CrownwithCoke

10+ Year Member
May 30, 2008
87
0
0
Status
Medical Student
So we all know that the general surgery residency is pretty intense and that even though theres that 80hr/wk rule a lot of residents end up still doing more than that off the clock. Surgery is something I would love to go into, and I dont mind working ridiculous hours during those 5 yrs of residency, but does it get any better after that? Do surgeons have a chance of having a decent lifestyle post residency? (And does the salary make up for the lack of lifestyle in any way). Is there more of a chance if you do a fellowship in something like colon-rectal or something?? Is it one of those things where its up to the person themself whether they want to work more hours or less?

(and i know the subspecialties like Uro and ENT are pretty lifestyle friendly, but im asking about general surgery and the fellowships you can do through that)

Anybody that has any knowledge on this please share! I promise I searched but only found a few really out-dated threads that only talked about residency years, none about post residency.

:thumbup:
 

Pilot Doc

SDN Angel
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2002
1,649
7
351
Visit site
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yes, you have MUCH more control over your life as an attending. You'll never mistake it for derm, but if you work 80 hours a week as an attending surgeon, it's ultimately because you choose to.

Lots of factors determine how hard you work as an attending. The primary ones are

a) income needs. The biggest determinant. On some level, the more you work, the more you make. Depends how much money you need to make.

b) location. If you have narrow geographic requirements you are subject to the whims of that market. This generally takes the form of making less per hour worked and/or less ability to shorten or tailor your hours. On the other hand, if you're willing to go where the jobs are - generally in small to medium size cities, you're on the right side of the supply/demand curve and have control of your practice.

c) case mix. As you note, a fellowship can potentially change your workload. The best for lifestyle is a practice that doesn't generate a lot of ER consults or serious post-op complications. If you can somehow get out of the gensurg call rotation, that's a big help as well. I'd say this is the hardest thing to tailor.

How this will change post-Obama, I have no idea. I don't think anyone else will before you have to make a decision.
 

Blitz2006

10+ Year Member
Nov 20, 2006
1,555
372
281
Status
Thanks Pilotdoc for the response, I too had these questions as the OP.

I hope Im not threadjacking, but to follow up on your response, is it true that finding a job as a general surgeon in large urban areas (eg, LA, NYC, Philly) is 'next to impossible', as some ppl have told me?

Thx,

Yes, you have MUCH more control over your life as an attending. You'll never mistake it for derm, but if you work 80 hours a week as an attending surgeon, it's ultimately because you choose to.

Lots of factors determine how hard you work as an attending. The primary ones are

a) income needs. The biggest determinant. On some level, the more you work, the more you make. Depends how much money you need to make.

b) location. If you have narrow geographic requirements you are subject to the whims of that market. This generally takes the form of making less per hour worked and/or less ability to shorten or tailor your hours. On the other hand, if you're willing to go where the jobs are - generally in small to medium size cities, you're on the right side of the supply/demand curve and have control of your practice.

c) case mix. As you note, a fellowship can potentially change your workload. The best for lifestyle is a practice that doesn't generate a lot of ER consults or serious post-op complications. If you can somehow get out of the gensurg call rotation, that's a big help as well. I'd say this is the hardest thing to tailor.

How this will change post-Obama, I have no idea. I don't think anyone else will before you have to make a decision.
 

Biscuit799

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2004
808
7
0
Status
No, it's definitely not anywhere near impossible. What you may have to do, however, is settle for a lower pay or a practice where you're busier, or your practice isn't what you want (i.e. you take more call, do more "bread and butter," or have to do more vascular/breast/wound care, etc). That being said, larger cities also need general surgeons, so it's definitely possible.

I heard an attending once say in regards to potential jobs, that you get two of the three: location, pay, practice style
 

Witch Doctor

Medical Student
Feb 9, 2010
57
0
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I worked with one general surgeon in a small-medium size city and he had a great lifestyle! He makes less than his partners (there is a group of 5 and they are employed by the hospital), but I think it's still about 250,000K. He works from 7AM (the PA's or medical students round for the surgeons), and is done by 3-4 every day. He has two kids and almost never misses a soccer game or tennis match. It is definitely possible to have a great life, but you have to find the right situation (group practice where call is less, smaller city, etc...).
 

JackADeli

10+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2008
2,635
13
0
South
Status
Non-Student
General Surgeon Lifestyle (i know i searched but couldn't find what I wanted)

...I dont mind working ridiculous hours during those 5 yrs of residency, but does it get any better after that? Do surgeons have a chance of having a decent lifestyle post residency? (And does the salary make up for the lack of lifestyle in any way). Is there more of a chance if you do a fellowship in something like colon-rectal or something?? Is it one of those things where its up to the person themself whether they want to work more hours or less?

....I promise I searched but only found a few really out-dated threads that only talked about residency years, none about post residency...
We all wish you the best of luck. Surgery is a tough road.

As for your search.... not sure what is going on with your search function, but.... you haven't asked anything that has not been asked, discussed, debated, answered numerous times. I am certain I read these same questions and discussions in just the last 6-8months.

Either way, best of luck. A career in medicine no matter what field will mostly depend on what you make of it.