10 to 15 years ago the job opportunities for U.S. high school graduates, according to a report, is better than the current high school graduates. Why? Because today’s labor market requires more skills from high school graduates than what high school diploma holders possessed 10 to 15 years ago. Consequently, many of today's high school graduates are unemployed because of lack of relevant job skills.
In Medicine it is different. The medical knowledge that a new medical school graduate has is about the same as that of a General Practitioner 10 or 15 years ago. Also, their patient skill is similar to what experienced mid-level practitioner can do, such as a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant. Consequently, there is less unemployment among medical doctors who just got out from medical college compared to high school graduates.
Patients, therefore, should be able to expect up to date medical and clinical skills from their primary care doctors, and not less, than what their doctors can give them 10 or 15 years ago. But is that true?
My oldest brother, now deceased, graduated from a U.S. medical college not too long after the Japanese occupation in Indonesia ended. He had a thriving medical practice in Pacoima, California. He employs five nurses. He makes home calls at nights after office hours. He gave excellent care to his patients. And most of his patients are very satisfied with the service that he gives them. One night while I worked as a nurse at a Presbyterian hospital a patient asked me what my last name was. I told her my name, and she immediately asked me if I am related to a physician with the same last name? I told her that he was my brother. And she said, “Your brother is very smart.” I am so happy and proud of my brother when I heard she said that.
My brother is not only smart, but he is also diligent. He rarely missed work unless he cannot get up from bed. He always thinks how he can better help his patients. He did this by going back to school to sharpen his medical skills. He went to China, to Japan, to Germany and other parts of Europe and Asia to learn about Acupuncture, Homeopathic Medicine, and Oriental Medicine such as using herbs to treat his patients. All his patients are extremely happy with him.
My Chinese KP doctor, on the other hand, is different. When I asked him to order a specific blood test, he said that there is no such test anywhere. He doesn't know that there is such a test. The test I requested, in fact, is available from local laboratories for years. When I told him that the test can be done at Quest Diagnostics and some other laboratories, he ignored me and played dumb. Instead, he referred me to one of his colleagues, an endocrinologist. This endocrinologist doctor asked me what do I usually eat for breakfast? After I told him what I eat, he suggested that I should quit eating oatmeal or rice. How can I quit eating rice when I have been eating rice since I was a toddler? Besides, what has rice to do with my unrelated symptoms? It is just like telling someone to quit eating potatoes, bread, and cheese as the cause for that individual's symptom when in the past 50 years that individual has been eating potatoes, bread, and cheese and has no symptoms or problems whatsoever. These KP doctors continue to amaze me with their "up to date" clinical knowledge, or the lack thereof anytime when I hear them talk or see what they do.