1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice

Medicine versus Surgery = Lifestyle versus Career?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by hashimoto87, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. hashimoto87

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    MD/PhD Student
    I just finished my 3rd year and am finding myself in the predicament of choosing between medicine and surgery. I would love to hear any perspective anyone has on this!

    I had my medicine clerkship first, and I loved it I think mainly because it was the first clinical rotation and I just loved seeing patients instead of reading about them. I enjoyed rounds mainly because they helped me learn at the time, but I don't think I could enjoy rounding as much now. I also found outpatient internal medicine and family medicine really frustrating to not get alot "done" for the patients.

    Then, I had OB/GYN. I enjoyed the surgical aspect of it, and a little bit of the women's health aspect, but it was definitely NOT fitting with my personality.

    At the time, I was engaged to a surgeon, and I was hoping and praying that I wouldn't like surgery because I knew that we would have a rough life both being surgeons. Lo and behold, I ended up loving surgery! I would find myself waiting for the next day to come so that I could be in the OR. I loved the pre-op diagnostic process, the OR, and post-op management. Personality-wise, I enjoyed being around go-getters, and I also enjoyed their sense of being serious when it was necessary but also having a great sense of humor during downtime. I was uncomfortable a couple of times being a woman and when the male residents/attendings made comments about women, but in general, it just pushed me to work harder.

    My school is known to have an "easier" surgery rotation because our hours were around 5 AM - 6 PM, and only 4 24 hour calls in our 2 month rotation. So although I loved it, sometimes I am hesitant as to whether I can do it or not in terms of the hours. I mean I definitely didn't enjoy not sleeping much as most people wouldn't, but once I made it to the hospital, I didn't notice the tiredness at all. It's also very difficult to imagine how I would feel about working this hard 10 years down the road.

    Then, I did a rotation in ENT and GI because I wanted to give interventional specialties with better lifestyles a chance. In terms of ENT - small surgeries and nasal and ear surgeries are not for me, and I was told that it is too difficult to only do head and neck. I liked GI, but I don't want to ONLY do endoscopies/colonoscopies/ERCP/MRCP for the rest of my life. I want to be able to work with gross organs and my hands during interventions a lot more.

    I haven't done emergency medicine officially, but I have done some time in peds ED, and I think it may a bit too chaotic for me. I like to have just a little bit more control over what I will see every day.

    I've also thought about anesthesia - I haven't officially done a rotation, but I think I would miss being on the operative side of it.

    As soon as I had decided that surgery was for me and I was on my way to plan my career, my fiance basically broke up with me, and I think mainly because of this lifestyle and me being a surgeon issue. So now, it really scares me to choose this specialty where I feel like I will scare men away for not being the conventional woman willing to devote her time to family and life. I am not saying I am living my life for a man, but I would like to meet someone and have a family at some point, and I feel like most men don't want to be with strong, career-driven women. I feel like my decision to do GI versus Surgery stems down to do I want a family or do I want a career?

    That was long, but I would love any insight into this dilemma because I am at a major crossroads in my life and feel a little lost. Even any advice on specialities I haven't considered thoroughly including emergency med or anesthesia would be extremely helpful!

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. virie

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Sounds pretty clear to me that you belong in surgery, if you really love it that much. I personally wouldn't tolerate the horrible lifestyle of residency and of a faculty position. What you are thinking about your fiance is probably true, but if you really have that surgeon mentality, then I'm not sure why he proposed to you in the first place. I would be surprised if I fell for a female surgeon honestly, simply based on my personality and my interactions so far. Most female surgeons are far more outgoing and into guy stuff than I am. That being said, I liked surgery more than medicine.
     
  4. 2012mdc

    2012mdc Enjoying the Dark Side
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,269
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I say go for what will make you happy. If being a surgeon will make you happy than you can make it work for your family life. It sounds like you really want to do surgery. You might scare some men off but do you want to be married to someone who is intimidated by a career oriented woman? Do you and the rest of it will fall in place.

    I know a female Gen Surg resident who recently married an Anesthesia resident who the females regarded as very attractive.
     
  5. officedepot

    Removed 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    1
    if your fiance broke up with you because of what you wanted to do in life then he obviously wasn't the right person for you. No loss I would say. Do what you love and what makes you happy. Surgey clearly does.

    And yes you can have a life. Talk to some attendings at your school who are female. You don't have to be in the OR all day. Also remember that at most you really are in the OR only 3 days a week and clinic 2 days a week with weekends off (you'll have to round on post-op pts though) so the hours aren't as bad as they seem once you are finished with residency. Just do the 5 yrs general and a 1yr fellowship in something that you enjoy and your training won't be any longer than most fields out there.

    Also the hours in fields like IM can be rough depending on where you are rotating for the month. If you are in a big hospital ward rotation with 20 pts on your team you will be working hard. And you will be working long weekends during residency. Same goes for lots of other fields. Residency in general for most areas have long hours. Yes some are worse than others but IM I would say, on average (if you are inpatient), is probably not that easy.
     
  6. Bartelby

    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,239
    Likes Received:
    418
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I think being the spouse of a surgeon would be hard. It doesn't really matter whether they are male or female. I can't imagine only getting to spend one day a week with a burnt-out and tired shell of my significant other. It doesn't seem fair.

    That said, as the above posters mentioned the most terrible hours will be during residency. After that the rumors suggest that you can do private practice and work a more reasonable schedule. Since IM isn't a stroll in the park either (probably 12 hour days during residency 5.5 days/week) and will last about as long as surgery residency you probably should do what you most enjoy. Just look into it to find out if you can really have time for yourself once you finish. Until that time, though, realize that a lot of people might be scared off because they just feel like they can't handle spending the next 5+ years in a relationship with a person who can't be there for them (I don't mean to be harsh, just looking at it from the significant other's perspective).
     
  7. cpants

    cpants Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,623
    Likes Received:
    250
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Guy sounds like a loser. If he can't handle a 2 surgeon couple, maybe he should ge the one who quits. Try a rotation in GU. You still get to do intraabdominal cases, plus some great outpatient stuff, and relatively better lifestyle than surgery.
     
  8. DeadCactus

    DeadCactus SDN Lifetime Donor
    Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,512
    Likes Received:
    568
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Plenty of house wives can't handle being married to a surgeon. I don't know why a surgeon who doesn't want to be married to another surgeon gets so much flack...

    Not everyone is going to be willing to be with a surgeon, male or female. But abandoning surgery over it makes about as much sense as going to medical school to attract a partner.
     
  9. Slevin

    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,897
    Likes Received:
    53
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    Hey going to med school to find a partner is the only reason I went to med school. Haha
     
  10. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    7,607
    Likes Received:
    333
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    IM = 3 yrs, GS = 5 yrs.
     
  11. DrCoffeeBean

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    At the end of the day you have to be happy with what you are doing. If the surgery love gets you out of bed in the morning then go ahead and embrace it! The right guy will come along, you will just have to be honest with him from the very beginning about your working hours.

    If it is the family + 3 kids that you want, then I would seriously consider specialties that give you more free time.

    Do your homework and be realistic about the hours you will have to work after you finish your residency. Most importantly, listen to your heart! The rest will sort itself out.
     
  12. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Messages:
    16,978
    Likes Received:
    43
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    He did. He quit the relationship. What's the problem?
     
  13. Bartelby

    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,239
    Likes Received:
    418
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    True, but I think the OP wanted to do GI if she went the IM route.
     
  14. albertnices

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its informative one provides a lots of data related to topic so provide information related to that.
     

Share This Page