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Having a non-work life if you go into surgery - is it possible?

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by SchroedingrsCat, Apr 26, 2012.

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  1. SchroedingrsCat

    SchroedingrsCat

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    Everything I hear about surgery is work, work work. 80 hours per week minimum, always on call, etc. How feasible is it to get a surgery gig for 40-50 hrs/week and limitied call. I'm interested in surgery, but I'm also interested in the rest of my damn life.
  2. JackShephard MD

    JackShephard MD

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    Not likely. Expect to work at least 60+ hours a week (@ times 80+). Call depends on the surgical field, but expect to have a healthy amount especially at the beginning of your career.
  3. TheRunner

    TheRunner

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    That's exactly why I'm not going into surgery. It's not worth giving up your life, in my opinion. But, some people feel differently. As I heard one surgeon say, "Wives come and go, but surgery is forever."
  4. jogaboy10

    jogaboy10

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    What do you value more? A balanced or a primarily work-oriented life?
  5. KinasePro

    KinasePro

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    Bingo. Even the "lifestyle" surgical specialties like ENT and urology still maintain ~60 hr work weeks in the majority of practice scenarios as far as I can tell. Things can taper down when you're established in your career, but any flavor of surgeon tends to work pretty hard relative to their peers in other specialties.

    That said, I'd argue you can still have a life and work 60+ hrs per week. The extra 10-15 hrs/wk that you're sacrificing by becoming a surgeon wouldn't have otherwise made you into an incredible parent or dynamic individual anyway... You will make time for what matters to you, whether it's spending time with your family or rock climbing or whatever. As they say "the hours never get better, but you get better at the hours."
  6. MedBound1

    MedBound1

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    That guy's probably gonna be 60 with a ton of money and "success" but no one to share it with.. :(

    You can't do it alone.
  7. VisionaryTics

    VisionaryTics Señor Member

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    Merkel?
  8. TheRunner

    TheRunner

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    Huh? Is it some sort of famous quote? It was said jokingly. But I can see where there might be some truth to it. I don't think my wife would stick around if I were pulling 80 hour weeks permanently.
  9. VisionaryTics

    VisionaryTics Señor Member

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    We had an old dinosaur vascular surgeon who helped out in anatomy lab named Dr. Merkel. This was one of his favorite quotes. Pretty sure he was serious.
  10. The Imprisoned

    The Imprisoned Don't Break the Seal

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    I honestly would hope that there are women out there especially in our generation (early 20s) who would be understanding of the hours of this lifestyle. If its what truly makes you happy as a physician why should you have to pick a specialty you don't enjoy as much? It's sad to imagine someone leaving you because you work 80 hours a week. You make time and make it work.
  11. CatFactorial

    CatFactorial

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    Surgery is work, work, work because practice, practice, practice makes perfect, perfect, perfect.
  12. kautionwirez

    kautionwirez Hadoken!

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    My wife said if I pursue surgery, she would support me all the way through....

    ...As long as I give her all my money. :rolleyes:

    ...Then again, she will still take all my money if I don't go into surgery.
  13. The Imprisoned

    The Imprisoned Don't Break the Seal

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    At least she said she'll stay! Lol
  14. JP2740

    JP2740

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    People complaining about 60 hour work weeks in this thread made me laugh hard. Come on guys.
  15. The Imprisoned

    The Imprisoned Don't Break the Seal

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    Not us complaining lol. Its the significant others.
  16. JP2740

    JP2740

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    Don't put that ***** on a pedestal. Do what you want to do and run with it. She'll stick around because all women see are $$$.

    Probably easier to say without a wife but to be honest man, that's ****ed up if you just end up running your life according to her.
  17. TheRunner

    TheRunner

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    Yeah but don't you think it's ****ed up if you don't take her opinion into consideration? Your life decisions are going to significantly impact her life, so shouldn't she have a say?
  18. ManBroDude

    ManBroDude Half man, half bearpig

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    Oh yeah, she'll be staying... with her live-in boyfriend while you're in the OR.
  19. Star Fox

    Star Fox

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    You only live once, go for your dreams and ignore anyone in your way. Including a nagging wife. Nag nag nag nag nag
  20. Guillemot

    Guillemot

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    Surgery is like going off to war. Be prepared to forfeit your life.
  21. cowme

    cowme ACFAS Member

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    if you don't want to work bad hours as a surgeon, move to an underserved community and start your own practice (or join one in desparate need). You can choose your own hours. My uncle works 2 hours from a major city out west as an orthopod. His clinic days are 7-noon 2 days a week. His OR days are 7-2, 2 days a week. (I will admit, he is a very efficient surgeon and can finish cases in half the time it takes his partners to). He has 3 day weekends and 8 weeks vacation
  22. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    In residency surgeons usually live at about the 75-85 hour per week range. Hours usually go up right after residency.
  23. loho77

    loho77

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    Are you kidding with this? Good luck with that attitude. For your sake I hope the rude awakening out of the 1950's comes sooner than later - and before it ruins your career.
  24. foobytheinsane1

    foobytheinsane1

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    I certainly hope you are a troll and not serious with this misogynistic B.S. Yuck! It's healthy and considerate to take your partner's feelings and wishes into account when chosing a speciality or career.


  25. KinasePro

    KinasePro

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    How long has he been in practice for? It sounds like a nice gig, but I'm sure that sort of lifestyle has a dramatic effect on his income. I'm guessing he'd fall around the lowest 30% of earners in ortho maybe?
  26. neusu

    neusu

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    This is generally more true for surgery than other fields, but medicine in general is like this.

    Medical schools in general have done an exceptionally poor job recently in attracting individuals who are truly interested in medicine for medicine and not for the associated lifestyle.
  27. kdhmed

    kdhmed

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    Starfox and JP seem perfect for eachother...
  28. SteinUmStein

    SteinUmStein

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    How can an interviewer/adcom possibly tell the difference between the applicant who is "truly" interested in medicine (whatever that means) and one who is looking for a good career? Everyone knows what they want to hear and what the application needs to look like, it's not a secret. It's like people expect adcoms to have some sort of tingly spidey-sense to tell who is really in it for the "right" reasons.
  29. cowme

    cowme ACFAS Member

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    I don't know about dramatic effect. He has never made less than 250K working 40 hour, 4-5 day weeks.
  30. Frazier

    Frazier turtle in a rabbit race Lifetime Donor

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    medicine = a job

    family = family

    working any job for +80hr/week is a nasty prospect. even if a myopic surgeon is too blind to see it, his family still will.*

    *this is assuming that said surgeon isn't a turd of a husband/dad to begin with. if so, perhaps it best that he works more instead of less.
  31. Star Fox

    Star Fox

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    Why do you say this? I am just saying live your own life and I have no clue what the other guy said because I'm too lazy to decipher the multiple *s. Do you disagree with this?
  32. Bancrofti

    Bancrofti

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    Anyone feel that at times the people who complain about the lifestyle are just the ones trying to justify not putting in a ton of hours and dedicating their life to medicine... like we're all supposed to regardless of specialty?

    My long-time gf brings it up sometimes, but I don't think it's that serious as long as our schedules work together. If I'm doing 80 hour work weeks, assuming I sleep around 7 hours a day, I still have another ~4 hours of free time. If I'm spending time with her doing what I'm doing, i.e. going to the gym or whatever, 4 hours a day doesn't seem that bad. If anything, surgery will be a blessing because not having to see her non-stop will prevent me from going crazy.

    Only time I see it being a major life issue is once you have kids. I couldn't really imagine not being able to see my kids every day and spend time with them.

    As far as the actual prospects, I feel that we're all going to get conflicting information. I shadowed 2 orthopedic surgeons and interned with a sports medicine physician among other shadowing in undergrad. All 3 loved what they did, and 2 of the 3 seemingly had great lives. Despite they schedule, they had plenty of time to be with their family and do things they wanted. One of the 2 actually has enough time to consistently train for marathon running/ironman events. The third was married also, but was the only one to seem stressed and was the only one who actually advised me to think twice about what I was getting into. He was also balding and not the best looker so maybe a bunch of factors play in to stress levels and how well one can handle the time commitment :)
  33. Star Fox

    Star Fox

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    Couldn't have put it better myself. For a lot of people getting into medical school is like that huge hurdle and getting to the top of the hill. They think that everything should be easy and just handed to them now. Then when the money and respect don't start raining from the sky they get mad and bitter, but that's just the taste of reality.
  34. SteinUmStein

    SteinUmStein

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    And then there's people who just want to live their lives outside the hospital/clinic. Most of the people who want reasonable hours are willing to take a significant pay cut to get them. Those that won't consciously and with full understanding accept the pay cut either do something like derm (if they can), or they whine about how underpaid they are for the rest of their lives.
  35. ImmunoPharmD

    ImmunoPharmD

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    If you're too lazy to work, then don't go into medicine.
  36. kautionwirez

    kautionwirez Hadoken!

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    I'm working as a lab manager and I work at around 50 hours with weekends. Last semester I took two classes (8 units) which was about 8-10 hours. Not saying this compares to the stress and challenges of a physician, but comparing time at the job/school, I had lots of free time to spare for the wifey/friends/family.
  37. SteinUmStein

    SteinUmStein

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    That sounds doable. I think 50-60 hours is a pretty reasonable work week. It's the 70-80+ hour work weeks that scare me, because I know people who work those hours and complete exhaustion sets in pretty quickly unless you don't have any domestic responsibilities (i.e. a stay-at-home spouse or you live alone and hire a maid or something).
  38. TheRunner

    TheRunner

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    "Live your own life"....Once you get married, you're not just living your own life anymore. You're no longer an island, making your life decisions in a vacuum.
  39. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    <-------



  40. Cello

    Cello

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    From reading this thread, many of you are going to be pouring your hard work and money into alimony payments from your many failed future marriages if you don't change your attitudes.

    It's pretty myopic to believe that your profession is the most important or even the only dream one may have. Having a spouse, a stable home, and children are all dreams as well. Who says that they aren't at least as important as following your dream career? If you're of the mindset that "I'll work 100+ hours per week because I want to do, it's my dream, and screw everyone else, especially my nagging spouse" then do the world and your future kids a favor, and don't have them, please.

    PS- It's not just anecdotal that some of the most misguided and angst-ridden children come not just from poor or abusive families, but also from families where their parents "work hard" to earn a lot of money, but fail miserably as parents.
  41. JP2740

    JP2740

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    winner
  42. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Pre-nups. "Are you marrying me for my money or are you marrying me for me?"
  43. JP2740

    JP2740

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    This quote is pretty awesome.
  44. Cello

    Cello

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    It's nearly impossible to know the stresses, pressures, and the resulting lifestyle of a profession which demands an 80+ hour workweek when it's just an idea, or a dream. You can't really blame a spouse for not understanding what 80+ hours entails until they actually experience it.

    Anyway, are spouses just a commodity to you? Are they something to be tossed away or traded on a whim? Or, are they every bit as important an investment as your profession? Any kind of a pre-nup would probably be incomplete without a clause describing your love for your profession over the professed love of your future spouse. I mean, to be fair he/she should know that they are and will always be second best, right? If they're fine with that, then obviously there should be no problems in the future!

    Nothing wrong with working in surgery, don't get me wrong, but to treat your significant other's feelings and attitudes with such contempt as many in here have done is ridiculously short-sighted, and certainly not conducive to a stable and healthy home suitable for children or a lasting marriage.
  45. Star Fox

    Star Fox

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    yea thanks Dr. Phil.:thumbup:
  46. SteinUmStein

    SteinUmStein

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    winner. (see, I can arbitrarily declare a winner too. Isn't this fun? :laugh: )

    But seriously, it's not hard to see why so many physicians have failed marriages and broken home lives with attitudes like these running rampant. "Herp derp I'm a doctor and my career takes precedence over eating, sleeping, and raising functional children. If you're not like me, you shouldn't be in medicine." Thanks, but fortunately the 1950's are over.
  47. SteinUmStein

    SteinUmStein

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    Yeah, what a joke! Feelings and the happiness of other people. Yuck! :barf:
  48. kautionwirez

    kautionwirez Hadoken!

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    Tried and failed.
  49. Cello

    Cello

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    I am not a walrus. ;)
  50. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    I agree, arrogance is extremely repulsive to me. There are many doctors and surgeons that I met that are cool people or at least pretended to be when they interacted with me. If you have the social skills of an alley cat then don't go into healthcare please. Go get that PhD. or something.


    It seemed to work with me every time I mentioned it to a girlfriend that wanted to marry me. Although its funny to see their true color first reaction when I bring it up. If I detect anger then I know what their true long term motives are in being with me. Its actually a good tool to use to see psychologically what your significant other is in it for. And not to be stereotypical (most stereotypes are true nonetheless) but women are more frequent golddiggers than men so you have to be careful.

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