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anybody here regret going to medical school?

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doc_strange2001

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the only thing i regret is not winning that 230M lottery last night. But for now im about to become an MD and live comfortably, buy an new toy here and there, and keep playing the lottery.
 

Mike59

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Absolutely no regrets.

I guess it all depends how much your program stresses you out, but my school is pretty laid back and I've got no complaints.

The MD has got to be the most versatile degree out there, and as long as one has the drive to get through training, I find it hard to imagine that many could have "regrets" about going to med school. :horns:
 

amoxicillin

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my only worry is being there for my family and getting married. i wont be able to start med school until im 25, thus i'll be 29 when i get out and I am worried how im gonna get married during that time and have a kid by 30. my gf will i will marry wants all of this int hat time frame as do I...very much so. so those are my worries.
 

NebelDO

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absolutely no regrets whatsoever. ill be 27 when im done and im already married. We want to start having kids in about a year and a half. i think that no matter what you do in whatever specialty, there is time for your family, you just have to decide how important it is to you. Acouple gen surg. friends i have said that they never missed a ballgame, recital, anything while in training, so it can be done.
 

beyond all hope

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but then again...too few to mention.

Going to medical school is not without risks.

As physicians, we are held to a higher standard of work and work ethic than the average joe. Average joe takes a day off whenever he feels like it: physicians rarely take unscheduled vacations. Average joe doesn't stress when he makes a mistake: physicians will brood about it for years.

I actually like this part of the job. I wouldn't want to do anything I wasn't 100% committed to, or a job I didn't feel was vitally important. It can be exhausting, though. Sometimes I'd really like to be able to kick back in my chair and tell my patients to f*ck off because I'm taking a break.

There's also the golden handcuffs aspect of medicine. People rarely change fields once they train in medicine. It's not just because they love the work, but also any career change involves a 50-90% cut in pay, not to mention loss of autonomy and prestige. I.e. I'd love to work as a schoolteacher for awhile, but it's hard to consider going from 200K working for myself 3-4 days a week to 30K 5 days a week, and answering to principals with less education and training than I have.

So, are there disadvantages to having a job that gives you autonomy, prestige, academic challenge and a boatload of money for the rest of your life? Yes. If you're not extremely work-motivated, you'll probably be miserable in medicine. (then again, there's always pathology, radiology and other kick-back jobs in medicine)

Choose wisely
 

avendesora

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Originally posted by amoxicillin
my only worry is being there for my family and getting married. i wont be able to start med school until im 25, thus i'll be 29 when i get out and I am worried how im gonna get married during that time and have a kid by 30. my gf will i will marry wants all of this int hat time frame as do I...very much so. so those are my worries.

I got married between 3rd and 4th year. A friend of mine had 2 kids while in school, and had one before he started (his wife is a SAH mom, though). MANY of my classmates are having kids this year (4th year), many of them women. It definitely can be done, and with the new "kinder gentler" residency, I would not even let this be a factor for you (or at least not a big one).

Hope this helps.
 

benjee

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Not at all! With MD after my name already gives me euphoria for the rest of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Even it does not make me rich....
 

Vincristine

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I don't think I regret it, but for some reason when I hear other people talking prospectively about med school my gut reaction is to tell them not to go.

I'm not sure why this is, though.
 

Galaxian

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beyond all hope...who's to say you can't become a school teacher AFTER you've been a doctor? That's what I plan on doing when I'm retired...
 

mountebank

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No regrets.....

Do you realize the amount of street cred this degree gives you? Man or Woman, an MD degree will only make you sexier......can't say thats true with a JD degree....
 

rustybruce

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"As physicians, we are held to a higher standard of work and work ethic than the average joe. Average joe takes a day off whenever he feels like it: physicians rarely take unscheduled vacations. Average joe doesn't stress when he makes a mistake: physicians will brood about it for years.

I actually like this part of the job. I wouldn't want to do anything I wasn't 100% committed to, or a job I didn't feel was vitally important. It can be exhausting, though. Sometimes I'd really like to be able to kick back in my chair and tell my patients to f*ck off because I'm taking a break.

There's also the golden handcuffs aspect of medicine. People rarely change fields once they train in medicine. It's not just because they love the work, but also any career change involves a 50-90% cut in pay, not to mention loss of autonomy and prestige. I.e. I'd love to work as a schoolteacher for awhile, but it's hard to consider going from 200K working for myself 3-4 days a week to 30K 5 days a week, and answering to principals with less education and training than I have."


I admit that it is difficult to change careers because of the benefits, but the MD degree is quite versatile and I know several MD's who do not practice medicine and are extremely happy for it. Also, though our mistakes can sometimes result in loss of life, there are plenty of other careers in which F$#% ups are disasters. We're not the worlds best, brightest, or most dedicated. For anyone considering medicine, please don't forget that.
 

DocWagner

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Hell no there are no regrets!! I am damn sexy (circular motion around nipples) Well, at least my wife thinks I am sexy (and my mom thinks I am handsome)

Actually being a DO rocks pretty hard.
 

pez

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Sometimes I do wish that I had a regular "job". It would be nice to leave work, not have to worry about anything else and go to happy hour with the rest of the suits. Also, most of my friends in their 20's go out all the time, while I'm looking foward to 6+ more years of training on top of the 4 under my belt.
 

mcgillmed

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Originally posted by keraven
I don't think I regret it, but for some reason when I hear other people talking prospectively about med school my gut reaction is to tell them not to go.

I'm not sure why this is, though.

I think I would agree with keraven. I really love medical school (now that I am in my surgery clerkship finally) and don't mind the hours, despite my complaining. However, I don't know if I would advise a friend or relative to go into medicine. I would say that if you would be happy doing anything else, do it. For me, I wouldn't be happy doing anything else, and I know that I will be happy in medicine despite the difficulties.

My senior resident and I had a moment the other night while we were on call that kind of summarized what a life in medicine is all about. It was about 11 pm and we had not eaten dinner yet (or lunch, for that matter). Of course the crappy cafeteria in our hospital was closed, so we made our way up to the resident's room between consults and found a few boxes of food in the refrigerator. It was 2-day old cafeteria food, which we proceeded to eat cold out of the box with plastic silverware. As we were eating, we both looked at each other and started laughing at the comedy of the situation. He asked me "What do you think people on the street would think if they could see us now?" I replied "That maybe medicine isn't all that glamorous after all. But I couldn't see myself doing anything else."
 

Leukocyte

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"maybe medicine isn't all that glamorous after all."

I agree 100%. The days of the glamorous MD are almost over.

No real regret, but my enthusiasm for "medicine" has decreased now that I am in my MS 3 year. "Medicine" is nothing like I thought it was before entering medical school.

Peace
 

Vincristine

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Originally posted by mcgillmed
I think I would agree with keraven. I really love medical school (now that I am in my surgery clerkship finally) and don't mind the hours, despite my complaining. However, I don't know if I would advise a friend or relative to go into medicine. I would say that if you would be happy doing anything else, do it. For me, I wouldn't be happy doing anything else, and I know that I will be happy in medicine despite the difficulties.


:clap: Epiphony! I've been feeling so-so about med school for a while. I didn't mind IM but knew there was no way I cared enough to make it through an IM residency to maybe find a specialty I liked. Then I, too, got to surgery. I had ruled out being a surgeon long ago based mostly on having carpal tunnel when I was in high school. But then I took my first night of truama call and I was hooked. I started talking to folks about it, and made a crazy decision to consider surgery. I was getting this strange feeling in my gut and I realized it was excitement more than nervousness. I've heard so many times people saying they could see themselves doing this or that. But it's really more what you said Leukocyte -- it's about not seeing yourself doing anything else. So that's it, the decision is made, I'm going to be a surgeon.

Now back to studying for this pesky surgery shelf on Wednesday.
 

Foxxy Cleopatra

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Originally posted by beyond all hope
but then again...too few to mention.


...I did what I had to do
and saw it through without exemption

Huge Sinatra fan myself- was just listening to in on my way back into town from a roadie.

I'm surprised there is so much unequivocal *lack* of doubt regarding medicine. I must be unusual, though I really didn't feel this way until residency began.

I do not hate medicine but I am not in love with it, either. I never was one of those who got the rush when seeing MD behind my name. I wish I was, though. The weird thing is, I actually don't mind the bizarre schedule, long hours, because I like to have all my ducks in a row before I leave the hospital.

I like...
- the variety
- thinking my way through problems
- the feeling when I do a procedure and see the positive results
- the grateful, hardworking patients
- late nights laughing with the nurses
- my fellow residents
- that there are many ways to skin a cat (discussing different ideas with colleagues)
- the fact that there are always new studies to read, new ideas out there
- watching a 40%TBSA patient walk out of the hospital...

I don't like...
- the way the legal system has affected the way we talk to patients, the way we order tests, and the way we practice in general
- the fact that a judgement call can cost someone their life
- that things are not always clear-cut
- the risks we put ourselves through (contracting Hep C, HIV),
- condescending attitudes and arguements
- the double standard regarding gender in that many people our age see a MD behind a male name as attractive, where sometimes it can feel isolating for a female
- some of the angry, litiginous people out there
- the inefficiencies of the system
- that > $100,000 of debt is a huge ball & chain

It's a mixed bag to me. I agree with the others; if you are not yet in medical school, don't jump in blindly.
 

cjw0918

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I agree with the above poster who said she/he would encourage someone to explore other careers before medicine, assuming the person has another career in mind. I meet a lot of people that say they couldn't do anything but medicine, but I don't feel that way at all. I've never felt that way. In fact I am really questioning whether all the crap is worth it. Hopefully I am just beaten down by third year and I will start seeing the light soon. I think I would feel better if I had stumbled on a specialty by now that I felt I wanted to pursue for residency. I'm planning a path elective this summer and I'm hoping I like that. I don't know if I regret med school per se, but I don't think I'd do it over again.
 

The White Coat Investor

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I think the reason we all talk others out of it is that if you can be talked out of it, you don't have the drive to make it through it. How many of us had someone try to talk us out of it? I know I had several people try to do it. They couldn't, and now I'm happy (I enjoyed med school and the first 2/3 of my internship). But if I wasn't as driven as I am, I probably wouldn't have made it this far.
 

jeeva

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I watched "Dream Job" on ESPN last night and thought to myself that I could have at least done better than the guy who got cut....Maybe I'll audition for "Dream Job 2." (Then again, I'm going into pm&r so maybe I'll just be a sportscenter anchor on the side during my free time) ;)


By the way, does anyone else think they should make a "Bad Dream Job" reality series taking contestants off the streets and turning them into interns on their first night of call? I'd watch. Seriously.
 

edinOH

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Originally posted by jeeva



By the way, does anyone else think they should make a "Bad Dream Job" reality series taking contestants off the streets and turning them into interns on their first night of call? I'd watch. Seriously.

I seriously think you may be onto something there. I too would watch.
 

Goober

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Originally posted by Dr. Cuts
I've been reading a lot of John Grisham books lately and am toying with the idea of going to law school after residency.


Yah right- let's see you have 4 more years of resident training plus possible fellowship and I asssume you have medschool loans to pay off. Sombody is dangling a 300k job in front of you and you choose law school? :laugh:
 

bobdobaleena

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glamorous!?!??? i wouldn't call $250,000 in debt, fingers in every orifice of every stinky homeless guy who walks in, being yelled at by some ass of a senior resident at 3:30am for nothing, cafeteria food for every meal of the day.........the reality of medicine is quite a bit different than the fantasy......make sure you figure out what it is you're getting into....this isn's scrubs or ER...... you're not, for the most part, doing good and saving lives. you prescribe meds that that just temporarily patch problems and cause side effects that you treat with other meds that cause side effects that you treat with other meds that cause etc.........you get yelled at by drunk bums....your poor patients with no access to insurance can't get adequate follow up or their follow up is just plain inadequate (eg county patients who have to follow up with some crack pot IMG psychiatrist or who just get lost in the shuffle)........the legal system has turned medicine into a cover your ass practice where everything is done for the wrong reason (medical-legal) and your patients are all potential lawsuits (us vs. them attitude of most attending physicians)......residents and attendings are straight up disrespectful to patients behind their backs (laughing at that poor guy who came in completely aphasic because some other guy decided to beat him senseless with a bat, making jokes about the way the lady in bed 842 screams in pain....etc...you know what i'm talking about).........and this makes me question if doctors really do care about the well being of their patients or if what they actually care about is covering their ass so they don't get sued and can't afford that new BMW or that ridiculously huge rock on their fiance's finger who also happens to be a resident taking care of some of the poorest most underserved patients in the country.....bling bling.......at least she can brag to her friends about that rock her doctor boyfriend gave her........you see how awful the human race can be first hand and that's disheartening (i would rather believe that a woman and her children don't need to jump out of 3rd story building onto the cement below after being doused with gasoline and lit on fire by that womens boyfriend)........keep asking questions and know what it is that you are actually getting yourself into.
 

doc_strange2001

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That was deep dude..thats exactly why im not looking foward to becoming an intern....but July1 is creepin up
 

LilyMD

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Originally posted by Dr. Cuts
I've been reading a lot of John Grisham books lately and am toying with the idea of going to law school after residency.

To address the original query, no I don't regret it... but clinical medicine (what I -- and probably everyone else -- envisioned going into before med school) is not all that I'd imagined. Thank goodness for radiology :)!

Dr. Cuts, I don't know if you're serious. I'm not a doctor, but I am a lawyer. I can tell you that practicing law is nothing like John Grisham's books - or Law & Order, The Practice, or any other fictional legal-centered drama. The people depicted in these books and shows are litigators. They are the ones who argue and go to court. It might seem like fun to argue a case. Do you enjoy fighting and tension with your family, business associates and friends? If so, by being a litigator you can not only fight your own fights but other peoples too. There are other areas of law that transactional and are not as adversarial as litigation, but I hope you enjoy being in a room full of papers and reviewing the standard boiler-plate language for every last anal detail for a 80 hours a week. And this is at the peak of practicing, where you get highly complex cases and a significant salary. Of coure, you can take it down a notch and take simpler cases (the average custody dispute, business deal/relationship gone bad, etc.), but the pay is no good and you'll still have to work quite a bit before trial. If you're a bleeding heart and you want to fight for the underrepresented, prepare yourself because these jobs are not easy to come by and some pay as little as $30k. A lot of doctors think that lawyers make easy money - all you have to do is sue a doctor and the hospital. But this is not true of most lawyers. Sure, you can make money but be prepared to work for it and in a room full of papers. Practicing law can be a lot of things (boring, dishonest, etc.) but it is not easy.
 

The White Coat Investor

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Originally posted by LilyMD
I'm not a doctor, but I am a lawyer.

Not to even remotely suggest you're not allowed in our clubhouse, but what the hell are you doing here?

P.S. I like 50% of malpractice lawyers, the half on my side.
 

The White Coat Investor

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Originally posted by bobdobaleena
glamorous!?!??? i wouldn't call $250,000 in debt, fingers in every orifice of every stinky homeless guy who walks in, being yelled at by some ass of a senior resident at 3:30am for nothing, cafeteria food for every meal of the day

Hmmm....bad day?

I was lucky, I went into medicine for the right reasons, I chose my specialty for the right reasons, and I picked my residency program for the right reasons, and you know, I'm pretty damned happy. (despite where my fingers go every shift, who I get yelled at by, and what I eat.)
 

The White Coat Investor

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Originally posted by jeeva
By the way, does anyone else think they should make a "Bad Dream Job" reality series taking contestants off the streets and turning them into interns on their first night of call? I'd watch. Seriously.

Watch? I'd pay to be in the studio audience! In fact, I'd volunteer to head out on the street and recruit contestants. My first night of call was hell. Trauma service. 55 patients on the service (including unit players,) 8 trauma codes, an ass of a chief, and a pager stuck in status pagematicus. By the time I left at 6:30 the next evening (80 hour work rules what?) I had post-traumatic stress disorder. That was the one day I actually wanted to quit medicine. But, hey, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right?
 

kristing

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There are sooooo many options when you are done with your residency. This is why I chose to do this over a PhD program.

1. You can teach in an academic setting and get paid a lot more than an PhD (and have more flexibility with what you teach).
2. You can do research.
3. You can do administration.
4. You can practice medicine (not possible with a PhD or any other degree for that matter).


Those are pretty simplistic generalizations, but they are all options for you all. So, if you are feeling pigeonholed because you took out $200K in loans, don't. Start researching other options. You can be happy with your degree, and make enough money to pay those loans off!

kristin
 

gmcsierra

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i am considering a career in medicine. i am a sophomore in college (mechanical engineering) and taking lifesciences. i am also considering grad school (masters in bioengineering) or dental school. i have been considering med school for 3 years, but am aware of some of the difficulties and am a little apprehensive. i like what you learn in school in medicine more than dental school, because in dental school it is focused to the neck and head area obviously. i would like to learn about the rest of the body too. but i am not sure if this is a good enough reason to go into medicine considerin the road. bioengineering would be more interesting while you are learning also, but once you get out as an engineer, you are incredibly focused i hear and the job may get monotonous. dentistry, being maybe the least interesting of all fields while in school, seems to be the PERFECT career in every other way. you get to own your own business. you get to work with your hands. you get to interact with people all day. you get to work as little or as much as possible (which means ball games and catch if you are a parent). you get time to yourself (golfing and hunting for me). and, you make a descent amount of money (which would mean i could take care of my less financially fortunate mother when i get out of school). i am not that interested in money, because i come from a not so rich family. all of my eggs seem to be in one basket for dentistry, and the only problem seems to be the concentration during school and not getting to learn all about math or the entire body.
i have not posted this question before due to fear of being flamed by people on this forum, but seem this would be the perfect instant with some people who have been around the med school block before.
Thanks for any input.
 

gmcsierra

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i guess i should also mention that dentistry is supposed to have a shortage in my state for the next 10 to 20 years, which is also important in my decision, b/c i would like living in my home state which would not be possible with bioengineering.
 

PublicHealth

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No one has mentioned that medical training will dominate the "better years" of your life -- 20s and early 30s. When all of your pals are at the beach, you're at the hospital. Yeah, the money is good when you're done, but the hours are long and you have $100 to $200K in loans to pay back.

It's really tough to make a balanced decision one way or another. I've been told by PhDs to pursue medicine, and have been told by MDs/DOs to stay away from it. Grass is always greener on other side, but is there any objective/systematic way to make the decision to pursue a career in medicine?
 

aphistis

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Originally posted by gmcsierra
i guess i should also mention that dentistry is supposed to have a shortage in my state for the next 10 to 20 years, which is also important in my decision, b/c i would like living in my home state which would not be possible with bioengineering.
With a few regional exceptional, that'll be the case for dentistry for quite a while. Dentists are retiring at roughly twice the rate they're being replaced by us newbies. I'll keep this short--I'm not trying to start another pissing contest here--but you've already hit on most of the plusses and negatives of dentistry relative to medicine. The only clarifications I'd make are that you *do* spend time focusing on the rest of the body, since A) that mouth you're working on is rather firmly attached to the rest of the patient, and B) you're patient's medical history can dramatically alter their dental treatment planning, & vice versa.

Dentistry's a great alternative to medicine, and they're very similar, but they aren't one and the same. Personally, I couldn't be happier to have made the change midway through college, and maybe you'll come to the same conclusion; but if your heart is set on medicine, do medicine.
 

LilyMD

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Originally posted by Desperado
Not to even remotely suggest you're not allowed in our clubhouse, but what the hell are you doing here?

P.S. I like 50% of malpractice lawyers, the half on my side.

I'm actually here doing some research and trying to gather some ammo on some unsuspecting residents and doctors for a frivolous lawsuit/class actions I'm initiating just for kicks. Just kidding - I just find it somewhat amusing how hateful a lot of MD's and pre-meds are of lawyers in general (not even just plaintiffs malpractice attorneys). I know, I know - they're forcing doctors out of the profession in droves. Anyhow, I was hoping to replace some of the defectors bc I'm not afraid of lawsuits. I'm here bc I'm seriously considering a career change (if you read my posts you might see some dissatisfaction between the lines about law) and since I get a lot of "Don't Do It" and "Lawyers Make Easy Money," I like to explore the reasons for the dissatisfaction/regrets of MD's before I make the leap.
 

Docgeorge

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Originally posted by PublicHealth
... Grass is always greener on other side...

You know this reminded me of something. A buddy of mine and I were studying at Barnes & Noble and this incredablly beautifull woman walked by. I mean she was HOTT!!!! My dumb ass happened to make the coment "man I sure would love to get with her, why is the grass always greener on the other side?"

My very smart and wise buddy with out missing a beat says to me "if the grass looks greener on the other side it's cuz there more sh!t on that side."
 

mcgillmed

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Originally posted by gmcsierra
i am considering a career in medicine. i am a sophomore in college (mechanical engineering) and taking lifesciences. i am also considering grad school (masters in bioengineering) or dental school. i have been considering med school for 3 years, but am aware of some of the difficulties and am a little apprehensive. i like what you learn in school in medicine more than dental school, because in dental school it is focused to the neck and head area obviously. i would like to learn about the rest of the body too. but i am not sure if this is a good enough reason to go into medicine considerin the road. bioengineering would be more interesting while you are learning also, but once you get out as an engineer, you are incredibly focused i hear and the job may get monotonous. dentistry, being maybe the least interesting of all fields while in school, seems to be the PERFECT career in every other way. you get to own your own business. you get to work with your hands. you get to interact with people all day. you get to work as little or as much as possible (which means ball games and catch if you are a parent). you get time to yourself (golfing and hunting for me). and, you make a descent amount of money (which would mean i could take care of my less financially fortunate mother when i get out of school). i am not that interested in money, because i come from a not so rich family. all of my eggs seem to be in one basket for dentistry, and the only problem seems to be the concentration during school and not getting to learn all about math or the entire body.
i have not posted this question before due to fear of being flamed by people on this forum, but seem this would be the perfect instant with some people who have been around the med school block before.
Thanks for any input.

I'd have to agree with you, gmc. My father is a dentist. His father and brother are also dentists. They have all practiced together throughout their careers. If I had gone into dentistry, I would have had a job and a direct track to my own practice the day I left dental school. Looking back, I probably would have chosen dentistry if I had spent a little more time at his office and seen what it is he does everyday. I think I took the dental lifestyle for granted as the child of a dentist, but I am sure appreciating it now that I am living the life of an MD. If you're one of those people that defines yourself first and foremost by your career, and your family life means a lot less to you (which seems inaccurate, based on your post) then by all means, go for the MD. Just to let you know, however, there are no gurantees that you will find that one medical specialty that knocks your socks off. Then you're stuck with a lot longer training, more debt, and a more difficult career than dentistry without that intellectual stimulation you thought you were getting in the bargain.

I'm starting to realize that I could have enjoyed all of the benefits I have in medicine with a DDS without having to deal with many of the disadvantages. Not necessarily feeling regret, just wishing I had given dentistry a little more consideration before writing it off. I'd suggest spending some time with a dentist and with a few physicians in different specialties, and see who you think enjoys their life more.
 

edinOH

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It seems to me that dentistry has alot of the advantages that some of the "lifestyle" specialties such as ophtho and derm have without some of the headaches that IM, FM and the surgical subspecialties have. It is still pretty easy to have your own solo practice in dentistry since insurance reimbursements are still relatively high. It is part procedurally based, part office check-up and you have the option of subspecialization in OMFS or orthodontics etc. There you can grab a share of the facial plastics, reconstruction, CA if that's your thing or you can enjoy the more elective cosmetic side of orthodontics. Not to mention the peri and endo fields.

Knowing what I know now I probably would have looked at dentistry alittle closer in the begining but I'm also pretty sure I would have still chosen the path I have. That being EM.

Even though I don't regret EM and I am still happy doing it (especially after spending last month in the ED) I will freely admit that I know view my career as the business it is/will become. After all the reason people go to work everyday is to earn a living. I'm planning on maximizing this truth while balancing my family/free time.

In the end, be keenly aware of the business aspects/opportunities of what you are getting into AS WELL as wether or not you like/love the job.
 

ItsGavinC

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Originally posted by beyond all hope
. Average joe takes a day off whenever he feels like it: physicians rarely take unscheduled vacations. Average joe doesn't stress when he makes a mistake: physicians will brood about it for years.

Way to lay down a bunch of general fallacies. Certainly your statements are true in some contexts, but they are often very false.

For example, true average joes can't take days off whenever they want. Well actually, they can, and then they are fired. All the physicians I've shadowed had a great habit of cancelling on patients that same day so they could go play golf.

To think that nobody else stresses over mistakes or cares about their job (which is what your message felt like) is absurd.
 

ItsGavinC

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Dentistry is nice, to be sure, but the grass isn't always greener.

Although, in this case, it certainly is. ;)
 

Trismegistus4

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Originally posted by beyond all hope
As physicians, we are held to a higher standard of work and work ethic than the average joe. Average joe takes a day off whenever he feels like it: physicians rarely take unscheduled vacations.

Yeah, where are you getting this? My cubicle-dwelling, Dilbert-like job gives me 10 days of vacation a year, and I'm supposed to put in requests to use it at least a month in advance. Other than those 10 days (plus 2 personal holidays and the standard, fixed holidays) I am chained in my cubicle from 8-5 for 5 days a week. Need to shadow a physician during the day, or interview for a post-bacc? Better get that vacation day request in!

Meanwhile, my uncle, an endocrinologist, works half days on Wednesdays and thinks nothing of taking random days off on short notice. Greener grass, indeed.
 

Febrifuge

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Preach it, my dissatisfied Office Space -livin' brother.

I know how it feels to work 150% of the shift I get paid for, to have my capabilities rewarded with more work and responsibility but no more pay, and to get yelled at for stuff that's not my fault. May as well do it all on a higher level, right? Only we postbacs are crazy enough to look at the disadvantages of medicine as a career, and think they sound good.
 

roja

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Absolutely no regrets. I was 26 when I started and single. Had a great time. Got married and had my kid 3 days after finishing my surgery rotation.

Am now a pgy1 adn still love what I do. EM kicks but and nothing beats being an MD in my opinion.
 

beyond all hope

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Like many of my older-med school applicants, I too have done the Dilbert-like cubicle jobs in computers, insurance, and other unmentionables. I feel your pain.

However, I think your comparison is inappropriate. You compare someone in an entry-level non-professional job at an office to your uncle, who is probably a senior physician who has been in medicine for at least 20-30 years, including med school and residency. Ask him how hard he worked for med school applications, four years of med school, 3 years residency, 2 years fellowship and his first couple of years as a junior physician getting started.

If you compare the entry-level job in medicine, ie. residency, to a cubicle job, you will find 40-50 hours of slow-paced work to 60-80 hours of fast-paced terror (used to be 80-110 hours, before Bell/Zion). If you compare your uncle to someone who has been in the company for 20-30 years, I think you will find that most senior professionals don't work a full work week and have a lot of afternoons off.

Lawyers and other high-powered professionals often take on very difficult positions in the beginning of their careers to get themselves on partner-track, but I challenge you to find any professional that works as hard an an intern in surgery, medicine or pediatrics. Also, you won't find them slogging away 60-80 hours a week for 3-5 years, which is what primary care residents do.

As for the comment about physicians cancelling on patients to take random days off...I feel sorry for that doctor's patients. You are correct, though, I made a generalized assumption that all physicians live up to the standard of the physicians who mentored me. I guess you could glide through med school and residency doing a minimum amount of work, but if you're going to do that why not be a lawyer.

Yes, I know that all people stress about their jobs. However, if a postal worker or an engineer makes a mistake on the job and thinks about it later, usually the error can be corrected. In medicine, however, people can and do die from mistakes.

Medicine can be a job or it can be a profession. I try to be a professional, which to me means doing whatever it takes to take care of my patients. I don't always succeed, and I am lazy and stupid upon occasion, but at least I try. If you think of medicine as simply a job and a paycheck, than that's all it is.
 

LilyMD

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Originally posted by beyond all hope
Lawyers and other high-powered professionals often take on very difficult positions in the beginning of their careers to get themselves on partner-track, but I challenge you to find any professional that works as hard an an intern in surgery, medicine or pediatrics. Also, you won't find them slogging away 60-80 hours a week for 3-5 years, which is what primary care residents do.

Actually, being a lawyer myself, I can tell you the that you're right about them taking very difficult positions and working very long hours in the beginning of their career to keep their job and sometimes with aspirations of partnership. However, at least in large law firms (where you have the potentional to make the most $$$ and build a name for yourself), they do slog away between 60-80 for their first 3-5 years. As a matter of fact, if they do make partnership, and even if they don't, they continue to work those kind of hours. It is not uncommon for me to walk aroud the office and find partners still in the office at 10 p.m. and here on weekends. There used to be a time where you could make partner and sit back and relax. That time has long gone...if you don't produce (in terms of clients and billables), you'll be asked to leave. That is a big difference I notice between high-powered lawyers and doctors beyond their residency days...there is no let up. I've heard law be compared to a treadmill....you only go as fast as you run, the minute you slow down, the work slows down too. To keep it going, you must keep running....you cannot get off the treadmill.
 

Trismegistus4

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Originally posted by beyond all hope
If you compare the entry-level job in medicine, ie. residency, to a cubicle job, you will find 40-50 hours of slow-paced work to 60-80 hours of fast-paced terror (used to be 80-110 hours, before Bell/Zion). If you compare your uncle to someone who has been in the company for 20-30 years, I think you will find that most senior professionals don't work a full work week and have a lot of afternoons off.

Point taken about starting out in medicine vs. starting out as, say, an engineer or software developer, but your last sentence is where you go wrong. It's possible that a select few manage to climb the ladder into a sinecure-like position where their schedules become flexible, but it's the exception. There is no automatic path to self-employment in the corporate world as there is in medicine (if private practice is the path you choose.) The vast majority of employees, even the seniormost ones with 4, 5, or 6 weeks of vacation, continue to have to ask someone else's permission to use it. Their work life is still at the mercy of some boss. Contrast that with medicine, where, yes, med school and residency are difficult, and you're working for someone else when you first join a practice, but once you become a partner you are essentially self-employed.

To put it another way, it's true that if I go into medicine I won't be taking Wednesday afternoons off or scheduling vacation at my own discretion until I'm 45. But if I stay in my current line of work, I will never be doing those things.
 

DrKnowItAll

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Being a physician is a unique privilege. But after a while, for most people, it becomes just a job with the bottom line being how much you deposit in your account at the end of the month. I know a couple of people in my med school who are definitely regretting their decision. One is going for Derm because of the lifestyle. Another is going for path since he hated dealing with patients.

There are many truly unhappy doctors out there. The fact the depression and suicide rates are higher among physicians is no coincidence.

The key to being happy in medicine, or any other profession for that matter, is to truly love what you do. I know of many med students and doctors for whom going to med school was either the continuation of a family tradition or the fact that they couldn't do anything else with a respectable measure of success. These people are usually dull and lack imagination, creativity, and derive most of their self-esteem and sense of identity from being a doctor.

Let's bear in mind that you don't have to be smart or intelligent to be a physician. The really smart ones become nuclear physicists and mathematicians. Those with a mixture of smarts and intelligence go to law and business schools. Those who weigh heavier on the intelligent side become writers, poets, and artists. Those with a uniquely mechanical view of life become capable physicians. This is somewhat of a pre-requisite for becoming a sharp and successful physician. Questioning and intellectualizing things too much slows you way down in med school and beyond. You must be disciplined, efficient, willing to adhere to strict rules and regulations, and project an image of confidence and reason when in doubt and working under unreasonable circumstances.

Of course these are mere generalizations and a personal reflection on the profession but I've seen far too many people who have gone into medicine because they felt cornered and couldn't figure out what else to do. A good example of this is what one of my old friends told me after her first failed attempt to get into med school: "If I don't get into med school, I'm either going to kill myself or someone else".

I totally believed her when she said that. She had an extremely narrow view of the world and felt she was at a dead end. She is now a radiology resident.
 

The White Coat Investor

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Originally posted by Trismegistus4
My cubicle-dwelling, Dilbert-like job gives me 10 days of vacation a year, and I'm supposed to put in requests to use it at least a month in advance. Other than those 10 days (plus 2 personal holidays and the standard, fixed holidays) I am chained in my cubicle from 8-5 for 5 days a week.

Wow! 2 weeks vacation, only has to be asked for a month in advance (I just got done scheduling my Vacation for June....2005), 2 "personal holidays" AND standard, fixed holidays. (Is that like Christmas eve, cause I worked that, and Thanksgiving, oh I worked that too, and wait....what about President's Day, that must be standard.....hmmmm.... seemed like the hospital was still full of residents.) Chained in a cubicle for 45 whole hours a week! That must be tough. Anyone die in your cubicle with you? No? Anyone get told they have a terminal disease? Anyone in that cubicle of your suicidal, or homicidal? I'm having a hard time feeling compassion for your Dilbert-like existence. It seems your chief problem is dealing with the boredom. But hey, there's still 123 more hours a week you can do whatever you want.
 

The White Coat Investor

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Originally posted by DrKnowItAll
You must...project an image of confidence and reason when in doubt and working under unreasonable circumstances.

Amen brother, amen. Sometimes the most difficult task as a physician in training is to fake it until you make it.
 

Trismegistus4

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Originally posted by Desperado
Wow! 2 weeks vacation, only has to be asked for a month in advance (I just got done scheduling my Vacation for June....2005), 2 "personal holidays" AND standard, fixed holidays. (Is that like Christmas eve, cause I worked that, and Thanksgiving, oh I worked that too, and wait....what about President's Day, that must be standard.....hmmmm.... seemed like the hospital was still full of residents.) Chained in a cubicle for 45 whole hours a week! That must be tough. Anyone die in your cubicle with you? No? Anyone get told they have a terminal disease? Anyone in that cubicle of your suicidal, or homicidal? I'm having a hard time feeling compassion for your Dilbert-like existence. It seems your chief problem is dealing with the boredom. But hey, there's still 123 more hours a week you can do whatever you want.

1. I was trying to counter beyond all hope's statement that the Average Joe takes vacation whenever he wants. This is patently false.

2. Residency lasts only a few years, then one has the option of going into private practice. The fundamental terms of working life for a salaried corporate employee do not change over the course of their entire working life.

3. Is there anything wrong with citing boredom as a downside to a particular career? Is dealing with terminally ill people really so horrifying? Maybe those who portray medicine as so bad, and Dilbert as so much better, should have become Dilberts instead.

Everyone has a persecution complex to some degree when it comes to their job. Just as I wouldn't expect people to form an understanding of the corporate world based on what I say about it in my worst moments, I have a hard time believing that medicine is as bad as some around here say it is.
 
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