In the future would you change your mind about pursuing a certain specialty because of family?

Would you guys change your mind about a specialty you have in mind because of family?


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The Buff OP

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This thread/question is aimed for pre-medical students and medical students.

Hey guys, so I was wondering would you guys change your mind about a specialty you have in mind because of family? Let's say you found a girl/guy you really love in college or medical school and you guys get married and probably have 1-2 kids during college or medical school. In addition, before any of this happen you had in mind of becoming a neurosurgeon or any other rigorous time-consuming residency. Would you still pursue it or would you find another specialty that is lifestyle friendly that you like as well? This question is also aimed for lifestyle after residency. For me, I don't know the answer yet. I mainly like surgical specialties which include neuro, cardio, and ortho. Those are really time-consuming. They keep you away from the family, but if I had to choose one of those to spend a little more time with family it would be orthopedics. What I have heard cardiovascular/thoracic and neurosurgeons live off their pagers anytime there could be a call. Also, they have the highest divorce rate, so I've heard, but don't take my word for it. Non-surgical specialties I like are radiation oncology and anesthesiology. You might say, Mr. Buff how can you narrow down your choices if you haven't even gone to medical school? I have visited a lot of different specialties several times for family appointments, I know what they do.
P.S. Would it be harder for you to choose a specialty if your wife/husband was also a doctor? (Both of you guys at the same level)
 
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They have the highest divorce rates because those wives are gold diggers, obviously they will not be messing around with a broke
 

GoPelicans

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I always thought I would want to be a surgeon, but now that I'm kinda old (will be turning 26 when I start medical school) and I've been dating the same girl for a few years, lifestyle is something that is definitely in the back of my mind. The only thing that nags me is that I feel like I'm giving up too easy, that I should gun for whatever I want regardless of life circumstances. IDK, first world problems lol.
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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I always thought I would want to be a surgeon, but now that I'm kinda old (will be turning 26 when I start medical school) and I've been dating the same girl for a few years, lifestyle is something that is definitely in the back of my mind. The only thing that nags me is that I feel like I'm giving up too easy, that I should gun for whatever I want regardless of life circumstances. IDK, first world problems lol.
When I apply for medical school I will be like 26, but I still want to go for surgery, I feel you bro. So I would be 30 or 31 when I graduate medical school.
 

karayaa

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OP, how do you reconcile interest in rad onc with interest in surgery? What's the common attraction? They seem pretty different. Anes even more so. Are you trying for lifestyle/ROAD specialities (not saying that's wrong, just wonderin about your priorities/criteria)?
 

armybound

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Several of us re-thought our specialty choices because of spouses or similar. It's not too uncommon. It's not like you choose a field you hate just because someone else wants you to, you just weigh the options you're interested in and give consideration to which would have the best lifestyle.
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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OP, how do you reconcile interest in rad onc with interest in surgery? What's the common attraction? They seem pretty different. Anes even more so. Are you trying for lifestyle/ROAD specialities (not saying that's wrong, just wonderin about your priorities/criteria)?
Hey @karayaa, actually the reason I find out I wanted to become a doctor was through cancer. I always knew I wanted to end up doing something that helps people, but once I was introduced to the medicine world my life changed. Cancer runs in my family. I have lost a lot of close family members to cancer. My last family member that died was a close cousin of mine he was 9. He had leukemia. After taking care of him at the hospital when my uncle was at work (his mother passed away) I would go once in a while and keep him company. But pediatric oncology is too sad for me to do it. TheSauce (here on SDN he is RadOnc resident) I believe he said they get patients who most of the time have a chance to make it.
 

karayaa

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Hey @karayaa, actually the reason I find out I wanted to become a doctor was through cancer. I always knew I wanted to end up doing something that helps people, but once I was introduced to the medicine world my life changed. Cancer runs in my family. I have lost a lot of close family members. My last family member that died was a close cousin of mine he was 9. He had leukemia. After taking care of him at the hospital when my uncle was at work (his mother passed away) I would go once in a while and keep him company. But pediatric oncology is too sad for me to do it. TheSauce (here on SDN he is RadOnc resident) I believe he said they get patients who most of the time have a chance to make it.
The one pediatric medical oncologist I talked to said it wasn't particularly depressing, because most of his kids get better.
Cancer can be approached from medical (onc), radiology (rad onc) and surgical perspectives. Rad onc and surgery seem pretty different, let alone onc and surgery, because of personalities, the types of people you see, the outcomes you can effect, the nature of your interactions with patients, etc. But you can certainly treat cancer as a surgeon. Not sure what type of surgeon, but probably not ortho or card. Maybe general surgery? Urology and gyn obviously.
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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The one pediatric medical oncologist I talked to said it wasn't particularly depressing, because most of his kids get better.
Cancer can be approached from medical (onc), radiology (rad onc) and surgical perspectives. Rad onc and surgery seem pretty different, let alone onc and surgery, because of personalities, the types of people you see, the outcomes you can effect, the nature of your interactions with patients, etc. But you can certainly treat cancer as a surgeon. Not sure what type of surgeon, but probably not ortho or card. Maybe general surgery? Urology and gyn obviously.
Yeah there is a fellowship for oncology after GS residency. As of right now GS doesn't interest me. If I end up doing CT in the future I'm going for integrated programs. If I do Ortho I would like to do a sports medicine fellowship.
 
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The Buff OP

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Several of us re-thought our specialty choices because of spouses or similar. It's not too uncommon. It's not like you choose a field you hate just because someone else wants you to, you just weigh the options you're interested in and give consideration to which would have the best lifestyle.
Did you had to change your mind?
 

armybound

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Did you had to change your mind?
No, urology was the field I was most interested in, but the fact that it has a good lifestyle played in to my consideration of future specialties. Others included general surgery, colorectal surgery, ENT, surgical oncology, radiology.
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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This just came into mind. Let's say you end up taking that big residency you and your spouse/husband and kids move somewhere far from family members, you are never home and other stuff. Maybe that's how some of those divorces happen? This stuff just comes into my mind because I'm in my early 20s so whenever these decisions will come in hand by then I would hopefully have a wife.
 

Dral

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You might say, Mr. Buff how can you narrow down your choices if you haven't even gone to medical school or through rotations? I have visited a lot of different specialties several times for family appointments, I know what they do.
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but...um...no you probably don't. Shadowing a doc for a month gives one an ok idea. I'm a PGY3 and still don't totally grasp what practice is like for my attendings. However, at least as a resident, I have an idea about what my specialty does.

It's like saying "I've been to the gym several times, I know what weightlifters do".


Anyway, to stay OT, people make this decision all the time. I don't believe there is anything wrong as long as one can be excited for their final specialty choice.
 

histidine

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I'm not trying to be a jerk, but...um...no you probably don't. Shadowing a doc for a month gives one an ok idea. I'm a PGY3 and still don't totally grasp what practice is like for my attendings. However, at least as a resident, I have an idea about what my specialty does.

It's like saying "I've been to the gym several times, I know what weightlifters do".


Anyway, to stay OT, people make this decision all the time. I don't believe there is anything wrong as long as one can be excited for their final specialty choice.

Yes, but we've also read a lot into specialties, especially on these boards. For example, I know exactly what urologists do. Armybound has taught me that urologists are big bullies who make patients show them their genitals
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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I'm not trying to be a jerk, but...um...no you probably don't. Shadowing a doc for a month gives one an ok idea. I'm a PGY3 and still don't totally grasp what practice is like for my attendings. However, at least as a resident, I have an idea about what my specialty does.
No worries, thanks for the input. I do see where you're coming from. This is my list of specialties I have visited.
Dermatology, Urology, Cardiology (peds), pediatrics, rheumatology, neurology, pediatric oncology, radiology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, family medicine, allergy and immunology. Well, visiting those specialties and then researching what they do is where I made my list from. Nonetheless, nothing beats a month of spending time with that specialty, right? (BTW I'm not being sarcastic)

It's like saying "I've been to the gym several times, I know what weightlifters do".
Sorry, I had to laugh at this one. lol I consider myself an expert on weightlifitng.
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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Yes, but we've also read a lot into specialties, especially on these boards. For example, I know exactly what urologists do. Armybound has taught me that urologists are big bullies who make patients show them their genitals
Hah. Still got that quote, huh?
 
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I'd consider changing my mind. Absolutely. Thus far, from the outside looking in, I believe I'm more interested in Psychiatry than anything (specifically C&A), so I'm doubtful this would ever be an issue, but one could go completely in a different direction six years from now, so you never know until you're there.
 

karayaa

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I'd consider changing my mind. Absolutely. Thus far, from the outside looking in, I believe I'm more interested in Psychiatry than anything (specifically C&A), so I'm doubtful this would ever be an issue, but one could go completely in a different direction six years from now, so you never know until you're there.
+1 There are umpteen stories of people with lots of exposure to a certain field, who felt confident they knew what they wanted, then 3rd year comes around and bam they completely switch to something else, often something new that they had never experienced before.
 

MEN2C

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Coming into med school, I thought Psych for sure. I took peds first in third year to get it out of the way, knowing full well I'd never want to deal with crying kids and their parents all day.


Three weeks into the rotation, I was like...'damn, this is pretty ****ing awesome.' It hit me that every night I was looking forward to waking up early so I can get to work. Over the weekend, I was looking forward to mondays instead of dreading them.

So here I am, 90% sure now that I'm going into pediatrics. Keep an open mind. You'll be shocked what you end up liking.
 

styphon

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I have seen this go multiple ways with different outcomes..

I have a friend who was set on ENT/head&neck fellowship but went into a medical field with better hours because his wife was pregnant... He seems very unhappy and constantly talks about things he wants to do but can't.

I know a woman who choose the same exact medical field because she planned on getting pregnant - and she is extremely happy. She is smiling all the time, very cheerful...

For me personally: Having a son during medical school changed my life completely. I was set on ER - I had been an EMT for 5 years, did ER research which was presented at the society meeting, knew the ER program director (my research mentor)...When my wife was in her third trimester I started doing peds then ob - I loved it. I was even volunteering to do medical things (feed the babies, change them, hold them when they were abandoned waiting for CPS). Because I loved ob/peds so much I changed my direction completely.
 

Ja3ger

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Yes, of course. That's why it's important to keep an open mind. Although I don't think I would ever choose FM or OBGYN...
 
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The Buff OP

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I have seen this go multiple ways with different outcomes..

I have a friend who was set on ENT/head&neck fellowship but went into a medical field with better hours because his wife was pregnant... He seems very unhappy and constantly talks about things he wants to do but can't.

I know a woman who choose the same exact medical field because she planned on getting pregnant - and she is extremely happy. She is smiling all the time, very cheerful...

For me personally: Having a son during medical school changed my life completely. I was set on ER - I had been an EMT for 5 years, did ER research which was presented at the society meeting, knew the ER program director (my research mentor)...When my wife was in her third trimester I started doing peds then ob - I loved it. I was even volunteering to do medical things (feed the babies, change them, hold them when they were abandoned waiting for CPS). Because I loved ob/peds so much I changed my direction completely.
For me it was different. I forgot to put in I also been around EM doctors. When I took my EMT class I thought ER and being on an ambulance was the coolest, but after my ER clinicals I decided I liked what happens inside the hospital and more thorough. Most of the times patients were sent out to a specialist. I felt like EM docs just diagnosed or don't know and send the patients on their way to another specialty.
 
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The Buff OP

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I think some spouses just don't know what they're getting themselves in to when they marry a doctor/future doctor. They probably see the status and the money but don't realize their spouse is going to work A LOT and be tired otherwise.
I just saw this comment. If you are already out of medical school do you recommend dropping the MD bomb on someone?
 

armybound

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I just saw this comment. If you are already out of medical school do you recommend dropping the MD bomb on someone?
Seems like something that's bound to come up. You typically ask someone what they do for a living when you're getting to know them.
 
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The Buff OP

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Seems like something that's bound to come up. You typically ask someone what they do for a living when you're getting to know them.
I'm gonna stick with I'm supposedly a OB nurse, lets see where that takes me lol.

Also, your name says, "armybound" were you in the Army or you wanted to go to it?
 

teenyfish

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I would definitely pursue a specialty based upon what was best for my family. What is most important to me is family life, so if I had a great balance of family life and work, I would be extremely happy no matter what the specialty I chose. But I'm pretty sure I want to go into primary care anyway, but who knows!
 
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Even though I'm a few years out from making that decision, the fact that I have a family will definitely play into what I choose to do. However, I won't go into a speciality that I really dislike just for more family time.
Don't get me wrong, family is the most important thing to me, but I think it's just as bad to do something you aren't happy doing as it is to be away from home all the time for something you love to do. I believe there is a middle ground, I just haven't had enough experience to find it yet.
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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That's why I used it. ;)

I actually lift a decent amount but am in no way an expert....even though I go to the gym several times a week.
Good. If your goals are to put some good lean mass. Check out this guy. He is also a bodybuilder, but not the big guys type.
https://www.youtube.com/user/swoldiernation/videos

What specialty are you doing your residency on?
 
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The Buff OP

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That frittata recipe he did looks kinda interesting.

I'm a Derm resident, so I actually have time to make it to the gym. Heh.
Home by 5, eh? Are you male or female? Because if you are a female I think I can find a good Youtube channel for women's fitness.
Do you agree on what he says about sweet potatoes and the skin?
 

Lya

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Even though I'm a few years out from making that decision, the fact that I have a family will definitely play into what I choose to do. However, I won't go into a speciality that I really dislike just for more family time.
Don't get me wrong, family is the most important thing to me, but I think it's just as bad to do something you aren't happy doing as it is to be away from home all the time for something you love to do. I believe there is a middle ground, I just haven't had enough experience to find it yet.

Probably this.

There will be many factors besides families that students need to consider, and I don't think there will always be a specialty that satisfies all these factors. Finding a middle ground will be often very tough to find.
 

Dral

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I'm a guy. Actually home by 4:30 today. Usually closer to 6 though.

I'm not so sure about the skin thing. I guess it can't hurt, but it's not like I'd tell some kid with acne to go nutso eating 25 sweet potatoes a day. Haha.
 

sinombre

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What I have heard cardiovascular/thoracic and neurosurgeons live of their pagers anytime there could be a call. Also, they have the highest divorce rate, so I've heard, but don't take my word for it.
They have the highest divorce rates because those wives are gold diggers, obviously they will not be messing around with a broke
I remember looking this up last year. The only paper I could find was published in the 70s, but it seems to suggest the opposite. Surgical subspecialties (including neuro and CT) did not have the highest divorce rates, and the physician divorce rate was not especially high (roughly equal to dentists, editors, scientists, accountants, etc.). I'm assuming divorce rates have universally gone up in the past 40 years, but this is still an interesting read:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1518297/pdf/califmed00123-0133.pdf
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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I'm a guy. Actually home by 4:30 today. Usually closer to 6 though.

I'm not so sure about the skin thing. I guess it can't hurt, but it's not like I'd tell some kid with acne to go nutso eating 25 sweet potatoes a day. Haha.
Maybe you should and I'll go buy some stocks from potatoes companies. Can I ask why did you go into dermatology?
 
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The Buff OP

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I remember looking this up last year. The only paper I could find was published in the 70s, but it seems to suggest the opposite. Surgical subspecialties (including neuro and CT) did not have the highest divorce rates, and the physician divorce rate was not especially high (roughly equal to dentists, editors, scientists, accountants, etc.). I'm assuming divorce rates have universally gone up in the past 40 years, but this is still an interesting read:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1518297/pdf/califmed00123-0133.pdf
lol "Black physicians are nearly 70% more prone to divorce than their White colleagues." Say whaaa?
"Divorce is common in occupations, irregular hours and absence from home at night." <--This seems to fit some specialties.
Yeah, I can't find an updated one either. I only found one from the 70s about psychiatrist having high divorce rates. I know this might sound corny, but the shows I have seen about surgeons (Hopkins, Boston Med, and NY Med) they showed surgeons having troubles with their marriage or hard to even get a date.
 

sinombre

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lol "Black physicians are nearly 70% more prone to divorce than their White colleagues." Say whaaa?
"Divorce is common in occupations, irregular hours and absence from home at night." <--This seems to fit some specialties.
Yeah, I can't find an updated one either. I only found one from the 70s about psychiatrist having high divorce rates. I know this might sound corny, but the shows I have seen about surgeons (Hopkins, Boston Med, and NY Med) they showed surgeons having troubles with their marriage or hard to even get a date.
The bold is the claim they were testing, and the data seemed to contradict it. The claim does seem intuitive, which is why it's kind of interesting. I wish I could find a more recent paper on the topic though.

Also the surgeons working at big-name medical centers on TV probably work more hours than the average physician in those specialties. AAMC reports that most surgical subspecialists work between 50 and 60 hours a week, as opposed to the 80+ many of the guys on TV probably work.
 

mcloaf

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I know this might sound corny, but the shows I have seen about surgeons (Hopkins, Boston Med, and NY Med) they showed surgeons having troubles with their marriage or hard to even get a date.
Yes, but this a conscious choice by producers to play up a common stereotype. Unhappy divorced surgeons are out there of course, but so are happily married ones with children.
 

Dral

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Maybe you should and I'll go buy some stocks from potatoes companies. Can I ask why did you go into dermatology?
Art degree: visual person (mostly all derms are)
Don't like acute stuff
Derm is very academic which I like.
Can diagnose things within 5 seconds that seemingly baffle other docs.
I like the bread and butter
Treat all demographics
Opportunity for cosmetic boutique practice (don't plan on this)
Procedures/office surgeries
Good lifestyle money combo
Element of Path which I love
Got the gut feeling during first day of first Derm rotation 4th year
 
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The Buff OP

The Buff OP

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Art degree: visual person (mostly all derms are)
Don't like acute stuff
Derm is very academic which I like.
Can diagnose things within 5 seconds that seemingly baffle other docs.
I like the bread and butter
Treat all demographics
Opportunity for cosmetic boutique practice (don't plan on this)
Procedures/office surgeries
Good lifestyle money combo
Element of Path which I love
Got the gut feeling during first day of first Derm rotation 4th year
Cool, dude. You should hit up our SDN infamous poster "streampaw" lol
So will you be joining the Swoldier Nation?
 
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Yes, but this a conscious choice by producers to play up a common stereotype. Unhappy divorced surgeons are out there of course, but so are happily married ones with children.
Oh. Thanks for clearing it up. I guess the producers want to also entertain the audience with drama. lol

The bold is the claim they were testing, and the data seemed to contradict it. The claim does seem intuitive, which is why it's kind of interesting. I wish I could find a more recent paper on the topic though.

Also the surgeons working at big-name medical centers on TV probably work more hours than the average physician in those specialties. AAMC reports that most surgical subspecialists work between 50 and 60 hours a week, as opposed to the 80+ many of the guys on TV probably work.
Well I'm gonna suck on the critical analysis and reasoning skills section on the MCAT. lol I guess I did not read it correctly.