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Job opportunities for pediatricians - sparse?

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Dragonfly411

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Hi all,

I'm a fourth-year med student wanting to go into Peds. I made that decision six months ago when I fell in love with it on my Pediatric clerkship.

My parents, both of whom are in the healthcare field from a small rural town, are very frustrating, though. My mother, in particular, is extremely worried that I won't find a job in the future. She's worried about the "competition" that pediatricians have with physicians assistants and family nurse practitioners, and of course, as posted in other forums, salary is an issue (at least for her). I come from a family with financial security, so I think she's wanting me to continue the same for my future family. I have been able to ignore other physicians who, whenever they ask me what field I'm going into, tell me not to go into peds, but it's more bothersome now since these are my parents.

My main question for the residents and attendings is what do you think of the job opportunities for pediatricians in general? Also, what do you think of employment opportunities for pediatric hospitalists, in particular (since that is ultimately what I want to do)? For the attendings: Was it hard for you to find a job in a location that was ideal for you?

I have already spoken to some pediatricians who readily found a job after residency, but it would still be great to hear from more. Also, if anyone knows of a site that reports the number of pediatricians who searched for a job vs. those who actually attained one, I'd be grateful if you could give me the link. I think hard facts may help convince my mom otherwise b/c she still isn't too taken by all the anecdotal information I have given her.

If you don't mind my venting, though, I just want to say how frustrating it's been to have a mother who keeps discouraging you to go into what you love. I was so committed to Pediatrics when I made my decision back in January. I delayed for as long as possible telling her that I wanted to do Peds b/c I already knew that she didn't want me to choose that field. I do acknowledge how narrow-minded she is, though. Her opinion of the pediatric field is based only on a few pediatricians with whom she has contact, but since she is very strong-minded, it's been hard to convince her otherwise.

(I do also acknowledge, though, that since she originally is from another country, her mindset is completely different from mine. The general mindset back then was to choose a career based on your test scores and salary, not based on what you felt passionate about, since most people there did not have much money.)

Anyways, in addition to Peds, I enjoyed my other clerkships as well. I actually recently started to debate whether I should do Peds or Med-Peds b/c the pathology in Medicine is so vast and very interesting. The point is I could probably do something else and be okay/happy with it b/c I enjoy the intellectual stimulation. But in the end, I do have to admit, the only times I was the happiest and was willing to sacrifice sleep and energy were when my patients were of the pediatric population.

If you have any advice, I'd appreciate your post. I really would love to hear both sides of the argument from people, if possible. Thanks.
 
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riverie

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Hey dragonfly,

I totally empathize with your parental situation. As indicated in the PM I just sent you, my dad was VERY discouraging when he found out I wanted to do peds. For months, he would harangue me about considering other specialties, constantly reminding me about his perceived disadvantages of peds, especially the salary. I, like you, had been sure about my decision, and because of his badgering, started to waver. It took a lot of talking to current pediatricians to reconvince myself that I was indeed making the right decision to follow my heart (and gut feeling.) Finally, when he saw that I was being resolute about my decision, he relented, saying that my future spouse's and my salary combined should be comfortable enough. He had been sole provider for my family and I guess he was looking at it from that perspective. To try to convince him, I had also systematically rejected the other specialties he'd suggested for me, stating there was no way I would be happy doing any of them for the rest of my life. I also rationally countered some of his arguments with information I had gotten from current pediatricians. E.g. he's afraid I'd get called by parents every night -- I told him that there're nurse triage systems that can screen your calls, and with group practices so rampant, you share call with your colleagues. He also thought I would have to see all inpatients myself, so I informed him of the widespread phenom of hospitalists in most hospitals today. I also informed him that pediatrics on the whole is a very flexible job environment for women who want to start families, since there're options for sharing jobs and working part time. As for less anecdotal evidence of job offers, I'm afraid I will have to defer to those more in the know. I do know that in the city I'll be graduating from, graduating residents have no problems finding jobs.
 

superoxide

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I'm an MS4 myself and planning on going into general peds. I had some of the same concerns re: financial. I asked one of the residents I've been working with about this and he said that as long as you are flexible, there are plenty of good jobs out there in pediatrics. He told me about one of his classmates from med school who just accepted a job offer as a general pediatrician in rural Texas which pays him $175,000 + incentives (loan repayment, housing stipend etc)
 

oldbearprofessor

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http://jobs.pedjobs.org/search.cfm

Also the journal "Pediatrics" has job listings each month. The AAP has many many resources to deal with this question that are accessible to you.

I'm not going to directly address the jobs question as these links, and much more importantly, direct conversations with pediatricians and others who know about this issue will be the best way to find the answer to your concerns.

I would like to address the comments in various threads about dealing with other physicians and health care providers, whether it be parents or others who say negative or dismissive things about being a pediatrician.

This decision is the single most important career decision you will make. Like choosing a life partner, it speaks to what you believe in your heart you are meant to do. Even your parents don't have a real vote in it. Do not for a moment believe that it is "just a job" anymore than it is a "calling." It is some of both and not entirely either. It is based on what will make you want to come to work each day, and give you a career of satisfaction and meaning.

Take your time and think about it - talk to a lot of people in the field about what they do and don't like about it. Then make your own final decision and stop asking others questions like "do you think it was the right thing to do." There is nothing you (or I or anyone else) could choose to do with our lives or careers than won't have people telling us what a mistake we made. That is the nature of people and especially of parents.

Good luck with your choices.

I am grateful that no one ever told me not to do pediatrics. If I had been on-line many decades ago to listen to the on-line carping about it, who knows, I might have become a wealthy doctor instead of a happy one.
 

edmadison

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I was reading my Pediatrics on the exercise bike a few days ago and turned to the want adds in the back. There was a job in Wyoming 180K a year plus 100K loan repayment. Wow. There are jobs, they just may not be where you are. The people who have trouble will be those who "must" live in a given location. Some people have family commitments, others are just parochial. I say be adventurous and give a smallish town a try. You can fly to NYC or Boston several times a year if you are living in Cheyenne and making 180!

Ed
 
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