Dec 30, 2009
191
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I've read tons of information on how to be able to juggle your personal life with your medical schooling and career. Unfortunately, doctors have a much greater chance of divorce and other personal problems etc because of the sheer amount of time that is away from your family, friends, etc due to your job.

I was hoping to find out from medical students, residents, fellows, attendings, etc what is the best advice for maintaining a healthy and happy balance between friends, loved ones, children, spouses, etc and be successful at medical school and when you become a practicing physician?

The reason why I ask is, I have several personal physicians, my internist, allergist, and dermatologist have had long happy/successful marriages with kids and seem to have a really good/happy balance between their personal and professional lives, yet my urologist, neurologist, and surgeons have had multiple divorces, no kids, and do not seem to have a personal life. So as you can see, it seems to be a hit or a miss whether you'll have a happy/satisfying personal life as a doctor or do you think it has a lot to do with what specialties you go into???
 
Dec 13, 2009
64
1
0
Dallas, TX
Status
Pre-Medical
I've read tons of information on how to be able to juggle your personal life with your medical schooling and career. Unfortunately, doctors have a much greater chance of divorce and other personal problems etc because of the sheer amount of time that is away from your family, friends, etc due to your job.

I was hoping to find out from medical students, residents, fellows, attendings, etc what is the best advice for maintaining a healthy and happy balance between friends, loved ones, children, spouses, etc and be successful at medical school and when you become a practicing physician?

The reason why I ask is, I have several personal physicians, my internist, allergist, and dermatologist have had long happy/successful marriages with kids and seem to have a really good/happy balance between their personal and professional lives, yet my urologist, neurologist, and surgeons have had multiple divorces, no kids, and do not seem to have a personal life. So as you can see, it seems to be a hit or a miss whether you'll have a happy/satisfying personal life as a doctor or do you think it has a lot to do with what specialties you go into???
You pretty much nailed it on the head. The ones with a good social life are either internists and family docs, which dont make much money or the extremely competitive ones, like Derm and Allergy which make good money and don't work as much as other specialties. The doctors with good social lives are either in cush specialties or family medicine.

On the other hand, surgeons usually work in excess of 60 hours a week and are married, and have little to no time or no time for much else. But they get paid more on average (for now ;) ).

So basically, it has ALOT to do with what specialty you choose.
 

LadyWolverine

10+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2004
1,682
35
261
Hiding in your closet
Status
Attending Physician
You pretty much nailed it on the head. The ones with a good social life are either internists and family docs, which dont make much money or the extremely competitive ones, like Derm and Allergy which make good money and don't work as much as other specialties. The doctors with good social lives are either in cush specialties or family medicine.

On the other hand, surgeons usually work in excess of 60 hours a week and are married, and have little to no time or no time for much else. But they get paid more on average (for now ;) ).

So basically, it has ALOT to do with what specialty you choose.
This post is pretty misinformed.
1. Family docs can have absolutely horrible lifestyles, especially if they have admitting priveleges or do OB. I just came off a rotation where I worked with a joint practice of 2 family docs. They took turns being on call 1 week on 1 week off, with q1 call for admits and OB when they were on an "on" week. In addition they each had a full day of clinic every M-F and saw outpatients on the weekends as well. In addition they were both nursing home administrators and did housecalls. They were routinely at work from 7am to midnight, plus weekend/OB hours. Not all family docs have it easy, especially now when there is such a demand and a shortage.
2. Allergy is not an extremely competetive field like dermatology. It is a fellowship that one pursues after internal medicine residency, and is not traditionally one of the more competitive IM fellowships (i.e. cardiology, GI).
3. While specialist surgeons certainly make money (orthopedics, ortho-spine, neuro, vascular, CT), general surgeons do not earn a salary commensurate with their amount of training or hours worked.

Your lifestyle will be affected to some extent by what specialty you choose, especially in residency. However, once residency is complete you may opt to work as much or as little as you choose. Of course, your salary will vary based on how much you work, and there will be some critical minimum of hours below which you and your practice will be unable to stay solvent. But, for example, you can choose to become a pediatrician and work 9-5 four days a week in an outpatient office, or you can work in a hospital admitting patients to a pediatric service and work 6am-11pm every day of the week. Likewise, you can have an ophthalmology practice where you see routine eye exams M-F from 10-3, or you can work in a busy hospital center where you cover ophtho emergencies and trauma, and spend a lot of time in the OR doing cataract surgeries. It's possible to be a general surgeon who works 100 hours a week, or you can be a general surgeon who operates less and thus spends less time in clinic/the OR/the hospital. There are some radiologists who work from home, while others are always in the reading rooms at all hours of the night, reading trauma and ED films.

More than what specialty you choose, what type of practice you ultimately choose will dictate your lifestyle.
 
Dec 13, 2009
64
1
0
Dallas, TX
Status
Pre-Medical
This post is pretty misinformed.
1. Family docs can have absolutely horrible lifestyles, especially if they have admitting priveleges or do OB. I just came off a rotation where I worked with a joint practice of 2 family docs. They took turns being on call 1 week on 1 week off, with q1 call for admits and OB when they were on an "on" week. In addition they each had a full day of clinic every M-F and saw outpatients on the weekends as well. In addition they were both nursing home administrators and did housecalls. They were routinely at work from 7am to midnight, plus weekend/OB hours. Not all family docs have it easy, especially now when there is such a demand and a shortage.
2. Allergy is not an extremely competetive field like dermatology. It is a fellowship that one pursues after internal medicine residency, and is not traditionally one of the more competitive IM fellowships (i.e. cardiology, GI).
3. While specialist surgeons certainly make money (orthopedics, ortho-spine, neuro, vascular, CT), general surgeons do not earn a salary commensurate with their amount of training or hours worked.

Your lifestyle will be affected to some extent by what specialty you choose, especially in residency. However, once residency is complete you may opt to work as much or as little as you choose. Of course, your salary will vary based on how much you work, and there will be some critical minimum of hours below which you and your practice will be unable to stay solvent. But, for example, you can choose to become a pediatrician and work 9-5 four days a week in an outpatient office, or you can work in a hospital admitting patients to a pediatric service and work 6am-11pm every day of the week. Likewise, you can have an ophthalmology practice where you see routine eye exams M-F from 10-3, or you can work in a busy hospital center where you cover ophtho emergencies and trauma, and spend a lot of time in the OR doing cataract surgeries. It's possible to be a general surgeon who works 100 hours a week, or you can be a general surgeon who operates less and thus spends less time in clinic/the OR/the hospital. There are some radiologists who work from home, while others are always in the reading rooms at all hours of the night, reading trauma and ED films.

More than what specialty you choose, what type of practice you ultimately choose will dictate your lifestyle.
Well lets see. Your response is based off of a misinterpretation of my post.
1. Sure, there are FM docs who work alot. I never said they all have it easy. I'm speaking relatively about the fact that FM docs on average work less hours than surgeons do. I'd love to see you prove somehow that FM docs work more than surgeons on average.
2. From what I've seen, Allergy IS one of the more competitive fellowships to get into after an IM residency. It even says so on the fellowships FAQ.

Which subspecialties are more competitive to get into then others?

Right now, most people agree with the following order of competitiveness:

Most Competitive:
Cardiology
Gastroenterology
Allergy and Immunology

Moderately Competitive:
Pulmonary
Nephrology
Hematology/Oncology

Mildly Competitive:
Infectious Diseases
Endocrinology
Rheumatology
Geriatric Medicine
3. I'm not arguing whether general surgeons are properly compensated for the amount of work they do, as a matter of fact, that's not even the point of this article, so that's irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, surgeons make more money on average. PERIOD. There's no debating numbers.

And to think, you said my post is "pretty misinformed." And yet do a pathetic job of 'proving me wrong.' God, the nerve of some people.
 
Dec 30, 2009
191
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Well lets see. Your response is based off of a misinterpretation of my post.
1. Sure, there are FM docs who work alot. I never said they all have it easy. I'm speaking relatively about the fact that FM docs on average work less hours than surgeons do. I'd love to see you prove somehow that FM docs work more than surgeons on average.
2. From what I've seen, Allergy IS one of the more competitive fellowships to get into after an IM residency. It even says so on the fellowships FAQ.


3. I'm not arguing whether general surgeons are properly compensated for the amount of work they do, as a matter of fact, that's not even the point of this article, so that's irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, surgeons make more money on average. PERIOD. There's no debating numbers.

And to think, you said my post is "pretty misinformed." And yet do a pathetic job of 'proving me wrong.' God, the nerve of some people.
Come on guys, I didn't want this to turn into a fight. You both have very valid points and it really depends on the specialty you go into. There are certain specialties, like surgery, ID and others that require more time in the hospital compared to others like outpatient derm, A/I, internist, FM, etc.

But it is also a determination of the individual physician what you want to work. I've seen a couple of neurologists in my life, one had a cushy 9-5 Mon-Fri outpatient practice, spent barely 10 minutes with me each visit, had call 2 weeks a month, and was married with kids. My current neurologist, who I really like because he spends 1-2 hours with you every time you see him, has been divorced twice and has no kids because, while it is good for us patients since he spends a lot of time with us, gets really behind and lets his work and call consume him because he spends so much time with his patients.

Another great example is my neurosurgeon who came in twice a day on Sat and Sun to see me after a spinal surgery he performed on me last March. I couldn't believe an attending was in their on the weekend seeing me, considering he could have his residents do that. In fact, I saw my attending more than I did the resident who worked on me with him.I asked my neurosurgeon about this and he said, "oh, I'm almost always in the hospital 7 days a week. I take 4 hours off on Saturday's to play ice hockey and golf from time to time." He gave me a good laugh but it was nice to see he saw the humor in his job and still makes time for himself even though he operates on brains and spines everyday. He seems to have a great outlook and balance in his life, despite the fact that neurosurgery is considered to be the hardest and the worst speciality in medicine for preventing a physician for having any kind of a personal life since they practical live in the hospital for their careers.

Just a side note, God bless the people who can be neurosurgeons. I could not wake up every morning knowing I was going to be working on peoples brains and spines every day. What an enormous responsibility. I'm not trying to downgrade any of the other specialities because they all have huge responsibilities as well but I couldn't take that kind of pressue or ability. Thank God my interest is internal medicine!!

I think no matter what speciality you are in, you have to schedule in advance your personal life and no matter how busy you are you HAVE to make time for your children, GF/BF, spouse, family, friends, etc every week. I know med school, residency, fellowship, and practice is hard and tiring but life is to short to spend all your time on work. Everyone can make 3-4 hours each week, at the minimum, to get away from patients, textbooks, journals, etc and enjoy life. I try to go for a 30-60 minute walk everyday, with no cell phone, PDA, etc and for that hour, I'm at peace and enjoy the world around me. Its quite relaxing. Just that simple walk outside everyday is all I need to stay in perspective and give my body and mind a break.
 

doctorhouse

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2007
59
0
0
New York
Status
Medical Student
I have several personal physicians, my internist, allergist, and dermatologist have had long happy/successful marriages with kids and seem to have a really good/happy balance between their personal and professional lives, yet my urologist, neurologist, and surgeons have had multiple divorces, no kids, and do not seem to have a personal life. ??
....wait....you have an internest, allergist, dermatologist, urologist, neurologist, and a surgeon?
 

MattD

Curmudgeon
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 9, 2003
1,444
2
0
www.yellow5.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
....wait....you have an internest, allergist, dermatologist, urologist, neurologist, and a surgeon?
Some people are sick.

Sarcasm aside, it's not that hard. Everyone should have an internist/PCP. Migraines could equal a neurologist. allergist/derm/urologist, maybe we're talking about a patient with autoimmune disease. The surgeon could be from having an appy/chole/MVA at some point. Or of course whatever the spinal surgery was for. It doesn't take that many problems to amass a huge fleet of specialists (which makes the PCP that much more important for coordinating care.. )
 
Dec 30, 2009
191
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Some people are sick.

Sarcasm aside, it's not that hard. Everyone should have an internist/PCP. Migraines could equal a neurologist. allergist/derm/urologist, maybe we're talking about a patient with autoimmune disease. The surgeon could be from having an appy/chole/MVA at some point. Or of course whatever the spinal surgery was for. It doesn't take that many problems to amass a huge fleet of specialists (which makes the PCP that much more important for coordinating care.. )
just so you know, its just the luck of having multiple problems, a PCP who sends you off to specialist all the time, nothing life threatening obviously but hey, at least I'll have plenty of doctors to shadow;)

allergist (allergies and asthma)
neurologist (vestibular migraine, radiculopathy)
internist (because everyone is suppose to have one or FM doc)
dermatologist (acne)
urologist (neurogenic bladder)
cardiologist (arrhythmia)
neurosurgeon (muscular skeletal spinal problems, diskectomy and fusion)

actually most of my specialist I only see once a year so its no big deal and most is managed through medications, except my spinal problems, which I'm still working on!
 

MattD

Curmudgeon
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 9, 2003
1,444
2
0
www.yellow5.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
just so you know, its just the luck of having multiple problems, a PCP who sends you off to specialist all the time, nothing life threatening obviously but hey, at least I'll have plenty of doctors to shadow;)

allergist (allergies and asthma)
neurologist (vestibular migraine, radiculopathy)
internist (because everyone is suppose to have one or FM doc)
dermatologist (acne)
urologist (neurogenic bladder)
cardiologist (arrhythmia)
neurosurgeon (muscular skeletal spinal problems, diskectomy and fusion)

actually most of my specialist I only see once a year so its no big deal and most is managed through medications, except my spinal problems, which I'm still working on!
Good to hear it's nothing too terribly serious, although it's certainly none of our business :) Just wanted to point out that not everyone with multiple docs is a hypochondriac (although some certainly are!)
 

BALROG

SWEET DANCE PARTY
5+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2011
99
35
111
DOWN HOLE
BALROG WANT GREAT PERSONAL LIFE, BUT ALWAYS END UP THROWING RELATIONSHIP DOWN HOLE. :cry:
 

PharmaTope

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2008
1,359
3
0
Status
I've read tons of information on how to be able to juggle your personal life with your medical schooling and career. Unfortunately, doctors have a much greater chance of divorce and other personal problems etc because of the sheer amount of time that is away from your family, friends, etc due to your job.

I was hoping to find out from medical students, residents, fellows, attendings, etc what is the best advice for maintaining a healthy and happy balance between friends, loved ones, children, spouses, etc and be successful at medical school and when you become a practicing physician?

The reason why I ask is, I have several personal physicians, my internist, allergist, and dermatologist have had long happy/successful marriages with kids and seem to have a really good/happy balance between their personal and professional lives, yet my urologist, neurologist, and surgeons have had multiple divorces, no kids, and do not seem to have a personal life. So as you can see, it seems to be a hit or a miss whether you'll have a happy/satisfying personal life as a doctor or do you think it has a lot to do with what specialties you go into???
must be the people you know and some lack of abilities to compromise themselves for their relationships.

Urologists make good money with a good lifestyle. there are not many uro emergencies out there. you schedule surgeries when you want, you can do clinic all week if you like. i know some neurologists that only do call once a month.

it depends on the practice you are involved in. don't forget, in medicine you have the power to dictate how much and how little you will work. most people post about their practice when they are employed and dictated to work certain ways by the hospital.

family medicine is very very lifestyle friendly. you can say no patients today from noon to 2pm bc im going to my personal trainer, then come back and see them later on. as long as you see the patients. medicine gives you the tools to create a practice the way you want to. do not forget that.

you see a lot of divorces in medicine because a lot of people go into medicine when they are young. they are "growing up" during their training and are surrounded by a lot of bureaucratic crap and other immature individuals that only reinforce bad behavior and enable each other with their "doc talk".

however, there are many people with long lasting marriages out there. take notes from them. people today are selfish in general. everyone is looking for what they can get out of a relationship rather than what they can put into a relationship.

you want to be a physician? you put the time in and make it happen

you want to have a wife and kids? you put the time in and make it happen

there is no way around it, it is a very simple concept. when you want something to work, you go out and earn it and make it work.
 

SLC

A Punk rock Country doc
7+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2010
3,548
3,369
181
The Empire
Status
Attending Physician
you want to be a physician? you put the time in and make it happen

you want to have a wife and kids? you put the time in and make it happen

there is no way around it, it is a very simple concept. when you want something to work, you go out and earn it and make it work.
Holy crap, someone else who actually gets it.
 

PharmaTope

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2008
1,359
3
0
Status
Holy crap, someone else who actually gets it.
plenty of physicians have family life. i know many who talk about leaving for 3 hours mid day to do children stuff, then coming back. medicine is flexible like that when you do consults as a specialist.