Ella Growney answers the question of what makes becoming a doctor worth it


What makes becoming a doctor worth it?

This is the question many, including senior Ella Growney, ask themselves when considering if a career in the medical field is right for them. While there is no simple answer, Ella was lucky enough to find it while serving on a mission trip with Healing the Children, a nonprofit organization, for over a week in Columbia.

Although Ella has already committed to Michigan State University for pre-med, this was not set in stone until the full impact of her trip from sophomore year was acknowledged. While she was on this trip, Ella discovered what made the medical field so desirable and why it was worth the money, time, and effort.

“It was really cool because I got to feel [that] this is what I want to go into,” Ella said. “I want to be a doctor. I got like a little sneak peak of what I wanted to do. It taught me so much. It kind of made me focus on the things I want to do. Before, I wasn’t really sure what I even wanted to major in.”

In Ella’s case, joining the medical field was less of a choice and more of a simple fact of the matter. If Ella’s family tree could be traced, one would find that it contains a straight line of doctors from her father all the way up. However, instead of feeling pressured, this idea of becoming a doctor was simply accepted.

The passion for caring for others was something that was directly inherited.

“I know a lot of people these days tend to not fall in love with the things they do, but [my dad and grandpa] both did,” Ella said. “That kind of pushed me in [the medical field] direction. I feel like I’m a caring person. I just like to care for people, and that’s how both my dad and my grandpa were.”

In fact, the very mission trip she joined runs in her family line as well. After her grandfather passed away, it was her father’s wish that Ella got involved just as he once was. And from Ella’s point of view, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Although only attending the mission trip once, Ella wishes to go on it again in the fall and continues to remain involved indirectly. The trip also proved to be much more than helping others, but it once again aided Ella in discovering why becoming a doctor is worth all of the dedication it requires.

While on the trip, she learned how to put IVs in, how different sorts of medications affect different kids, and how to use them. She also cared for children coming out of surgery, commenting that, “I got to see a lot of really big smiles and happy faces from all the parents there, which just makes me feel really good.”

On top of all of this, Ella was also a messenger for the surgeons. This position, although Ella thought it to be stressful, led to the discovery of her passion.

“It taught me so much, especially about like what I want to do specifically,” Ella said. “It made me focus on the things I want to do. Before, I wasn’t really sure what I even wanted to like major in, in college, but now, I’m almost positive I want to go into the medical field.”

While on the trip, Ella also became aware of how fortunate she is to live in a country with exceptional healthcare and access to it. Ella took notice of how people would have to walk miles upon miles simply to reach the care in the first place, whereas here, it’s just a call away.

This realization and the smiles of the kids that she aided was all of the rewards she could have asked for from the trip.

“I [took] away how lucky we are to live in the United States,” Ella said. “[The patients] had to walk miles just to get to this hospital and [were] lucky enough to get picked for the treatment; we take that for granted every day. [The kids are] malnourished; it’s normal there, and they have to live with it every day.”

With inspiration from this trip driving Ella towards pursuing a medical degree, specifically anesthesiology, she was on the search for more ways she could help people currently, before the 12-year degree. With this idea in mind, Ella and her mother became heavily involved with Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping in the giving of wishes and the upcoming Make-a-Wish ball on May 5th.

With both Make-a-Wish and Healing the Children in her back pocket, the influence they had spawned the love for positively changing people’s lives.

“It’s almost the same thing with the Healing the Children–[Make-a-Wish] just makes me really like appreciate how much I have and how much I take for granted,” Ella said. “I just hope to help families, help people, and be able to change people’s lives. Like, I don’t know how to put this into words–just changing people’s lives.”

This journey that Ella has been on helped her discover the reasons for why there even is a long line of doctors in her family. Why they all chose to sacrifice years of their lives for a job that is anything but easy. Why they gave up everything for other people.

Why it is worth it to become a doctor.

“I know becoming a doctor takes forever,” Ella said. “It’s a 12-year college process, but it’s so worth it in the long run. If you really feel that is your position, then I say just push yourself.  It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be worth it. I see just the outcome of being able to help people.”