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Having doubts and need advice....

stressedpremedd

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  1. Pre-Medical
    Currently a senior finishing up undergrad and need some advice (I wouldn't be applying until next year due to unfinished prerequisites). I've wanted to be a doctor pretty much forever, and the more I shadow, the more I fall in love with the profession. However, I've also become more and more discouraged by the lifestyle and sacrifices that come with it. I know people say that finding a work-life balance is possible depending on how you prioritize, but I also think that's a little idealistic, especially once you get to residency. I know I would do well in medical school, and I love the science behind medicine and learning at a high level, but I don't know that I really feel like it's worth sacrificing time spent with my fiancee and our future family anymore. Am I just scaring myself out of medicine? Is it actually more manageable/less time consuming than it's been made out to be? Or is it really so time consuming that if family is my priority, I should look at a career as an NP instead for a less demanding pathway? I've gone back and forth on this a lot and I could really just use some input from other people who have either been in similar situations or who could give me a realistic view (because shadowing an attending isn't a great representation of the next ten years)

    Edit: I know that at the attending level it's really specialty-specific, but I guess my fear is burning out and feeling a lot of regret before I get there
     
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    jmetaller

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      LMAO I was literally just about to make this thread and title it the same thing and post the exact same concerns. At least I can watch it now without taking any of the heat :)

      Anyways I've been in the same place. I got into medicine because I got sick. I spent years of my life reading immunology and bacteriology texts and literature for fun and trying to understand my disease process. I can't imagine anything I'd rather do with my work day than pathology. Then in writing my essays this application cycle I had to write about my experience as a musician so many times I ended up picking the guitar up again and falling in love with it all over again. I have no aspirations to do it full time but would love to get back into the swing of being half decent, song writing, recording, rehearsing and performing. I'm starting to wonder if medicine is going to take more than I'm willing to let go or if I'm just blowing things out of proportion because literally everyone who ever had a job ever seems to complain about it whether they're working 30 hours a week teaching 8th graders or a surgical resident. I have the same fears that I can keep gathering clinical experience but it's not going to be the same.
       
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      lalalallala

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      Feb 14, 2019
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        Currently a senior finishing up undergrad and need some advice (I wouldn't be applying until next year due to unfinished prerequisites). I've wanted to be a doctor pretty much forever, and the more I shadow, the more I fall in love with the profession. However, I've also become more and more discouraged by the lifestyle and sacrifices that come with it. I know people say that finding a work-life balance is possible depending on how you prioritize, but I also think that's a little idealistic, especially once you get to residency. I know I would do well in medical school, and I love the science behind medicine and learning at a high level, but I don't know that I really feel like it's worth sacrificing time spent with my fiancee and our future family anymore. Am I just scaring myself out of medicine? Is it actually more manageable/less time consuming than it's been made out to be? Or is it really so time consuming that if family is my priority, I should look at a career as an NP instead for a less demanding pathway? I've gone back and forth on this a lot and I could really just use some input from other people who have either been in similar situations or who could give me a realistic view (because shadowing an attending isn't a great representation of the next ten years)

        I know pediatricians who work three days a week. I know ER doctors who two to three days a week 8 hr shifts. I know plastic surgeons who are home by 3pm every day. It is possible to have a life in most specialities but it will be more difficult in medical school and residency than after assuming you pursue a job after residency that would maximize your work/life balance (meaning you'll probably get paid less). I know NPs who work 50-60 hours a week and others who work 25-30. Some of it definitely depends on the job you pick after training. Certainly as an NP the training will be lighter than med school + residency.

        I think the important factors are what kind of speciality are you interested in and what would you be happy doing - would you be happy as an NP or would you always wish you had gone to medical school? Say you really want to be an ER doc - is it enough for you to know that when you finish training you can get a job working 3 days a week so you can have a family and relaxation time too? Or are the sacrifices to get to that point at too high of a cost?
         
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        Goro

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          Currently a senior finishing up undergrad and need some advice (I wouldn't be applying until next year due to unfinished prerequisites). I've wanted to be a doctor pretty much forever, and the more I shadow, the more I fall in love with the profession. However, I've also become more and more discouraged by the lifestyle and sacrifices that come with it. I know people say that finding a work-life balance is possible depending on how you prioritize, but I also think that's a little idealistic, especially once you get to residency. I know I would do well in medical school, and I love the science behind medicine and learning at a high level, but I don't know that I really feel like it's worth sacrificing time spent with my fiancee and our future family anymore. Am I just scaring myself out of medicine? Is it actually more manageable/less time consuming than it's been made out to be? Or is it really so time consuming that if family is my priority, I should look at a career as an NP instead for a less demanding pathway? I've gone back and forth on this a lot and I could really just use some input from other people who have either been in similar situations or who could give me a realistic view (because shadowing an attending isn't a great representation of the next ten years)

          Edit: I know that at the attending level it's really specialty-specific, but I guess my fear is burning out and feeling a lot of regret before I get there
          There's no law that say you have to go to med school at age 21. Take your gap year, work, and then see what your heart tells you 1-2 years from now. Med schools won't be going anywhere.
           
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          jmetaller

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            " is it enough for you to know that when you finish training you can get a job working 3 days a week so you can have a family and relaxation time too?"

            Is that common though? I used to think Dr's had a lot of flexibility to make choices about their lives. But lately I've been hearing more and more people say it only get's worse after residency. I'm sure it's not true for everyone. But is it really an expectation that you can aim to work a comfortable schedule, or is that just for the luckiest of the bunch?
             
            A lot of it has to do with mindset. A lot of people have this mindset that they cannot enjoy their lives or hold a meaningful relationship until they reach a certain point in their career. There are also some people that can’t as much as enjoy a walk on the beach properly because they constantly have an anxious thought wiring in their brain such as “what if I fail my test this week?” or “what if my PI hates me?”. The older I get, the more I realize that the ability to relax and step away from the situation for a minute and come back with a fresh mind is a skill that needs to be developed.
             
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            IMGASMD

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              " is it enough for you to know that when you finish training you can get a job working 3 days a week so you can have a family and relaxation time too?"

              Is that common though? I used to think Dr's had a lot of flexibility to make choices about their lives. But lately I've been hearing more and more people say it only get's worse after residency. I'm sure it's not true for everyone. But is it really an expectation that you can aim to work a comfortable schedule, or is that just for the luckiest of the bunch?

              Depends how much you want to make, speciality and the location.
              Same amount of work in NYC will get paid less than let’s say Indianapolis. So you’d have to work much more in NYC to have certain standard of living.
              If you do primary care, you’ll have to see more patients than let’s say ortho.
              So, a lot of factors than just say more comfortable or flexible than other professions.
               
              A lot of it has to do with mindset. A lot of people have this mindset that they cannot enjoy their lives or hold a meaningful relationship until they reach a certain point in their career. There are also some people that can’t as much as enjoy a walk on the beach properly because they constantly have an anxious thought wiring in their brain such as “what if I fail my test this week?” or “what if my PI hates me?”. The older I get, the more I realize that the ability to relax and step away from the situation for a minute and come back with a fresh mind is a skill that needs to be developed.
              I know career wise and academically I can provide excellent relaxation advice:

              Aim low, that way if you hit high you are happy and if you hit low you are not disappointed. This leaves me always happy and confident with my performance.
               
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              I know career wise and academically I can provide excellent relaxation advice:

              Aim low, that way if you hit high you are happy and if you hit low you are not disappointed. This leaves me always happy and confident with my performance.

              If you aim low, you’ll perform low.

              Instead, aim high and try your best. Give it your full potential but still have happy things to enjoy in life. And have the emotional maturity to understand that even if you don’t get into the top medical school or residency, then it’s not the end of the world
               
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              If you aim low, you’ll perform low.

              Instead, aim high and try your best. Give it your full potential but still have happy things to enjoy in life. And have the emotional maturity to understand that even if you don’t get into the top medical school or residency, then it’s not the end of the world
              Sorry,I meant to do your best but
              If you aim low, you’ll perform low.

              Instead, aim high and try your best. Give it your full potential but still have happy things to enjoy in life. And have the emotional maturity to understand that even if you don’t get into the top medical school or residency, then it’s not the end of the world
              Let me rephrase: Set your baseline expectations for yourself at the minimum you would find satisfactory. Try as hard as you normally would, but don’t stress because you know you are going to pass your expectations of yourself. That way, if you do better than you expected out of yourself, you are happier.
               

              Peter Pan.

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                I’m just scared about residency and those mad hours. The doctors I’ve shadowed haven’t had issues with overworking or not having time with family. But they’ve all said residency can be a killer.
                 
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                I’m just scared about residency and those made hours. The doctors I’ve shadowed haven’t had issues with overworking or not having time with family. But they’ve all said residency can be a killer.

                I’ve heard there has been quite an ACGME crackdown in recent years on making sure programs are not overworking their residents.

                So much so that the American Association of Neurological Surgery and other neurosurge organizations literally wrote/compiled a textbook on how much they hate it:

                https://www.aans.org/pdf/Legislative/Neurosurgery Duty Hours Letter to ACGME 011416.pdf
                 
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                lalalallala

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                Feb 14, 2019
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                  " is it enough for you to know that when you finish training you can get a job working 3 days a week so you can have a family and relaxation time too?"

                  Is that common though? I used to think Dr's had a lot of flexibility to make choices about their lives. But lately I've been hearing more and more people say it only get's worse after residency. I'm sure it's not true for everyone. But is it really an expectation that you can aim to work a comfortable schedule, or is that just for the luckiest of the bunch?

                  I think that if you make it a priority and pick a speciality that allows for it then it is definitely possible to have a comfortable schedule. But if you are deep in debt and have a family to support picking a job where you don't have to work that much may not seem like an option because of the decreased pay for less work.

                  I've heard so many times that if you are worried about work/life balance then you shouldn't be a doctor etc. I think the younger generations increasingly want to have it all - want to be able to be present parents to their children - and want to be able to have a career. I plan to keep following my dream - which I know is medicine - and when I have to make sacrifices to get that work/life balance I will - but I still believe it is possible so long as you make your goals reasonable.
                   

                  riverrunner

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                    Residency is a finite block of time that will pass. You can be working toward something you want to do (as a resident), or spend those years doing something else entirely, and maybe end up doing something you don't find as rewarding as medicine. This is entirely subjective.

                    Keeping the end game in mind is what makes residency worth doing. And it's where you learn to do the thing you'll do for the rest of your life. Residents soak up everything they can, knowing at the end of their term, they will be 100% responsible for delivering excellent patient care. It's not meant to be a punishment.
                     
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                    stressedpremedd

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                    May 18, 2018
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                    1. Pre-Medical
                      "I've heard so many times that if you are worried about work/life balance then you shouldn't be a doctor etc. I think the younger generations increasingly want to have it all - want to be able to be present parents to their children - and want to be able to have a career. I plan to keep following my dream - which I know is medicine - and when I have to make sacrifices to get that work/life balance I will - but I still believe it is possible so long as you make your goals reasonable."

                      I guess what I'm wondering is what would you consider a reasonable goal vs an unrealistic goal when it comes to finding a balance?
                       

                      lalalallala

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                      Feb 14, 2019
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                        "I've heard so many times that if you are worried about work/life balance then you shouldn't be a doctor etc. I think the younger generations increasingly want to have it all - want to be able to be present parents to their children - and want to be able to have a career. I plan to keep following my dream - which I know is medicine - and when I have to make sacrifices to get that work/life balance I will - but I still believe it is possible so long as you make your goals reasonable."

                        I guess what I'm wondering is what would you consider a reasonable goal vs an unrealistic goal when it comes to finding a balance?

                        I guess I think a realistic goal for me is like: I know that an orthopedic surgery residency will be hard so I will wait to have a family, but after that residency I will work in a community hospital where I know (from doctors I know that work there) that I can be home at night and on the weekends to be with my family and I can set my own priorities some of how many patients I am willing to see. I know that I likely won't make it to every single one of my kid's games or be there as soon as they get home from school - but I will be home by dinner and I'll make sure I'm at the big games.

                        For me - an unrealistic goal with how much my family and friends and having relaxation time matters to me would be - I want to be the chief of orthopedic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery and I want to be publishing research in the big journals. For me - what I would have to give up to get there would be at too high of a cost - but my realistic goal is good enough for me.

                        Everyone's idea of what is realistic and what they are willing to sacrifice is different. Some people will disagree with me that my realistic goal is actually realistic. I believe that it is because I have seen it first hand from those close to me. What I try to do is seek out people who are living the sort of life that I want to live and talk to them about how they make it possible and prioritize their values
                         
                        D

                        deleted804295

                          Currently a senior finishing up undergrad and need some advice (I wouldn't be applying until next year due to unfinished prerequisites). I've wanted to be a doctor pretty much forever, and the more I shadow, the more I fall in love with the profession. However, I've also become more and more discouraged by the lifestyle and sacrifices that come with it. I know people say that finding a work-life balance is possible depending on how you prioritize, but I also think that's a little idealistic, especially once you get to residency. I know I would do well in medical school, and I love the science behind medicine and learning at a high level, but I don't know that I really feel like it's worth sacrificing time spent with my fiancee and our future family anymore. Am I just scaring myself out of medicine? Is it actually more manageable/less time consuming than it's been made out to be? Or is it really so time consuming that if family is my priority, I should look at a career as an NP instead for a less demanding pathway? I've gone back and forth on this a lot and I could really just use some input from other people who have either been in similar situations or who could give me a realistic view (because shadowing an attending isn't a great representation of the next ten years)

                          Edit: I know that at the attending level it's really specialty-specific, but I guess my fear is burning out and feeling a lot of regret before I get there
                          I recommend watching Dr. Jenny Le's videos on YouTube. She shows that it's very possible to have a work-life balance and she had her first child in medical school. Don't ditch medicine because of hearsay. Only ditch it if it's truly what you do not want to do.

                          The ceiling is why a lot of people choose medicine over other health professions. Sure NPs are gaining a lot more autonomy but at the end of the day they will not be able to do many of the things physicians do. On the other hand, physicians are able to do most if not all the things nurses do.

                          Just food for thought. Do you
                           

                          Ad2b

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                            I guess what I'm wondering is what would you consider a reasonable goal vs an unrealistic goal when it comes to finding a balance?
                            Single mom, raised now 27 year old son on my own; father is deceased; partner Big 4, VP of big company reporting to board of directors; traveled A LOT when son was in elementary, junior and senior high school.

                            No life balance BUT I vowed the following:

                            1. Friday nights were for just him and I - dinner, movie, whatever - sporting event, concert, etc.
                            2. I'd never miss what was important to him - at the time, basketball games and hockey tournaments (and I never did)
                            3. I over communicated with him, played video games with him across continents (WoW - we ganked horde together in Arathi for hours - he would have just returned home from school and it was middle of the night for me in the Philippines)
                            4. Saturday afternoons and evenings were for him
                            5. Sunday mornings were for him, afternoons for me, and nights for him

                            I was exhausted by it all at the end of 7 years that I took a break. 7 years...

                            I am still single (not looking), he is 27 and planning to relocate with me if I should get accepted and attend undergrad wherever that is. We're a two-fer, I guess. My goal, if accepted somewhere, would be to have something similar though likely not as much (as he'll have his own things on Sa/Sundays ... but Fridays were and are, still about us)

                            Hope that helps... balance is how you construct it and it is different for everyone
                             
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