chicamedica

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I was just on the phone with my mom, who with disappointment in her voice, relayed to me a conversation with a good friend of hers.

Friend: So has chicamedica decided what field of medicine she want to do?
Mom: Yes, she wants to be an anesthesiologist
Friend: aww, she has spent all this time and effort getting an education and is so smart and talented [yeah keep it comin ;) ] to end up just being an anesthesiologist? Technicians can do that.

Which reminded me of another conversation I was privy to with the mailman, which went something like this:

Mailman: so do you know what you want to do yet?
[yeah everyone is all into my life. . .]
Me: I'm thinking of anes/critical care medicine
Mailman: oh critical care--like resuscitating people. . .A buddy of mine and I can do that! all we needed was a CPR course!

Yeah so they think. . . ;)


in response, since my mom almost never initally takes my word for things, I read her the blurb from the ASA website from the "general overview" of the field of anesthesiology. Of course it barely scratches the surface, but certainly what is in that description requires more than just being a technician or what is learned in a CPR course. In fact, CPR is what people do to keep the patient alive UNTIL anesthesia gets there to REALLY resuscitate.
(which is what I should have told the mailman, but didn't think of it until later). I really don't care what the other people think, but I don't want my mom to be so wrongly disappointed about my choice of what I think is the best, most exciting, most thought-requiring field out there.

Of course, such uneducated beliefs are a result of people not really seeing what anesthesiologist do b/c they are unconscious/sedated for most of it and if they crash they really have no idea who it was that resuscitated them--and anes are not ones to brag about it, or seek glory. Which is one of the qualities that I admire about the anes "culture."

However, I am not against educating laypeople about what the field is really about. What would be a good concise response to such remarks by laypeople?
Anyone else been in a similar situation?
 

powermd

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All the time... And not just from laypeople, other doctors often fail to understand what we do. Of course, they're awfully thankful we exist when their patient is crashing and they gasp.. oh $hit, call anesthesia!

The intellectual appeal of anesthesia can be difficult to explain to other doctors, and even more so to laypeople. You can't really understand anesthesia until you experience the responsibilities of being an anesthesiologist. Unlike other areas of medicine where the thought process of the job is a little more obvious (sugery- the appendix is inflamed... remove the appendix), it is much less obvious in anesthesia. That makes it all the more difficult to explain to friends and loved ones when they groan at your choice of field.

A good way to make laypeople understand is to tell them conducting an anesthetic is like playing chess with human body. When the game is played well, it looks very simple. On the surface all one sees is a doctor putting the patient to sleep and giving drugs here and there while monitoring the patient. What they don't see is that both the surgery, and the drugs given for anesthesia would both likely kill the patient if not used very carefully by someone with great expertise.

If anyone gives you a hard time about CRNAs doing anesthesia, you can just tell them "some people may be comfortable practicing medicine without going to medical school, but I'm not one of them!" Or "You can teach anyone to drive, but that doesn't make them a formula one racer."
 

doc05

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If someone gives you a hard time, just say f you, give them the finger, and move on. You shouldn't have to justify your career to choice to anyone, esp the mailman.
 
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Tenesma

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that's okay --- my mom told me her vascular surgeon neighbor warned her that I would never make more than $25/hr.... isn't that funny? she was very worried that I would never be able to pay off my loans --- so once I started residency (way back when) I forwarded her some of the snail-mail offers I got. Needless to say, she wasn't worried after that...

It is funny how people take pilots for granted when they are flying - and then all of a sudden are so thankful when they land safely after very severe turbulence... Do they remember the names of the pilot? probably not... did they spend some time praying that the pilots were experienced, and knew what they were doing??? probably... :)
 

IN2bait

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you should say, "yeah, that's true [insert unsophisticated comment]...I like making $300,000/yr, which is more than your surgeon...so someone thinks I important"
 

IN2bait

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Tenesma said:
that's okay --- my mom told me her vascular surgeon neighbor warned her that I would never make more than $25/hr.... isn't that funny? she was very worried that I would never be able to pay off my loans --- so once I started residency (way back when) I forwarded her some of the snail-mail offers I got. Needless to say, she wasn't worried after that...
that's actually really funny...vascular surgeons are the ones who need to be worried, since interventional radiology is en route to take over most of their formally surgical operations withOUT the pre-op, post-op, follow-up, etc...lol
 
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chicamedica

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IN2bait said:
you should say, "yeah, that's true [insert unsophisticated comment]...I like making $300,000/yr, which is more than your surgeon...so someone thinks I important"

good one! :laugh: I like that. . .
 

Ipassgass

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I've got one...

I was at my wife's uncle's house and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him that I was going to do anesthesia, to which he responded "but they're not real doctors though, are they? They just give drugs..." I subsequently told him what anesthesiologist really did and how they basically took over control of the patient's body while surgery was performed, etc...He still seemed pretty perplexed. Needless to say, I don't believe I'll have enough invitations for him to make it to graduation.
 
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chicamedica

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There's gotta be something wrong and scary if someone other than a "real doctor" can give drugs more freely than a typical layperson's "real doc". If that's what the uncle thinks, he must be very nervous about getting surgery. :smuggrin:
 

hoyden

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Guys, just relax :)
Do you REALLY care what all of them may think about your job and career?
Having the satisfaction of managing the patient's life while other Doctors manage only their health (don’t jump at me, I'm being malicious a little. But just a little ;) ) should be enough, adding decent salary for that is an icing on a cake, right?
Good luck everybody for the match.
 
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chicamedica

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I like the way you put it, hoyden. . .managing life vs health. . .(both of which are important, nevertheless)

yeah, no I don't really care what they think. I do kinda want my mom to share in my excitement though. Maybe I can have her "shadow" me sometime once i hit my CA years (if i'm allowed).
 

hoyden

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Do not do that! I mean letting your mom to shadow you :)
Let her think you do not have the IMPORTANT job versus get her anxious about you being under stress all the time. She'll plead you to switch to be a dermatologist :laugh:
 

Tenesma

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okay..... come on now.... this is absolutely ridiculous... i can understand that it is important to make your parents proud, but in the end you have to do what makes you happy/proud of yourself...
 

invitro

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Hmm....my parents feel the same way about gas and other "support" specialities.

I think it boils down to the fact that in gas, you don't "cure" anyone. Yes, it's very scientific, has a great lifestyle, and currently excellent salary, but you don't treat any diseases, and you don't have patients coming to you for care (with the exception of pain mgt). Thus, the "prestige" factor is not particularly high, especially in the eyes of laypeople/parents.
Seeing as you went to a spectacular undergrad, and excellent med school, I imagine, in your mother's eyes, it would be only fitting for you to go into cards/gastro/neurosurg/ortho/optho/oncology/other medical specialty held in high esteem by the public.
Then again, for many people stuff like the above doesn't matter/is overshadowed by the lifestyle/pay of gas.

Chica, you should do what you like, but realize that initially it will be hard to do something you mother does not approve of (I think I have personal experience with this :) ) . Also, although this sounds stupid....I'm sure she has a good reason for feeling the way she does....parents(at least good ones) always do. I grudgingly realize this time and time again.

I guess I'm rambling...so I will end now. My pediatric resident is eyeing me so I better get back to writing up this H and P. Please don't flame me, just wanted to point out the obvious I guess. Gas is a great speciality for the right person. Good luck to everyone pursuing gas next year.
 
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chicamedica

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invitro said:
Hmm....my parents feel the same way about gas and other "support" specialities.

I think it boils down to the fact that in gas, you don't "cure" anyone. Yes, it's very scientific, has a great lifestyle, and currently excellent salary, but you don't treat any diseases, and you don't have patients coming to you for care (with the exception of pain mgt). Thus, the "prestige" factor is not particularly high, especially in the eyes of laypeople/parents.
Seeing as you went to a spectacular undergrad, and excellent med school, I imagine, in your mother's eyes, it would be only fitting for you to go into cards/gastro/neurosurg/ortho/optho/oncology/other medical specialty held in high esteem by the public.

Chica, you should do what you like, but realize that initially it will be hard to do something you mother does not approve of (I think I have personal experience with this :) ) . Also, although this sounds stupid....I'm sure she has a good reason for feeling the way she does....parents(at least good ones) always do. I grudgingly realize this time and time again.

I guess I'm rambling...so I will end now. Please don't flame me, just wanted to point out the obvious I guess. Gas is a great speciality for the right person.
Well actually, my mom really isn't aware of the "prestige factor" of many of those specialties you mentioned. She is from eastern europe where there aren't (or weren't) really such things as specialties, and really the only areas were general medical doctor and surgeon.

Nevertheless, my mom really doesn't care as much about how the public sees me, as me being happy and fulfilled in my chosen field. She is highly supportive of whatever I choose to pursue, I just want to get her as excited about the field as I am.

Also, I've posted my opinion on this in another thread, but I totally disagree that anesthesiologists do not CURE anyone. It's a different kind of cure, because the conditions are some of the most acute found in medicine. It could be an anesthesia-induced arrhythmia, it could be an anaphylatic reaction, it could be acute hemorrhage, sudden increase (or drop) in bp or heart rate, a pt crashing on the floor, to rattle off just a few examples. Anesthesiologists are the experts on treating such conditions, and if they can resuscitate/save the patient's life, you bet they can cure! That is actually the kind of "curing" i had in mind when I applied to med school.

NOT a "support specialty"--we are the ones IN CHARGE of the patient in the OR (contrary to what the surgeon might want to believe ;) )
 
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chicamedica

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hoyden said:
Do not do that! I mean letting your mom to shadow you :)
Let her think you do not have the IMPORTANT job versus get her anxious about you being under stress all the time. She'll plead you to switch to be a dermatologist :laugh:

Oh yeah, you actually have a point there! after i read her the blurb on the ASA website, she already started getting worried about the stress, malpractice possibilities, having a patient's life in one's hands, etc. I was like, it's ok, i can handle it (right, like I know :rolleyes: ). Hmm, maybe i can have her shadow me while I'm a med student. . . ;)
 
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