Bad Experience with shadowing a Podiatrist - Your thoughts...

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Jul 3, 2010
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- Okay everybody, I just got done shadowing a Podiatrist. She just finished her residency two years ago and has now joined another podiatrist in a private practice. The other Podiatrist has been practicing for 30+ years. I have shadowed both Podiatrist, but today when I shadowed the most recent graduate I was overwhelmed with the negative opinions she had on the profession.
- First, I just want to say that I was planning on applying to Podiatry Schools, and this experience has not completely dissuaded my plan on applying. However it has made me think... Her main complaints were (listed below)

- 1. I am only making 50k a year and I don't know how I am going to pay it back.

-2 This was a big mistake and I wish I was a nurse or PA. Apparently her husband is a nurse and is making 90K??

-3 I don't like doing surgery.

-4 I had a friend that went to med school after finishing the degree because he didn't want to continue with the profession.

-5 I don't get the prestige or respect that I want.

-6 If medicare cuts us off "We are screwed"

- These are just the highlights of our conversations. To be honest I felt like she was a really nice person, and nice to her patients. However, I get the impression she is EXTREMELY LAZY. From my understanding you have to work to make "more" money and I just feel like she doesn't want to put the effort in or she is just purely lazy.
- I have 100% respect for current students or Podiatrists, but the reason I am posting this thread in this forum "Podiatric Resdients and Physicians" is because I want your feelings and thoughts on why she has these concrete opinions and thoughts? Can you really come out of residency and only expect 50K? I know this not about the money, but the financial aspect does factor into the equation when choosing a profession. If you can make more money how come she is making such a low amount?
- I was just really thrown off by her attitude on the profession and it just seems like she really regrets it. Basically I just want to know if I do choose Podiatry how I can become successful and not fall into the trap of regretting my decision like she has. Any honest and real advice or examples of how you are doing in your practice would be great! I appreciate any input because I am just trying to be real and honest as I can be about my future. This is my life and I want to make the best decision with the best information. Thanks.

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My first experience shadowing was a bad one as well. He was just plainly put an ***-hole.

I shadowed another pod in another practice and he only had good things to say about the profession. He also seemed genuinely happy with his career.

Life is what you make it.
Her concerns are real. You also have to remember there are many people in any profession not content. There are many M.D. who are not happy with there choice. Many Nurses are unhappy with there choice.

How was your experience with the other DPM?
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I just want to know if I do choose Podiatry how I can become successful and not fall into the trap of regretting my decision like she has.

You can avoid regretting your decision by continuing to shadow and learn as much about the profession as possible. "Success" is how you define it, if it's financial you have to like what you do. If you regret what you do, you're not going to be successful.
- Thanks for your responses^^^

- To the contrary, the other doctor was absolutely happy and content with his practice. He has been working in it for 30+ years and he said he makes about 120k. He likes his work, and to me it is kind of amazing how he hired her?? Obviously she doesn't complain to him like she does to me or she would be "Screwed" like she said with medicare.
- However, I just talked to my parents about the experience and they were shocked. Not because of her response and life story, but shocked because I would even factor her opinion into my decision of applying or not.
- My dad who worked for G.M. and has a combined M.B.A. and Masters in Engineering really opened my eyes. He was like EVERY profession has a bell curve under which the people working fall under. You have the outliers at each spectrum. At the low end some make 50k, however at the high end some cane make 500k. You SHOULD NOT base your decision on one experience. <---- My parents are right. It is just the real world, it is her own fault if she is not "maximizing" her potential.
- I am not naive to think everything is rosey and everybody is making 500K. But I just wanted advice from Current Podiatrists to understand why here attitude and earning potential was so low, but it seems from my parents the only explanation is herself.
... From my understanding you have to work to make "more" money...
Your understanding is correct.^

If you work with the disgruntled pod again, ask where she did her residency, how she did in school, and how she found the job. If you get some BS about how her school failed her in the residency match, her residency didn't train her enough or get her good job options, and her job contract offer was a con... well, you might notice a theme there. Some people just like to sit on their recliner, think about what they deserve, and point fingers to tell you why they don't have what some of their peers do.

A lot of people who are "lucky" in life and their career tend to also be the ones who applied themselves in school/training and work hard on the job. Every profession has its "doom and gloom" types. Pod tends to have a lot since there are many people who jump into pod school on a whim after being rejected from med, DO, dent, etc. On the brighter side, it's a great field for those who apply themselves and work hard... you end up with top notch foot and ankle training and skills many patients, hospitals, practice groups, etc will demand.
-Thanks for your reply. I think I am seeing the bigger picture here - if anybody else that is a current resident or Pod and has an opinion on this issue or how they are doing in their respective practices that would be great to hear.
There are numerous factors behind career satisfaction. For example, this article discusses some of it:

I know that having some sense of control over my work is a huge factor for me, more so than money or prestige. I used to work for someone else at $60K + bonuses. Knowing my personality, it wouldn't have mattered if my salary had been triple that; I would still be dissatisfied working for someone else. Being able to decide on my own equipment, schedule, staff, etc. is huge.

The doc you met was just out of residency and working for someone else, whereas her boss made his own practice over 30 years. When you work for some other doc (especially one with less training) it's too easy to fall into the trap of "counting the other guy's money." You don't really see how much has gone into building that business.

When you've built your own practice, it's difficult to "hand it over to the new guy." You don't want to see the fruits of your labor just go to someone who hasn't earned it, but $50K/year fairly sucks. I can't speak for them, but perhaps she feels some sense of imbalance in the employer-employee relationship (whether justified or not)?

Feeling as though my work is meaningful to others is important too. The patients are my patients that were referred to me because of my reputation, and I'm helping them. There can be some sense of disconnect when you're simply commanded to see patients because your employer told you to.
- Yes, I can understand your viewpoint about being able to build a practice and the work it takes to do that over a lengthy period of time. However, I don't think she was bothered by the control aspect of practice management. To be honest, that was on the back burner of her complaints. Her main focus was (from what I could tell) the fact she is making 50K - when advertised by the APMA you would be making 6 figures. Again, I don't think she has the motivation or desire to really "work" to make the good money. But 50k out of residency is kind of a daunting figure...
- I appreciate your viewpoint, and again the reason I posted was to get assurance and opinions on the profession form other practicing Pods or residents. I will not make my decision based on one person's own journey.
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[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]July 15, 2010.​
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