gen surg to optho?

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by rocky12, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. rocky12

    rocky12 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    hi all,
    i'm currently a categorical gen surg intern. despite the misery, i have actually enjoyed my last few months on general surgery. i have always loved the acuity, taking care of very sick patients, and the breadth of it.
    an optho position has just recently landed in my lap out of nowhere, and i am considering it. it seems to me that you can do some amazing things for people. giving people sight is a pretty amazing thing.
    anyone done it? any thoughts out there?
    thanks. rocky 12
     
  2. Surgess

    Surgess Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1
    I am making the switch. So far I have ten interviews and two opportunities outside the match. I am very excited about it actually. I think ophthalmology is amazing; it is going to allow me to be the kind of physician I always wanted to be. I really enjoy patient contact and relationships and didn't feel that general surgery really gave me the chance to get to know my patient's the way that I would like. The culture in ophthalmology is also very pleasant, everyone seems so much happier than in gen surg. Don't get me wrong, I had a good time in gen surg and actually got great letters of recommendation from the attendings at the program that I just left ( hence the invites), but I just think ophtho suits my personality and lifestyle much better.
     
  3. carminosa

    carminosa Junior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just out of curiosity, how are you all finding positions outside of the match? Or falling into your lap? Word of mouth or from the SFmatch site?
     
  4. eye3md

    eye3md Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a former categorical general surgery resident, and now practicing vitreoretinal surgeon, I can easily suggest what to do. JUMP as quick as you can at any ophth position that falls in your lap.

    My general surgery years were also enjoyable. I LOVED IT!!!! As a matter of fact, I was depressed when I first started ophth because I missed the SICU and Trauma. You know the feeling. As a general surgeon, you feel there is almost nothing that can walk thru the door you can't handle. Well, ophth does not have that excitement but it has so much more. If you look at the big picture. I know several general surgeons who have confided in me they wish they were doing something else. I know one who may just give up. I do NOT know any ophth who have reached that point yet.

    Ophth gives you thankful pts, a good life with great hours, and interesting microscopic surgery. I love it. I work probably half the hours of most private practice general surgeons and I make a darn good living too. Mostly I work with elderly folks and they are so good to deal with. They are sweet and kind (usually), even when you are giving bad news.

    Trust me, do ophth. I have been where you are and I would make the choice for ophth over and over again.
     
  5. cryogen9

    cryogen9 Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    He's right. Better life, easier more grateful patients, better hours, nicer life especially a few years out. Residency ends in ophth. it never ends in gen surgery. You'' never regret the happy specialty--the eyes have it!!
     
  6. orbitsurgMD

    orbitsurgMD Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,920
    Likes Received:
    52
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I did Gen Surgery as an intern. Because I had a compulsory assignment as a military flight surgeon/GMO after that, I had some time to think. I had liked my ophthalmology clerkships and eventually did decide to apply. I did my residency after finishing my military obligations. I don't regret that decision.

    That being said, the life is different. You will spend relatively less time in the OR as an ophthalmologist than do most general surgeons. You will also treat less sick patients, on the whole, which is the nature of treating a generally elective and non-emergent caseload. It is a bad day when one of your postop patients goes to the unit. Most of them are supposed to go right home.

    A busy surgical schedule requires a busy office schedule. So you will have to expect to spend the majority of your practice time in the office seeing patients. Even in a highly streamlined practice setting, with a referral stream from a primary eyecare base of optometrists feeding you cases, you will still be committed to substantial office time: true for retina, general, peds, plastics, glaucoma and even refractive. Every cataract case needs a preop visit (or two), and usually a one-day, one week and one month followup, and sometimes a three-month followup. So you can see that the numbers of office encounters is a significant multiple of the numbers of surgeries you do. Ophthalmologists typically do many more surgeries in a given day than do most general surgeons (scopes and simple breast biopsies excepted), so the office load is proportionally greater. A busy office schedule for a single doctor can exceed 50 patients a day. Doing that well requires trained support staff, which costs money. Office overhead is a significant cost to ophthalmology practice.

    The hours are definitely easier, so is the call.

    Are patients grateful? Probably. Most are having scheduled procedures and are not seriously ill as are many general surgery patients. Cataract surgery still has a "wow" factor, although generally patient expectations have been steadily rising and in some places have reached nearly the level of those for refractive procedures. And this while reimbursement from Medicare for cataract extraction and lens implant has declined sharply. So stress is a little greater.
     

Share This Page