I’m a doctor, I don’t practice, and it’s okay

Is it your first time to visit my blog? Welcome! My name is Stef and I’m a doctor.

I studied medicine, graduated with Latin honors from the University of Santo Tomas, and passed the physicians’ board exams. No, I don’t currently practice medicine. Yes, I used to.

I now write for a living. You’re probably thinking, “What a waste! You studied medicine for nothing! And you’re an honor graduate, to boot! Que horror!

non-practicing doctorIt’s such a common sentiment among doctors who chose nonclinical careers that it should be on a shirt. (Thanks to my fellow doctor-writer, Aidz, for this idea.)

I bet you’re clucking your tongue and shaking your head like some telenovela villain, too, and I don’t blame you. Here, let me share with you a common scenario in my ten-or-so years of life as a writer:

New Acquaintance: Oh, so you’re a doctor? What’s your specialization? (smiles broadly)
Me: I didn’t specialize. (smiles)
New Acquaintance: (raises brow) Ah. Where do you practice, then?
Me: I don’t practice anymore. I’m a writer now.
New Acquaintance: (frowns) Really? Sayang naman ang pinag-aralan mo.

At that point of the conversation, a really nasty part of me is generally tempted to say, “Considering what you think of writers and how shortsighted you obviously are, mas sayang ang pinag-aralan mo.”

Digital dementia: If you're reading this, then you're at risk

Can you stand not watching TV or using your phone the entire day? No? Yeah, I thought so. Unfortunately, this addiction to everything digital that we all seem to be afflicted with might be making us dumber.

Dr Gary Small[2]Dr. Gary Small, who received a letter from the president in this photo, came to the Philippines to spread the word about brain aging and digital dementia.

They say we all have to use our gadgets less than we do – it’s allegedly good for our health. Although that’s good advice if you want to preserve your brain function, do we really have to be tech-averse just to stay sharp?


8 Brain tips to fight digital dementia

If you can’t stay away from gadgets (I know I can’t), here are a few suggestions based on Dr. Small’s pointers on how to prevent brain aging.

Brain tip no. 1:

Acknowledge your role in preventing brain aging

Some people think, “Hey, I’m getting old – being forgetful is natural.”

Well, ain’t that defeatist?

Dr.-Gary-Small2“Two-thirds of risk factors for brain aging are non-genetic and a lot of it is under our control,” says Dr. Gary Small, director of UCLA Longevity Center. “We have to get the message out there that 50 percent of dementia worldwide is attributable to these factors.”

So, basically, fighting brain aging starts in your mind.


Brain tip no. 2:

Don’t rely on your phone to remember everything

Glutathione lozenges and skin lightening: the (white) elephant in the room

Question: Do you want to whiten your skin? Are you unhappy with your beautiful, brown skin, the kind that every freckled, burns-rather-than-tans Westerner probably envies?

Pardon the judgment apparent in my second question (and the rather tacky pun that is the title of this article). As someone who has once used sunblock in highschool – not for sun protection, but for skin lightening “after just four weeks” – I shouldn't thumb my nose at anyone who wants fairer skin.

Thiocell glutathioneBe honest: Would you buy these glutathione lozenges if they could whiten your skin?

I've grown to accept – no, love – my skin. The more I understood why I wanted my complexion to be fairer in the past, the more I realized it wasn't white skin that I wanted. I wanted acceptance, something that I knew had to start with me.

I realized a few things about our skin preferences and a glutathione preparation by Brady Pharma, Inc. that I wanted to share with you. You might want to read this carefully, especially if you're stubborn about wanting fairer skin.

5 Sad Ways Apologists Try to Justify Bullying

“I’m not saying I support bullying. But then again, bullying builds character.”

These words may seem to hold wisdom, but they are dangerously laced with one succinct message: Bullying is okay. These words therefore give bullies the thumbs-up, the implicit go signal.

Here’s the thing: Bullying exists because we let it. If we want bullying to stop, we must also put a stop to our apologist approach to bullying.


In your lifetime, you be will listening to many apologists as they attempt to rationalize bullying and why it “might be good for society”. These may even be people you look up to and love. You will hear them try to explain away bullying as “an evil with a purpose”. They will attempt to dilute its malevolence by stating its arguably good consequences.

They will fail to realize that the moment they try to justify bullying, they have already made the choice to defend it.


5 Apologist Reasons for Bullying (and Why We Need to Stop Using Them)

All tragedies bring out our tough nature, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m not for violence against women, but violence against women builds character.” So, why do we say that about bullying? Puzzler.

Of course, that’s not the only thing an apologist would say in an attempt to sublimate bullying. Check these reasons out and find out which ones you’ve already heard.


Apologist reason #1:

”Bullying builds character”

Just because a tragedy builds character doesn’t mean we should belittle the damage it causes.

I don’t even have to look far – just one glance at my doctor colleagues and I can see how bullying inevitably takes its toll on a very important stakeholder: the unsuspecting patient.

The stigma of the non-practicing doctor: a study in mythology

These are some of the myths I eventually debunked as a doctor who chose to write for a living. (If you haven’t yet, I recommend that you click that link and read it first.)

follow your dream

If you’re a doctor who’s on the fence about being one, this is for you. If you’re someone who might not know how to act or what to say if you meet a doctor who tells you s/he’s not practicing medicine, then this is for you, too.

Myth #1:

Doctors who don’t practice medicine are wasting their education

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