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EM Lifestyle

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by wdk, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. wdk

    wdk

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    I am a 3rd year student comtemplating a career in EM. I'm quite certain that I'd enjoy the work but am having a hard time determining:

    1) whether or not shiftwork would be beneficial or disruptive to family life.

    2) what EM physicians do 20+ years into their profession? Do you they continue to pull overnight shifts, work only days, or have other responsibilities?

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated...
     
  2. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    The answer to all of your questions is yes.
     
  3. roja

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    You should search the forum. This has been awnsered many times and there is lots of good information about alot of these concerns. also search under burnout.

    In essense, EM physicians do what all other MD's do in 20 years- they continue practicing. I see IM, FP, Surgeons, GYN's all 20 years into practice and still taking call, coming in in the middle of the night, etc. Its what youd o in medicine.
     
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  4. VeerTheTIGuy

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    I know a ER doc back home who's currently in his 30th year practicing EM, and still going strong. Sure he sometimes gives up some of his shifts to the younger docs, but only so he can go sailing on his yacht.:cool:
     
  5. malingering

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    Shift work can be a little disruptive, but I'd posit that overall, EM is less intrusive into one's life and family than most other specialities. You won't get paged, and each shift has a pretty definite end-point, so you can plan things. This isn't the case at all in internal med or surg, or even in a clinic-based practice. Then again, I'm totally biased.
     
  6. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member
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    Some advice I heard when I was a medical student kind of went along this line. "If you want to know whether EM is for you, then pick the busiest ER you can find, throw yourself into the chaos and then convince yourself you can do this for the rest of you working life." There is some reality to this.

    Here's the reality. A EM shift is what it is and it won't change. The patients will always be diverse, your pods will always be full, it will always be nonstop, and there will always be more shifts to work. You can't just wake up one day and say, "Hey, I'd like to end office hours @ 3pm today." Sure you'll have time off, but in the end, the very nature of the shifts we do are unchanging and ironically can be very monotonous despite the variety we see.

    Going into EM you should realize shift work is what you want to do, and that you are going to stick to it. I mean sure, you can design a diverse career that limits your shifts, but you will always need to do shift work unless you totally leave the ED and branch out into other realms (cruise ship medicine, urgent care, full time toxicologist, administration). Truth is, few of us will branch out. The reason is simply because WORK = ED shifts = where most will be.

    With this said, however, keep in mind, there is a renissaince of Emergency Medicine on the horizon. Newer subsepcialties and fields of interests are opening up. There is greater demand for something more than ED shift work. EM physicians are increasing in number rapidly. On the horizon, you will be surprised at the different routes that will be available. Just don't count on it to happen in the next 5 years though.
     
  7. AlphaQUp

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    My father is an ER physician.

    1. It is sometimes. Shifts vary between 12 hrs, 10 hrs, and 8 hrs long - days, nights, weekends, holidays, you name it. I personally can't handle having such an odd-ball sleep schedule.

    2. Same as the previous years. Nights, weekends, blah blah. He turns 50 this year and has cut back to about 3 days/wk however. He's going to retire in the next 5-8 years I believe.
     
  8. ER-ER-Oh

    ER-ER-Oh Member
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    It always makes me laugh when I hear med students talking about the "lifestyle" of EM. Shiftwork is difficult in the ED because you're always behind, never on top of everything you'd like to be on top of.

    But this is also the beauty of EM; you're never going to totally master it, which, to me, makes it always challenging. It's not just the medicine, but the impossibility of managing it as well as you imagine you can. That being said, it's a hell of a lot easier than my previous life when I had a business repairing ships. We often worked 60 to 90 days in a row, in the rain, in the snow, and a lot of the time diving in freezing, black New York harbor in the middle of the night to assess the damage to some ship that banged into another.

    To do EM you absolutely must love the chaos, the frenetic pace, and the crazy people we encounter. I've found that the frustration I feel after seeing the same drunks, the same 29 year old nuts who come in for the umpteenth time with chest pain, and the strung out drug seekers is completely undone by the thrill of the guy I did a cricothyroidotomy on, the kid I tubed in status, the 8 traumas I did on my own because there were 15 MVC's in a two hour period and we were stretched to the max. The monotony is always overturned by the drama, and the unappreciative are always overshadowed by the smile of a sick child's mother when they find there's nothing seriously wrong.
     
  9. DocYuki

    DocYuki The Gamer Student
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    Excellent post. Input like this is appreciated a lot by us medical school kids.

    Honest, Informative, well thought-out. :)
     
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  10. skowly

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    this sums up exactly why I want to do EM. The lifestyle is nice, but it's the work that attracts me.
     

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