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Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by drmoon, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member
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    I am not intending to demean or otherwise put down ANY podiatry student or DPM. Like one of these posters said, many of his/her classmates are perfectly intelligent, capable individuals. They just made a very poor choice in life.
     
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  3. efs

    efs SDN Advisor
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    Or more rightly, they have made what you have decided is a bad choice.

    As much as you go on, can you deny that there are podiatrists who are happy with their profession?
     
  4. Where I live the majority of podiatrists are happy. People don't question whether or not they are real doctors. Physical therapists state that they need to follow the podiatrists orders and they refer to them as physicians.
     
  5. sandj9397

    sandj9397 Member
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    how can you make a statement like that unless there are three podiatrists in your area. You are generalizing. You heard a PT call pods physicians and you somehow know the majority of pods in your area are happy? And therefore you cannot understand dr moon's negativity! Have you done any research into the profession and its apparent problems?
     
  6. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by sandj9397:
    <strong>how can you make a statement like that unless there are three podiatrists in your area. You are generalizing. You heard a PT call pods physicians and you somehow know the majority of pods in your area are happy? And therefore you cannot understand dr moon's negativity! Have you done any research into the profession and its apparent problems?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">We have more than 3 pods in our area. I never said that their weren't any problems. I just said that many of them are happy. You are generalizing my statements.
     
  7. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member
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    Of course there are podiatrists who are happy. There are garbage men who are happy, too.

    I suspected that efs would have a problem with my post. You'll note that he is a student and I am a practicing podiatrist. If I were him, I'd be more positive as well.

    In a nutshell, podiatry is what you make of it. If you expect to have a job when you finish your residency you'd better think again. If you are like most pod students who just imagine that everything will work out fine because there are "so many" podiatrists who have made it, you'd better think again. Pod students are generally under the delusional thinking that they are going to finish with a doctorate degree and there MUST be a market for this!! "Geez. I'm a doctor. Doctor's make a lot of money and they get respect". Think again. And this is all assuming that you're not going to have a chip on your shoulder like I do (and many others) who feel the sting of being a "pseudo doctor" nearly every day. If you are truly thick skinned (and I mean TRULY THICK SKINNED), and you don't mind all of the inequities and downright discrimination, then you might have a fighting chance to make a living. But realize that unless you are surgically trained, you are completely screwed. And, even if you do get surgical training, there is LESS than a guarantee that you won't be seriously struggling for a good number of years before you even break even. I know it sounds impossible, but it is frighteningly possible.

    Podiatry is about 95% business and 5% being a podiatrist. Basically, you can have the absolute best podiatry training available, but if you don't know what you're doing and are not willing to put yourself further into debt, you might as well have done one of the worthless, crappy residencies that I, and many before me, were forced to endure. And, I'm afraid with the appalling decline in applicants, podiatry is going to be viewed even more suspiciously in the future. Not to mention that the schools are going to HAVE TO lower their admission standards (and don't tell me they aren't!) which will produce an even greater number of inept podiatrists, which in turn will only reflect poorly on the profession.

    Students need to be aware of <a href="http://www.podiaryforum.com" target="_blank">www.podiaryforum.com</a> and surf backwards a couple of years to see what everyone is talking about. You can literally click on ANY page and find a slew of negative discussion. Also, look up "podiatry bytes" on a search engine for an even more shocking expose' on podiatry. Truly frightening.

    Of course you can make it, but don't you think that all the work that you put into getting in to school (though, there isn't much in terms of admission criteria anymore), the huge amount of time, effort and money you invested, and all of the other untold sacrifices you made should at least insure you a FREAKIN' JOB!!!!!?????? PEOPLE! MD's and DO's have jobs when they finish their training!!!!! DPM's have debt!!!!!!
     
  8. ussdfiant

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    <a href="http://www.angelfire.com/on/podiatry/" target="_blank">Here is the link for Podiatry Bytes</a> that Dr. Moon referred to in the above post. It gives another point of view of podiatry. It was a wake up call to me as I really only had info from the schools.
     
  9. vixen

    vixen I like members
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    whoa, that sucks you're in a profession that you truly hate dr.moon...are you still in it? If you are, why? I don't understand why people would keep comparing the two (dpm vs md/do)...dpm's are different and should have a realistic view of what they're entering into, but is it really that bad? You make it seem like this profession is on its way out the door, and soon. BTW, I'm not a med or pod student (I'm predental! :D ), but just curious as to why they get such a bad rap.
     
  10. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member
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    Hey, Simseema 17

    Trust me. It sucks when you have little respect or interest in your career. Particularly when you had a dream for many years to become a doctor, spent untold hours preparing for admission, spent even more hours going through the exams and other assorted hoops, almost had a nervous breakdown doing a one year residency while waiting tables to supplement your embarassing podiatry intern stipend of 10k and now feel less than a doctor because you're only really trained to treat thickened toenails, thickened calluses, ingrowns, warts and sprained ankles (I only did a one year "residency", which doesn't really prepare you for much. There are some who did 2 or 3 years and at least got some surgical training).

    I've wanted to be a physician since 1984. I was on my own at age 16 and had a tough time getting through college because I had to work and had no support. My grades were decent (3.2) and my MCAT's in 1994 were ok (25.5), but back then it wasn't good enough for MD or DO school. I didn't really research podiatry enough and believed everything that the schools told me. There were books in the book stores that also projected a good future. So, even though I had some doubts as to the legitimacy of a DPM degree, I applied to all 7 schools and, lo and behold, got accepted to all 7!! THAT should have told me something!

    I don't have any debt from my undergrad days (UCLA) and I have about 160k debt from pod school. I'm choosing to look at my pod experience as if I went to a top undergrad college where I had to take out loans. Obviously, I got a lot of good experience and basically took the same courses that an MD or DO student takes in the first two years.

    I'm 40, but if I can live my dream for one week it would be worth it.
     
  11. vixen

    vixen I like members
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    wow, what a story...good luck to you :)
     
  12. Ix8920

    Ix8920 New Member

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    Dr. Moon,

    I am quite shocked about how immensely dissatisfied you are with both your job and the field of Podiatry on the whole...I mean after going through all that training, putting in all those hours, paying all that money, can't you find at least SOMETHING to be happy about as a Podiatrist--or is your life really just a living hell on a day-to-day basis? I hope everything works out for you somehow because I can't imagine putting in all that time and effort to come out to a profession that totally sucks in your opinion.

    I've got a few other questions for you if you don't mind. Since you were open about how much you are in debt from Podiatry school, would you care to share with us what your salary was right out of Podiatry school and what it currently is. Also, how many hours/week do you work. Do you work in a private practice, in a hospital? Next, how much do you really get questioned about whether you are really a doctor or not, and how much do other allied health professionals really put you down on a week-to-week basis for not being a "real" doctor from what you say?

    Thanks for any input!
    Ix8920
     
  13. efs

    efs SDN Advisor
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    Read the podiatry bytes website. But read it with the same crital eye the you would read anything anything else with. The author does have some good points to make, but he also takes quite a bit of license in his imaginary (fictitional) accounts. Read the podiatry forum. Consider who might be posting and why they might make the statements they do. Unfortunately there are only a limited number of people that post there and it is not the easiest format to see who is saying what. (Many anonymous posts, cross-posting, posting under multiple names, etc.) Also take a look at podiatry online, which seems to be more mainstream. Most people there do include their names and e-mails so you might find some other references and resources. Take a look at the podaitry management site, there is a lot of good stuff there as well.

    My bottom line is that you should do your homework before you jump into anything.
     
  14. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member
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    Hey IX 8920

    That screen name really has a good ring to it!

    I definitely do not "live in Hell" on a day to day basis! And, I don't hate all of podiatry. And, to be fair with efs (who is defending podiatry with every last breath), I cannot speak for everyone. I love helping my patients, but most of what I see is calluses and nails. This can become rather tiresome and prompt one to wonder if they really are a doctor.

    BUT, all I can tell you is that I was very concerned during my entire schooling and training because I felt as though we weren't really being trained as physicians (as I saw it). The first two years are very close and challenging. After that, you kind of cruise compared with DO's and MD students. That's when it started really getting to me.

    I have wanted to be a doctor since 1984 and, though it was incredibly difficult, I prepared myself the best way I knew how and had some successes and some near successes. I literally DREAMED of being a doctor. I thought that it was the best possible job in the world and that I had some talents that could translate. Like I said before my grades were good, but not stellar (3.2 UCLA, 25.5 MCAT). This was in 1994 and med schools were a lot more competitive. Needless to say, I didn't even get interviewed at an MD or DO school. I was left with podiatry, which at the time I thought was a perfectly viable alternative. It is an alternative, but it wasn't for me.

    Truthfully, I don't get discriminated by my patients (at all) or my staff. But I do feel it in public when I meet people or other doctors. Some people just kind of look at you sideways and go "ohh???" like, "Hmmm....you guys are doctors, right?" Sometimes people are really impressed. My feeling is that they don't know the difference between a DPM and MD. I've met a lot of intelligent people who think that DPM's are MD's. Frankly, the feeling rests mostly with me. I just don't feel like I've gone through adequate training to call myself a physician. I don't feel like I have the right to "join the club" (in my mind). Like, I've always enjoyed reading the New England Journal of Medicine and other periodicals and enjoy watching TV shows about medicince, etc. But, as a podiatrist, I just don't feel that I'm at that level. It's almost as if I've gone about 75% of the way, but got slowed down starting in my 3rd year.

    I've experienced many things that made me feel embarassed or "less than a doctor". When I was at CCPM (1994-97) a lot of podiatry students were envious of the med students at UCSF and Stanford. I will tell you without hesitation that ANY of us would have traded places in a second. And, I DO NOT BELIEVE ANY student who states that they'd rather be in a podiatry school than, say, Stanford Medical School. That's BS. I volunteered along with some other pod students to go to a homeless shelter in S.F.. Well, there were also UCSF med students there. What was really embarassing was that the UCSF students were seeing patients for EVERYTHING like coughs, headaches, diabetes, depression, etc.. EVERYTHING. We were put in a corner (no lie, a corner away from everyone) and were responsible for cutting the @$#%ing toenails of all of these homeless people!! I was really mortified. I know that podiatrists cut nails, but it really hit home when I was watching the other "real" medical students doing a whole variety of things while we were cutting stinking toenails. I felt as though our paths would never cross again. I also felt like they were going on a magical journey while we were embarking on some sort of kindergarten odyssey.

    That's just one example. There are so many more.

    You also wanted to know about my income. First, I'll tell you that it almost doesn't matter what type of residency you do in terms of how much money you're going to make when you get out. You can ask around, but most DPM's (the vast majority) make most of their money on the basics. A big factor is going to be if you are working with someone or are trying to start out on your own. Unless you have someone funding you, starting out on your own is next to impossible. You may not see a profit for several years and there is the very real possibility that you will go bankrupt. What will probably happen is that you'll work for another DPM seeing patients in nursing homes and doing house calls. Very inglorious work. And it doesn't pay very well. You migh make about 40k doing this. The chances of working in a hospital are about zero. There just aren't any positions like this. I think Kaiser hires about one to two pods a year and you have to do their residency to be considered.

    Hardly anyone has surgery as the primary focus of their practice. And, if you don't do at least one year of a PSR, you are never going to get enough training or feel comfortable enough to do ANY kind of surgery. The average salary for a one year trained DPM is less than 40k. I want you to know that this figure is totally incompatible with life. And, it was taken from (I believe) Podiatry Management or another periodical. I'm not making this up. Most MD or DO residents make more than this. You will simply not be able to survive on this type of income. Your student loans alone are going to run as high as $1700 per month. And, if you are going to be an independent contractor (as most DPM's are), then you're going to have to pay an additional 15% self employment tax. If you sit down and work it out, you'll find that you will have negative numbers at some point.

    Most DPM's have to fend for themselves when they finish. It's a lot like being a chiropractor. There will be essentially NO JOBS when you finish your residency. I WILL GUARANTEE THAT THERE WILL BE NO REAL JOBS IF YOU ONLY DO A ONE YEAR RESIDENCY. The only job offers you will encounter will be from unscrupulous DPM's who want to break your back by sending you to nursing homes to cut endless pounds of nails. This is a fact. You will be incredibly lucky to make 50k doing this. And don't count on them paying for anything (taxes, insurance, etc.). I have kept in touch with 5 of my classmates and only one of them is making close to 60k. And he has two kids and a wife. He also got paid 10k for his PPMR at L.A. County (which doesn't exist anymore) and got paid NOTHING for a one year PSR in Arizona. You will never hear of such BS in DO or MD school. The other four friends, who have completed at least a two year or three year residency are making less than 50k and they've been out for one to one and a half years. Out of all 5 (all 5, mind you) only ONE has done a surgery! And that person has only done ONE surgery!!! You can't get boarded with those kinds of numbers.

    I am the anomaly of anomalies. I fell into an extremely busy clinic in Southern California and I've made 6 figures for the last two years. It's great money, but believe me, it's beyond the exception. Everything worked out perfectly for me. And I haven't done a single surgery. Making money in podiatry is not about surgery. It's about seeing a lot of patients.

    Isn't it both scary and ironic, though, that I'm planning on leaving and going back to medical school?? I just don't care about money. I want to be happy and being a fully trained physician is the only thing I can come up with (as far as a career....my girlfriend makes me happy).

    I'll finish by saying that there are a lot of happy DPM's. Most of them, though, have been out for some time now and do not have the heinous debt or obstructions that a lot of current grads face. It's not an impossible task, but you have to know that it's going to be up to you. Completely. You might get lucky, but don't count it. Your best bet is to find an area in the U.S. that both needs a podiatrist and does not have a podiatrist within 300 miles of where you live.

    Good luck
     
  15. Charlieisadope

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    Dr. Moon is completely right on the money!!!!!! I am a former POD student at a POD/DO institution, and I totally agree with his insight. I was swayed by the Podiatry sales pitch of "having" a life while being respected as a Doctor. But I found it not to be truly the case. I decided to go the MD route and I have no regrets whatsoever. As a POD I always felt as a pseudo medical student even though we were taking the same courses with the DO students!! We had rotationss with DO and MD students, the preceptors pretty much held back when teaching us medicine, after all, why should a POD student be familiar with pulmonary hypertension??? Granted, some of the DOs and MDs were very kind to us but they have no idea what to expect from us. It is not really their fault, most are not really familiar with Podiatry and they don't feel the need to bother teaching stuff we will never apply anyway. And let's not get started with the CORE rotations, how many ankle sprains and nail procedures or blocks can you do without getting seriously bored??? The VA where I was doing my CORE, there was a whole afternoon every week for just nail trimming!! Of course it's called "palliative foot care"! The nail tech could do the same job without 4 years of college and 3 years of pod school!!
    Then I find out one of my preceptors was not allowed to amputate a toe at the local hospital!!! It just made me realize how isolated and what an overkill POD school is. In the end PODs are seriously curtailed. PAs have a wider scope of practice than any POD and with less years of training.
    When I inquired about transferring to a DO or MD program, Admissions refused to accept my basic science courses. They said I would have to do it all over again even though I had good grades.
    How about those POD boards?? Can't say they are easy but in comparison to an actual USMLE it is limited in real medicine. You would have to seriously be the bottom of the barrel to fail the POD boards!!!!
    In the end I was beyond miserable being in a field so rigidly structured and with limited scope of practice. This is my own personal opinion of course. I have friends who are PODs and they are not suffering that much!
    There were a couple of my former classmates who were nutty about Podiatry but for the most part most wished they had gone into and MD or DO program or Dentistry. They just happened to be stuck with a large debt not to mention married with children!!
    So yes Dr. Moon, I appreciate your honesty, thanks for your story. You are not too old to change careers, the Armed Forces would pay for your DO/MD or DDS program you know. Peace.
     

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