Dec 3, 2009
6
0
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Misery as defined by websters:
1 : a state of suffering and want that is the result of poverty or affliction
2 : a circumstance, thing, or place that causes suffering or discomfort
3 : a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress

A state of great unhappiness or a circustance that causes suffering, those phrases ring true to me. I suffer and I am unhappy. Misery induced by being at the hospital for far too many hours.

What are the drivers of misery in residency? Is it the loss of autonomy? The shear physical brutality? Does misery invetibally occur one when is deprived of on of the basic necessities of life, sleep?

How can we be expected to be compassionate with our patients when the process by which we learn causes such great personal suffering?

This system of abuse must change.
 
Aug 4, 2009
884
3
0
Status
Attending Physician
It doesn't have to cause great personal suffering, President John Quincy Adams (I know who you really are!).

Residency is not a miserable experience for everyone, neither is it continuous misery when it is. Most residents experience some sort of misery at some point during their training, whether it is from being tired, overwhelmed with new information, studying for tests, stressing over what career path to take. But often it is temporary and broken up by periods of happiness and satisfaction.

If you are miserable all the time, you may have picked the wrong career. If you are never unhappy during residency, you may well be insane. But misery is not limited to residency nor is it limited to physicians.

Part of learning to be a physician is to learn how to handle these difficult situations and multitask. It isn't easy, but just because it is hard does not automatically make it abusive or inappropriate. At some point it obviously can cross this arbitrary line at some programs, but if residency is all peaches and cream and no one ever suffers at all or feels remotely unhappy than that residency is probably not teaching someone to be a good physician.
 

Knicks

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2007
1,400
7
141
Status
General comment: Even if someone "picked the wrong career", saying, "You picked the wrong career" to said person at this stage of their career isn't constructive. They're probably more aware than you are that they "may have picked the wrong career". So what? We can't expect such a person to drop what they're doing and try to stay afloat in their massive debts.
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,878
281
Status
Attending Physician
...
Residency is not a miserable experience for everyone, neither is it continuous misery when it is. Most residents experience some sort of misery at some point during their training, whether it is from being tired, overwhelmed with new information, studying for tests, stressing over what career path to take. But often it is temporary and broken up by periods of happiness and satisfaction.

If you are miserable all the time, you may have picked the wrong career. If you are never unhappy during residency, you may well be insane. ...
Agreed. Many find residency to be a blast a lot of the time. There's a ton of joking throughout the day, a lot of collegiality, and you just have to steer clear of the hostile personalities, keep your head down and do your job a lot of the time. Sure there are times when things go badly, you have to give bad news, or own up to things you should have gotten done that didn't get done (whether it was your fault or not). But there are always long stretches of relatively painless servitude. The only real downside is that the hours are pretty onerous, and most of us would like to be outside of the hospital more and hear the alarm clock later each day. But we all knew the deal going in. You aren't going to learn this stuff in a couple of years without putting in the hours, and everyone ahead of you paid their dues, even moreso before the 80 hour limits.

If you are truly hating it all the time, you may have picked badly. Either you are in a particularly malignant program, or you picked a field you shouldn't be in. If you stick with it, you will have more control over time, but the subject matter doesn't get any better, the personalities in each specialty don't change all that much over time, etc. So if there's truly nothing you are finding appealing, think long and hard about where you are going with this. If you are simply venting, then hopefully this release helped you some, and carry on.
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,878
281
Status
Attending Physician
General comment: Even if someone "picked the wrong career", saying, "You picked the wrong career" to said person at this stage of their career isn't constructive. They're probably more aware than you are that they "may have picked the wrong career". So what? We can't expect such a person to drop what they're doing and try to stay afloat in their massive debts.
Changing fields, or even careers (as some of us did), is not unheard of. It's better than living in "misery" the rest of your life.
 

Knicks

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2007
1,400
7
141
Status
Changing fields, or even careers (as some of us did), is not unheard of. It's better than living in "misery" the rest of your life.
Yes, we know.

But my point was that telling said person something they most likely already know (especially something like, "ZOMG! yew chOze teH RONG kuhREAR!11!!!) isn't going to help things, such as morale. I was just saying that more constructive things can be said instead.

:)
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,878
281
Status
Attending Physician
Yes, we know.

But my point was that telling said person something they most likely already know (especially something like, "ZOMG! yew chOze teH RONG kuhREAR!11!!!) isn't going to help things, such as morale. I was just saying that more constructive things can be said instead.

:)
Actually, there is nothing more constructive, more empowering than saying "dude, if you don't like your life, then fix it". OP is in the driver's seat here. Might take a while to pay off debts, but there is no reason a highly educated individual can't find a job that won't make them miserable at a minimum, and maybe even one they actually enjoy. You have ownership over your life. If you don't like it, think about whether the road you are on is the right one, and if it isn't, start looking for exit ramps to things that would be better. Another specialty is the obvious easy path, a whole new career considerably harder. But the first step is necessarily going to be having an epiphany that you are in the wrong place and that you have the power to change that.
 

Blue Dog

Fides et ratio.
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2006
12,066
4,761
281
Status
Attending Physician
Actually, there is nothing more constructive, more empowering than saying "dude, if you don't like your life, then fix it". OP is in the driver's seat here. Might take a while to pay off debts, but there is no reason a highly educated individual can't find a job that won't make them miserable at a minimum, and maybe even one they actually enjoy. You have ownership over your life. If you don't like it, think about whether the road you are on is the right one, and if it isn't, start looking for exit ramps to things that would be better. Another specialty is the obvious easy path, a whole new career considerably harder. But the first step is necessarily going to be having an epiphany that you are in the wrong place and that you have the power to change that.
:):thumbup:
 

Knicks

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2007
1,400
7
141
Status
Actually, there is nothing more constructive
Yes, there is/can be. I was just trying to say there are other, MORE constructive things you can say to a person in that situation.

If someone is that miserable in their field, they most likely would get a hunch that they're not on the "right path". So there's no need to shove it down said person's throat, esp. when there are a lot more other types of constructive 'criticisms' available.

Not here to argue with anyone, ever.


Just my 0.02.

Peace.
 

yaah

Boring
Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2003
27,933
306
581
Fixing in 10% neutral buffered formalin
Status
Attending Physician
The other thing to remember is that some people just simply feed off of being miserable. I'm sure you have all met these individuals. If they were trust-fund kids with no job or responsibilities they would still find a way to claim their life is miserable.

Part of the problem with medicine is that many driven individuals flock to medicine for the wrong reasons. Either their parents push them into it or they feel it is proper career for them to excel in. But it doesn't always work that way, and finding out by the time it's too late is not really acceptable (although sometimes it's unavoidable). People get on the med school train at an early age, and focus on it without knowing much else about life. If they take any time off it usually isn't to experience real life, but to do something like travel around the world to "find themselves" or improve their CV a bit more by volunteering. Many of the happiest physicians are the ones who entered medicine after trying something else first - the perspective can help.

But anyone who is contemplating a career like medicine where not only do you have to train post-college for 7+ years, but often take out huge loans that you will need to work until retirement to pay off had better be damn sure it's what they want. If you aren't sure, then take more time to figure it out. If you go into medicine for the right reasons for you personally, the misery will be a lot less.