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Least Stressful Specialties

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Pinky, Mar 3, 2002.

  1. Pinky

    Pinky and the Brain 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    In your opinion, what are the least stressful specialties?
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  3. Justin4563

    Justin4563 Banned Banned

    May 19, 2001
    New Jersey
    anything that has to do with people not ****ing dying is not stessful,,
    maybe radiation onc..
  4. Mindy

    Mindy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2001
    Does having less than a few minutes to decide the fate of a very much alive human being on an operating table based on an often less than ideal frozen section appear to be stress-free? In one illustrative case, the absence or presence of invasive squamous cell carcinoma in a condyloma would determine whether or not a gentleman already under anesthesia would keep his penis. Be wary of supposed "stress-less" professions... I'm not sure there are any in medicine.
  5. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    I can vouch for the fact that psychiatry is not stress free (or easy for that matter), especially if you are working with really sick people - like the ones you would find at a state hospital, where my dad works.
  6. med student

    med student Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2001
    New York
    yup I would have to agree with mindy because I worked in a path lab for a while and some of the pathologists would turn into complete jerks during the ten minutes they had to deal with a frozen section. It wasn't until I found out the enormous pressure that they were under to make the diagnosis in that short period of time that I understood why. You have to realize that the pathologists have ten minutes to freeze, cut, stain the specimen and then make a diagnosis about whether or not the surgeon needs to go in and cut some more tissue out. Not exactly a low stress job.
  7. arthur v

    arthur v Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2001
    Dermatology is among the least stress-evoking specialties. Amelanotic melanomas are about the only crap-your-pants diagnoses you have to worry about making. Otherwise, the diagnostic and cure rates for all skin cancers are incredibly high. Other perks are good patient compliance and self-referral (people value their appearance), one of the top hours to pay ratios, and a predictable, structured schedule. I have yet to meet a stressed or unhappy dermatologist.
  8. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned Banned

    Aug 8, 2001
    OK people lets please try to understand the topic of this thread first before everybody starts spouting off about how any particular specialty is not stressful.

    The question at hand is not if any specialty is stress-free, the question is which residencies are LEAST stressful of all of them.

    Everybody knows that ALL specialties have some level of stress. But they are NOT all the same stress level.

    Say for example dermatology. Now I guarantee you some idiot is going to come on this thread and try to give evidence that derm is actually a very stressful specialty. Clearly its not NEARLY as stressful as some others. Yes, path does have some stress involved, but its not NEARLY as stressful as, say, surgery.
  9. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    I tend to agree that dermatology is probably one of the least stressful fields. You can exclude all surgery fields as they deal with stress by the knife. I'd have to say the radiation oncology is not stressful if you can deal with dying patients (not acutely, but inevitably sooner rather than later). I think outpatient rheumatology, allergery and immunology, endocrinology, PMR, sleep center medicine are all relatively low stress.
  10. Future GI Guy

    Future GI Guy Hoo Hoo.... 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    I remember one day, while I was working with a dermatologist, a teenage boy came in, and he must have had like 7 or 8 pimples on his face.

    We nearly crapped our pants it was so stressful.
    Desired Member likes this.
  11. scully

    scully Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 1999
    Big D
    Hey Voxel,

    You mention sleep center medicine... I have never heard of this -- can you elaborate? I know that sleep disorders sometimes are treated by neurologists and sometimes by pulmonary specialists. Is this area developing into a specialty of its own? It sounds really interesting!
  12. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    I think both neurologist and pulmonologists do this. I spoke to the chair of both departments and they told me that pulmonogists tend to run this outside of academia. There is a 1 year fellowship in sleep medicine after completing the pulm/crit care fellowship. Most of the time it's to diagnose sleep apnea and narcolepsy, but it is used for other disorders as well. Fairly low stress. Talk to someone at the university hospital who does this stuff. I spent a few days on this service and it was 9-5 mostly and low stress looking at videos, eeg and muscle movements along with vital signs during the sleep study.
  13. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer 10+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2001
    I would have to say path is not very stressful compared most other specialties. Sure there are certain parts of the job that are a little crazy. But, overall path has a very sweet lifestyle. There are not many specialties that you can sit in your big leather chair and listening to some nice music while you do your work. Where as a resident during "most" rotations I work 8 to 5 with no weekends and call from home. I do have to study outside of work. (these hours do not really apply during our surgical pathology rotation, where I usually work 60-70hours a week) If someone couldn't handle the stress of frozen sections (which most people I know don't really see as all that stressful) they could always do clinical pathology only.

    Another specialty which I would say could be low stress depending on the situation, Radiology without interventional.
  14. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    I agree that most diagnostic outpatient studies are not stressful, but when that trauma comes in to the hospital and the ER/Trauma docs order images from head to toe on a trauma patient and the trauma surgeon is breathing down your neck, you will understand that radiology at times can be stressful. Also, it's not too bad during the day, but covering an on call study at 3AM when you have already read a significant number of studies during the normal work day and on call earlier in the night, can be stressful. Sometimes one may need toothpicks to prompt open those eyes to read those late night studies and a strong cups of java the next morning to keep you awake through the work day.

    Interventional is another animal of course because of it's invasive nature, especially neurointerventional.

    If all you do is outpatient imaging then it may not be so bad. But radiology, like pathology I presume, always has the stress factor of "I better not miss anything on this study". Speaking of which, mammography can be very stressful. Not only because findings can be so subtle that they can only be appreciated retrospectively and the implications this has for the patient. In addition, radiologists are most frequently sued for misinterpreting mammographies, which is another source of stress as well. Mammography is one of the few studies that cause radiologists nightmares and sleepless nights. Also, how come it seems like the subtle "holy crap" finding studies occur on friday night just about when you are ready to leave for dinner and a show?
  15. Pinky

    Pinky and the Brain 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    While pondering this topic, I'd add that what's stressful to one person may not be to another. What's exciting for some, may cause much anxiety for others. Some of my friends become anxious when talking to patients, yet they are excited by the thought of cutting into patients. Others love meeting and talking to new patients, but are terrified at the thought of all the possible things that can go wrong in the OR.

    Many people would say that psych is relatively less stressful than anesthesia. However, for one friend, anesthesia causes less anxiety than psych because he is very uncomfortable dealing with all those patients with axis II disorders.
  16. bigfrank

    bigfrank SDN Donor 7+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2002
    Yes, the Axis II Borderline Personality Disorders often cause a great deal of confusion/rage/anxiety within everyone around them.

    Best wishes, Frank <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" />
  17. Future GI Guy

    Future GI Guy Hoo Hoo.... 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Speaking of Neuro-interventional radiology...

    Is this a radiology fellowship or a Neurology one? The Neurologists at my hospital talk like it's their responsibility to locate the lesion on imaging and target with tPA.
  18. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    It's a radiology fellowship. I can't say for sure that neurology guys/gals don't mess with this stuff either, but I've never seen or heard of a neurologist doing interventional stuff in the angio suite. Anyone hearing of neurology doing this?
  19. hosskp1

    hosskp1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    IF I wanted to be in a progfession without as much stress as medicine, I would have chosen to become a Stock broker or a lawyer. Give me a break-- everything about medicine can become stressful.
  20. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    It is naive to assume that those in the finance or law are not under stress levels similiar to physicians. Although physicians may have slightly higher levels in some ways the subjective stress that people feel in either of these three professions can be similiar.
  21. Sanman

    Sanman O.G. 10+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2000
    Well, I personally think that stockbroker's are under more pressure than any doctor. I'd hate to have to worry about getting fired w/ every downturn in the economy.Now thats got to suck.
  22. beezar

    beezar Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Both radiologists and neurosurgeons can do fellowships in neuroradiology I think.
  23. rad

    rad Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    you think wrong. both neurosurgeons and radiologists can do fellowships in neurointerventional radiology
  24. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member Physician 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    Although Voxel is usually "right on", I have to disagree that we would be "naive to assume that those in finance or law are not under stress levels similar to physicians". Although I always try to respect other professions, to think that the everyday stress of life/death of a patient or the future of a patient's health is a similar type of stress as whether the stock market goes up and down or if you lost a frivolous lawsuit b/c some old lady spilled coffee on her lap is way off.

    Many of my friends are lawyers and often tell me that they would not have the stress related to my future profession. Not only do they comment on the stress of how you are criticized if you make a mistake or if you miss a diagnosis on a patient as a physician, they also note that the malpractice issues can cause ridiculous undue stress (issues they are very familiar with).

    All professions have stress (some more than others) but I can think of only one "common" job with a similar type of stress as most physicians and that is a commercial airline pilot.

    When a AAA blows on the table, there is no stress like it in the world.

    My pick for least stressful specialty has to be dermatology. "If in doubt, cut it, freeze it, or come back in 1 month and we'll see."
  25. aldo16

    aldo16 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 15, 2002
    actually, Voxel is dead-on when he says that it is "naive" to assume that other professions don't have the same stress levels as physicians....

    contrary to what you think, most lawyers don't just make a living suing McDonald's for hot coffee, and those in finance aren't just playing some big game with numbers that go up and down...

    maybe you haven't heard of "judges" or "district attorneys"? or maybe you're not aware that pension funds and insurance companies, who provide money for people to retire upon and make it possible for people to receive health services, invest heavily in the stock market to provide for us all. Realize that there are individuals who ultimately make the "go"-"no-go" investment decisions, that ultimately affect us all.

    of course, I only use these examples cause you brought up law and finance. what about police officers, firefighters, nurses, military commanders, air trafffice controllers, etc? these all have the "high-stress" of saving lives that you claim is only inherent to physicians and pilots.

    it's a multi-faceted and complex society we live in my friend, in which many people take on positions of high responsibility that impact us all. it's time you get off your "I'm a doctor" high-horse and realize that.
  26. saori

    saori Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Pinky:
    <strong>While pondering this topic, I'd add that what's stressful to one person may not be to another. What's exciting for some, may cause much anxiety for others. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I absolutely agree with this. I have to say that I find surgery to be stressful, but I think emergency med is not as taxing on my nerves. It's all about what you love and what you feel comfortable with.
  27. bigfrank

    bigfrank SDN Donor 7+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2002
    I agree. It is certainly narcissistic for one to claim that a physician's job is "far and away" the most stressful possession. Every time a police offer pulls a person over, there is a very real chance that he/she might get shot at; every time a firefighter arrives upon the scene of a fire, there is obvious danger, etc.

    I think it's wonderful that each person in America finds a position that contributes to the whole.

    Best wishes, Frank.
  28. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member Physician 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    Oh how I love forums and the way everyone blows all words out of proportion. I have never been on a "doctor high horse" in my life and love the way simple words on a forum can be twisted to connotate what my real feelings are or are not.

    You may think what I'm about to say is semantics but it is not so please listen. The comment was that stress levels in these other professions is SIMILAR. That is blatantly wrong. The stress is totatlly different, totally. The stress levels in all of these other professions I'm sure is great although I have never walked in their shoes but to say that it is a "one-on-one, the person is looking in your face and depending on you to make the right decision" type of stress is wrong. Many professions have stress but don't have to look a person in the face after they've screwed up. Sure, there's stress in all professions and you couldn't pay me enough to be an air-traffic controller or front line military.

    Stress is tough to define but you know it's different if your dog dies compared to your child dying. A different type of stress, although both can be extremely stressful.

    Anyway, I could go on forever but this argument has no forseeable end. Until you or I have walked in everyone's shoes (and I've walked in a few different pair), you can never compare. There is no way to quantify stress so this post/thread is really futile.

    BTW, I hope everyone going into medicine thinks their job is THE MOST IMPORTANT job in the world. I sure know your patients will think so if you're taking care of them. Really, everyone should think their job is the most important job b/c it is when they're doing it.
  29. vhl

    vhl Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2000
    Let's not forget another very stressful job-being a stay at home parent! There if you screw up they are looking right at your face for the next 18 years, you are on call every night, with almost no vacation days unless you have very nice family near by, and you are expected to function as an "attending" after nine months of "premed courses"! :) There are very few jobs where you can feel guilty doing the RIGHT thing ("but mommy-every kid has a superblastonintendo, and gets to watch Gladiator-if I don't I'll be left out!") And, the worst part of all, by far, is that you have to watch Barney.
    Desired Member likes this.
  30. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member Physician 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    momoftwo has got a point. i give up, she wins! :D

    that is the most important job of all time, hands down. hard to argue with her logic.
  31. Knight

    Knight Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    New York
    Mom-of-two gave one of the best answers I've seen in this forum.

    BTW, even though Barney is a good show, kids watch things so repetitively that my wife would have dreams with Barney's music in the background. <img border="0" alt="[Pity]" title="" src="graemlins/pity.gif" />
  32. narinari

    narinari Banned

    Sep 6, 2011
    allergy, radiology, or dermatology.
  33. K31

    K31 Physician PhD 5+ Year Member

    May 10, 2011
    Nearly a decade--that's some impressive thread necromancy right there.
  34. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Tally/Willkillya County
    Radiology can be very stressful. Reading 100+ studies a day with the constant fear looming in the back of your head you will miss something. Being named in a lawsuit is extremely stressful.

    Crap... Just saw that date .
  35. supergumbo

    supergumbo 5+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2008
    It's quite funny seeing someone say stock brokers as less stressed than physicians, especially now in retrospect.
  36. dantt

    dantt Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2006
  37. Silent Cool

    Silent Cool Member Banned 10+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2005
  38. TooMuchResearch

    TooMuchResearch i'm goin' to Kathmandu... Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2008
    Townsville, USA
    As hilarious as your joke is, this is a 10 yo thread.

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