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CalendarJ

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Hello! I'm hoping to get some more background on the lifestyle and workloads of physician scientists.

Do you often have to work overnight? Is it socially acceptable to work <60-hour weeks? How do you see lifestyle vary between fields, specifically with physician scientists?

Background: 3rd year undergraduate. I like research, enjoy being in hospitals, and think teaching graduate students/residents would be fun long-term. I like computational genetics, so I'm thinking PhD computational biology, MD, and internal medicine/pediatrics + clinical genetics may be a good fit. I also like sleep, however. I've worked jobs where I have to be on-call overnight and/or sleep little for a day or two and I can do it pretty well, but I don't think think I want that lifestyle long-term-health wise.
 
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TurtleGnome

Hello! I'm hoping to get some more background on the lifestyle and workloads of physician scientists.

Do you often have to work overnight? Is it socially acceptable to work <60-hour weeks? How do you see lifestyle vary between fields, specifically with physician scientists?

Background: 3rd year undergraduate. I like research, enjoy being in hospitals, and think teaching graduate students/residents would be fun long-term. I like computational genetics, so I'm thinking PhD computational biology, MD, and internal medicine/pediatrics + clinical genetics may be a good fit. I also like sleep, however. I've worked jobs where I have to be on-call overnight and/or sleep little for a day or two and I can do it pretty well, but I don't think think I want that lifestyle long-term-health wise.
As an attending, you have a good measure of control of your schedule.
Residency is always hell, from what I’ve heard.
 

Neuronix

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The problem as I see it is that you just have little control of your life as an MD/PhD and your life is constantly changing.

Some months will be worse than others. Some (many?) months will require 80 hours a week. Some months will be a lot easier than that. Some months will require being up overnight. Most will not.

Residencies and faculty positions vary a lot. In pathology you're not going to be working overnight. In surgery you better not have problems being sleep deprived (even as an attending). There's a whole range of possibilities out there. Throw in a lab and you may be working 12 hours M-F plus weekends but with good sleep hygeine. That might be ok for you, it might not.
 
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SurfingDoctor

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Research does provide flexibility. A significant portion of research is reading, learning, writing. That can be done anywhere and at anytime. Additionally, with most computer system linked to networks, I can analyze data, create graphs, etc. on my work computer from home. Some of my best work (writing, analyzing and creating figures) was done at home while having a bourbon... at least the parts that were legible.

But I still work overnight and have in house call. It can vary in that I can get 4 to 6 hours of sleep while on call or absolutely no sleep and am pushing fluids and intubating patients at 4am with no rest. The down side is, usually, I go into the lab the next day or have meetings till early afternoon (and sometimes 4pm), thus I've worked 36 consecutive hours with no sleep. Then I have stuff to do the rest of the week and on weekends. A typical work week is probably about ~60 hours, but at least once a month, its around 100 hours in a week. It is what it is, but like I said, research provides some flexibility in the schedule.
 
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