Lunk23

10+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2008
1
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Pre-Medical
I'm about to turn 16 in my second year of high school and I've always wanted to be an engineer, but recently I've been watching Scrubs and was turned on to the medical profession. Now I've spent the last week doing research, and I'm aware that, for the most part it's nothing like "Scrubs", however - I'm still interested. Now that I think about it, I can't image another career that will allow me to work with and get to know people on such a level. Today, I was reading the long, "If you could, would you go back - and do it all again" post - and it seems that so many MDs find themselves depressed and cynical after a few years in the profession.
Based on what I've seen so far, IM seems like the best path for me, at least at first. Now, I have a few misconceptions about the job (I live in Canada, from what I can tell it won 't change anything significantly, but let me know if it will.)

  • How hectic is life as a student and a resident? Do you have a personal life? I understand that it is very difficult, but do you have time to go to the bar and hang out once a week? Do people tend to have relationships during residency (with co-workers or otherwise)?
  • Does it get much easier afterward?
  • I've read many contradictory reports about break-time. Can you take a break whenever you need to? Are they scheduled? Or do you only have so much time each day?
  • The one thing I think "Scrubs" is an accurate representation of is being on-call, are you literally woken up every half-hour for various trivial things?
  • Are the attending helpful, or are they jackasses? I don't think I could very well get though residency without a good mentor.
 

psipsina

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2005
1,812
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N'awlins
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Medical Student
I'm about to turn 16 in my second year of high school and I've always wanted to be an engineer, but recently I've been watching Scrubs and was turned on to the medical profession. Now I've spent the last week doing research, and I'm aware that, for the most part it's nothing like "Scrubs", however - I'm still interested. Now that I think about it, I can't image another career that will allow me to work with and get to know people on such a level. Today, I was reading the long, "If you could, would you go back - and do it all again" post - and it seems that so many MDs find themselves depressed and cynical after a few years in the profession.
Based on what I've seen so far, IM seems like the best path for me, at least at first. Now, I have a few misconceptions about the job (I live in Canada, from what I can tell it won 't change anything significantly, but let me know if it will.)

  • How hectic is life as a student and a resident? Do you have a personal life? I understand that it is very difficult, but do you have time to go to the bar and hang out once a week? Do people tend to have relationships during residency (with co-workers or otherwise)?
  • Does it get much easier afterward?
  • I've read many contradictory reports about break-time. Can you take a break whenever you need to? Are they scheduled? Or do you only have so much time each day?
  • The one thing I think "Scrubs" is an accurate representation of is being on-call, are you literally woken up every half-hour for various trivial things?
  • Are the attending helpful, or are they jackasses? I don't think I could very well get though residency without a good mentor.
1) Some weeks no, you will not have a night to go out. Depends on your definition of personal life. People do have relationships but the success of those relationships depends on how understanding your SO is.
2) Depends on the specialty etc. There are ways to have a good amount of family time once you are out of residency and even a few residencies that are family friendly. You would want to look for specialties that have shift work and no call.
3) Um so you don't get to stop taking care of someone because its time for your break. Even working after undergrad as a research tech in a doctors office I missed lunch and worked straight thru until all the patients were seen. There are greater responsibilities as a physician than a normal job so you can't just leave whenever you want to and go get a snack. You learn to take advantage of lulls to do what needs to be done.
4) I haven't taken call yet but my understanding is that some nights you don't even get to sleep at all, that most nights you would definitely get paged a few times and that sometimes there are really slow nights. I think it depends alot on the particular range of inpatients that you are responsible or if you are on trauma call.
5) Like any other group of people there are awesome attendings who are great teachers and there are going to be jerks. Part of being an adult in any professional setting will be learning to deal with some peeps that you'd rather not have in your life.
 

Terpskins99

Fear... The Stig
10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2005
3,435
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Resident [Any Field]
[*]How hectic is life as a student and a resident? Do you have a personal life? I understand that it is very difficult, but do you have time to go to the bar and hang out once a week? Do people tend to have relationships during residency (with co-workers or otherwise)?
As a 4th year student (which is supposed to be the most laid back year in medical school), life is still pretty busy. There is very little down time when you are at the hospital. But your time away from the hospital is yours. Most residents try to have some kind of informal get-together every month or so (the problem with arranging weekly get-togethers is scheduling, someone is always going to be on call). Plenty of dating does happen in the hospital, though nothing to the degree that you'd see on Grey's anatomy. :rolleyes:

[*]Does it get much easier afterward?
You adjust, lets put it that way. Medical school and residency is tough. Plus it takes time to learn to be efficient with your time. But I think life improves considerably as an attending physician since at that point you have some control over your time and can delegate much of the grunt work to the rest of your teaching team.

[*]I've read many contradictory reports about break-time. Can you take a break whenever you need to? Are they scheduled? Or do you only have so much time each day?
Breaks aren't really scheduled (not even for lunch, though you will usually be given 30 minutes to 1 hour to get something to eat or attend a conference where food will be provided). For the most part, you take breaks/go-to-the-bathroom/eat-a-snack whenever you can find the time to. As I mentioned before, you always have work you need to get done at some point and most people try to get that work done as soon as possible so they can leave for home earlier.

[*]The one thing I think "Scrubs" is an accurate representation of is being on-call, are you literally woken up every half-hour for various trivial things?
Yes! Though there will be days where the hospital is pretty quiet, patients are stable and the nurses decide to give the residents a break. :rolleyes:

[*]Are the attending helpful, or are they jackasses? I don't think I could very well get though residency without a good mentor.
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Well, this depends on the person of course. I've met plenty of jackass attendings. But most have been wonderful to work with. They all remember what it was like to be a resident and a medical student. MOST have the ability to sympathize with you and will try to make your life a little less miserable for you if they can.
 

vasca

En la era postpasambre
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Nov 7, 2008
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Chilangolandia nuevamente
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Let's put it this way; I've had med school classmates that would do a Thursday-Saturday marathon of going to parties or bars at night, get insanely drunk and come back to classes the next day (sometimes STILL drunk). It's not the rule though. Most students do go out to night clubs and bars on the weekends except near final exams. Since I don't have the money or the physical stamins to do that, I only do such things every 4 months at the most. Booze can be expensive. :thumbdown:

I watch anime; a LOT of anime. It's my hobby and I find watching Pokémon and laughing at all of the mexican slang put into the spanish dub to be relaxing. While I can't see my shows all of the time, I always have some time to watch an episode or two almost everyday. The worst years were as an M1 and M2 where I'd usually arrive home after 9 pm dead tired, starving (or sometimes too tired to even feel hunger) and despite it all still had to study to watch.

However, as an M3 and M4, I usually arrived home before 6 pm and only on special occasions would I arrive real late at 11 pm and had time to watch the primetime anime on cable.

As long as you aren't forced to do on-call on a weekend, you can do whatever you feel like as a med student in your free time. I sometimes went to ice rinks to skate, but med school is very demanding on my body and I just get too tired after the honeymoon first month of the semester is over and the real school work pops up. If I skate tired, I risk falling down stupidly and getting preventable injuries. My right knee is beaten up as it is thanks to my sport. ^^' However, most people have much more stamina than I and some did strenuous exercise even before finals. :eek:

It will all end for me as an intern though. With the exception for the "B" day of the call schedule, the days I do leave early I'll be too tired to really do much like go out and stuff. However it's just for 1 year and the stuff you learn is vital to become a good doctor. I'll still be able to watch some of my primetime anime most of the time. Interns at least in Mexico don't get weekends and holidays off to party, you work and can't skip work unless you have a really good reason (like you got shot when someone tried to mug you in the street or you got appendicitis).

Night call is physically demanding, and sometimes there's no action so you're awake doing nothing. When no action was going on in my traua hopsital, we'd go watching youtube videos on the laptop of a resident until something interesting came up. The worst is around 6-7 am when you're really sleepy and then a patient pops up all of a sudden. The trauma hospital I did shifts doesn't even give you a free meal, that sucks.

If it's an action packed shift, it can be really fun, but it's still demanding on the body. You have no idea how tired you get when the sun pops out and you still have to go to class as if it were nothing. Ouch. Imagine that I'll have to start doing over 100 of these night shifts for the next year starting in just 1 week in a busy hospital and still have to continue working the next morning. I should enjoy sleeping while I still can!!! :laugh:

Some things in Scrubs is laughably real. I've met several doctors that act like Dr Cox and every hospital chief I've met acts all snobbish like Bob Kelso, but most attendings are really nice and cool people. If you're interested to work, they'll be more interested to teach you. What you put into your classes is what you get from them. Figure this; these teachers will eventually become your coworkers once you finishing climbing the training ladder. Your former teachers can someday become your best drinking buddies. The other way around, if you both hate eachother, you could be just counting the days until you won't have to put up with this jerk ever again.

Things are different as a med student. Because of how my university schedules are like, many teachers forgive you for eating in class as long as it isn't noisy sounding food like chips. During actual shifts you are usually given an hour to eat lunch or dinner. Just ask a resident for permission and you'll be fine.
Since I'm not practising the internship fully yet, I don't know how well my hospital respects the semi official eating schedules; but I've heard that in the Ob/Gyn rotation you're too busy to eat food sometimes. Either you eat your lunch or your patient delivers a baby in the hallway. Obviously sometimes your duties as a doctor come first because your own health. Nobody said medicine was easy.
 

gopher22

10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2008
151
0
Status
Medical Student
You could study engineering and then make a more informed decision about medical school later. Engineers are indispensable to the innovation of medicine (imaging, prosthetics, etc), and there are a handful of them (including me) in my class.

Good luck!