“So many things happen in real-life medicine are so unpredictable and it’s what makes it an exciting career,” says Dr. Stork. “No matter what field of medicine you decide to go into, training and being prepared for the unexpected is so crucial. You never really get bored in medicine.”

In the beginning

Going back, before “The Doctors,” before “The Bachelor,” how does a Midwesterner go from a family of farmers to becoming a world-renowned emergency physician and award-winning television host?

After he graduated college, Stork volunteered at a free clinic. “The reason I went into medicine was watching that one-on-one interaction doctors had with their patients,” he recounts. “It’s unlike any other profession. After working at the free clinic for three months, I decided to go back to school.”

Non-traditional student

In his words, Dr. Stork was not the average medical student. For starters, he was older than most of his classmates – he was a few years out of college when he applied. Not to mention, he was a math and economics major in college, which is not the usual study path for aspiring doctors.

“I made the decision after volunteering to go back to school. What I learned from that is it’s never too late [to become a doctor] if you feel like your calling is in the medical field. You don’t always have to go the traditional route,” Dr. Stork encourages.

“It’s never too late [to become a doctor] if you feel like your calling is in the medical field. You don’t always have to go the traditional route.”

Primary care

When asked where he sees the biggest gap, Stork says, unequivocally, primary care.

He explains that if you have a good relationship with a good primary care doctor, they act as your liaison with other doctors and other specialists. This is how the American healthcare system works best – through referrals.

However, with all these opportunities for young doctors to specialize, primary care is oftentimes forgotten about.

“I have so much profound respect for the wonderful primary care doctors out there because they’re the ones who truly establish the lifelong relationships with patients who can help prevent illness. Nowadays, more and more people who go into primary care realizing if they can motivate their patients and get them excited about healthcare and prevention, that’s going to be the model I think changes, in a good way, healthcare in our country.”

For aspiring doctors

For Dr. Stork, medicine has been an adventure. Could he have ever imagined his career taking the twists and turns it has? No! But what has prepared him was a solid educational foundation.

“Be excited about learning, be excited about education, because that truly is the building block of succeeding in medicine whatever specific discipline you choose,” Stork advises for anyone aspiring to work in healthcare or become a doctor. “As the world changes and as healthcare expands, if you have that central tenet of a good education, your career can go wherever you want to take it.”