Careers in the medical field continue to be among the most lucrative professions in the country. Forbes recently released their list of top paying jobs. Anesthesiologist, surgeon and oral surgeon round out the top three. Nine On Your Side spoke to one local surgeon about what it takes to make it in the industry.
"Every aspect has difficulties," said Dr. Lilah Morris. She practices general and endocrine surgery at Northwest Medical Center. "Medical school was challenging because you're a student and you are paying a lot of money and not making a lot of money. I was a long ways out of college, so that was taking on loans. That was challenging but also interesting and exciting. Everything in medical school seems fun and interesting."
Morris says although the job may be high-paying in the long run, it's tough to get there.
"Doing a residency, it's really your first job. It's pretty low-paid particularly because you work 80 hours a week. It's exhausting, it's a lot of calls, the hours are a little bit different now. We used to do 24 on 24 off a lot. We used to be in the hospital for 30 hours at a time. It's hard on your body, it's just hard to be awake and taking care of patients for that long."
It can also take a toll on your personal life.
"There are weeks when I don't see my husband and kids for very many waking hours of the day and I'm exhausted."
"Surgery is an amazing field. You get access to people that they don't give anyone else. I mean, people trust you with their bodies. Not just in the office, but when they go to sleep. You have a huge responsibility to take care of them and to have a good outcome and to meet their expectations and you also meet people, I take a of of calls, you meet people in really challenging places in their lives they're in a lot of pain. When they feel terrible and they don't know what's wrong with them. It's an enormous responsibility and it feels so amazing that they can trust you with their lives."
The field of medicine is one that will always be in high demand. Pima Community College is home to a variety of healthcare programs, including one of the bet nursing programs in the state.
According to the Arizona State Board of Nursing, PCC's nursing program has about a 94% licensure pass rate for registered nurses and a 95% pass rate for licensed practical nurses so far this year.
The nursing school works with community partners to help students pay for college and complete the program. For more information, click here.