much always have to be studying as a medical student and it’s one of those fields where you really need to retain what you learn about.
The prestige that comes with being a doctor goes way beyond the here-and-now though, so it’s about more than just earning a lot of money essentially saving people’s lives, to whatever extent that you do save lives. The prestige of being a doctor goes back to the earliest times during which careers were formally defined and it’s a matter of survival. Back in the days of our earliest ancestors, a respected medicine man wasn’t respected because they demonstrated the kind of diligence and discipline required to obtain a PhD. Instead, they were revered for their contribution to society in the form of healing the sick and perhaps saving lives.
So that’s what it goes back to – being one of the biggest contributors to the well-being and development of your community.
These days the face-value prestige may be that of a superficial kind, i.e. “I managed to put my child through medical school and my child managed to complete his or her PhD, therefore I’m a great parent and I raised great children,” but at least at the subconscious level the underlying prestige still goes back to community development and neighbourliness.
If for instance your uncle is a doctor, the chances of you ever having to deal with something like the emerging hernia mesh lawsuits would be significantly reduced, because it would have taken a lot for your doctor-uncle to have recommended something like a hernia mesh implant for a condition you might have been suffering which perhaps warrants that as a treatment. This is not to say doctors who recommended and facilitated hernia mesh implants are bad at all, but in an increasingly globalised world where the family GP is being replaced by another doctor who is working for a big private medical care conglomerate, healthcare is becoming less personalised.
You generally trust your doctor, right, but the trust-factor would perhaps be multiplied tenfold if your doctor was also a family member?