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Residency in surgery vs. IM or FP

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Murphy Brown

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I know this is a pre-med forum, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to post in the residency forum and I know residents read this forum so here goes. Taking a break from my MCAT studies, I have a question about specialties.

Say I do a residency in general surgery and work in that field, but then after I retire, I still want to do some part-time work. Would it be possible to just be a regular family practice doc? Would I be licensed to practice daily medicine or just surgery?
 

AmoryBlaine

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Primary care these days is a specialty, not just a default. I suppose you'd be able to hang out your shingle as a "general practitioner" but that practice model is long outdated.

The knowledge base required to be a good surgeon is vastly different than that required to be a good internist.

Aside from that, the chances that someone who practiced a lifetime of surgery would want to "slow down" by doing primary care are slim.
 

smq123

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I know this is a pre-med forum, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to post in the residency forum and I know residents read this forum so here goes. Taking a break from my MCAT studies, I have a question about specialties.

Say I do a residency in general surgery and work in that field, but then after I retire, I still want to do some part-time work. Would it be possible to just be a regular family practice doc? Would I be licensed to practice daily medicine or just surgery?

- You can post anywhere on SDN that you want. I can't guarantee that you'll get a pleasant answer, but you can post wherever. People might say, "Get back to pre-allo, and stay out of the residency forum until you're actually a resident!," but they can't enforce that. And they usually only say that if you're being obnoxious or arrogant.

- It might be possible to be a regular FP doctor, but I can't imagine that people would actually want to go to you. Your knowledge of how to take care of patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal thyroids, etc. will be very out of date. Furthermore, unlike FP doctors, you won't know how to treat children, and you won't know how to take care of pregnant women.

FP is not a "default" specialty that every physician can practice. It is its own specialty now.

- If you were a surgeon, I can't imagine that you'd even WANT to practice FP, even if you are retired. FP and surgery are so very different from each other....and a lot of surgeons became surgeons BECAUSE they didn't like the routine problems that you encounter in FP or IM.

There are a number of surgeons who work "part time." They keep in contact with the surgery world by doing very basic, quick procedures - biopsies, gall bladder removals, etc. Or, they turn to teaching, and organize lecture series for surgery residents, etc.

It's pretty rare to hear of a surgeon doing FP after retirement, I would say.
 

Murphy Brown

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Well I'm talking after I retire, not 10 years in or anything. If I wanted to work part-time and do something like that, could I legally do it? Or would I need to be board certified in FP or something? And can you get BC without a residency in that field?
 

Murphy Brown

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OK thanks. I didn't know you could work part time in surgery.
 

NTF

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Alot of surgeons also spend their "retirement" raising money for surgical mission trips to third world countries. Something tells me you'd want to avail people of your expertise in retirement rather than flounder around in a field that you're not really prepared for.
 

Pedsbro

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Uh, maybe I have a completely unique view on the subject, but when I retire, it means I will NOT be working anymore...especially if I was a surgeon for 30 years.

And what exactly is part-time for a surgeon I wonder...? Instead of a 60+ hour week, is it a modest 40-45?:rolleyes:
 

whuppit

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I asked almost the exact same question during my 1st year. My idea was to go the Medicine route to specialize and then fall back on my generalist training to work as an internist/fp if I ever got bored of doing the same thing every day.

It's unlikely for a couple of reasons. First, just the fact of not using knowledge or skills for years at a time will mean that you'd forget a lot of it, and what you do remember will be far behind the state of the art. You hear "use it or lose it" a lot and it's true.

Second, although legally with an MD you can go somewhere and hang your shingle, (just as "legally" you can perform just about any procedure), you'd have a hell of a time finding malpractice insurance without board certification or residency training first. If you're part of a large practice you could be covered by a group malpractice, but I think they'd discourage going "outside your field" for fear of opening them up to litigation if something goes wrong. Same as above, and just as depressing.

There are ways to get a good generalist fix if you like: you could volunteer for a free clinic, work overseas, perhaps a practice will cover you if you moonlight, or if you work in a rural area the scarcity of practitioners will require you to have a broad scope.
 

DeadCactus

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"
Uh, maybe I have a completely unique view on the subject, but when I retire, it means I will NOT be working anymore...especially if I was a surgeon for 30 years.

And what exactly is part-time for a surgeon I wonder...? Instead of a 60+ hour week, is it a modest 40-45?:rolleyes:
"

Retirement means no longer working to pay the bills and fund your entertainment. Plenty of people continue onto other projects or work related activities. The difference is being able to say "screw this" and take off for a few weeks without worrying about paying the bills.

As for retired/part-part time surgeons, one of my interviewers was a retired Ortho Surgeon. He'd scrub in and assist colleagues in surgeries. Without being in charge, you downsize a lot of the time commitment in surgery...
 

Terpskins99

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I know this is a pre-med forum, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to post in the residency forum and I know residents read this forum so here goes. Taking a break from my MCAT studies, I have a question about specialties.

Say I do a residency in general surgery and work in that field, but then after I retire, I still want to do some part-time work. Would it be possible to just be a regular family practice doc? Would I be licensed to practice daily medicine or just surgery?
I know I'm going to get a lot of heat for saying this...

But I don't see why not. General surgeons already spend 1/2 their time in outpatient clinics anyhow. And they routinely have to manage in-patients as well (many of whom that will have chronic medical issues). As long as you are able to stay on top of the major primary care topics (such as preventive medicine, outpatient pediatrics, chronic disease management), then I don't think it'd be that difficult of a transition to make going into primary care.

The issue of board certification would be tricky. Usually this is more of a concern for fields that are heavy on diagnostics (e.g. radiology, pathology) or procedures (surgery), but less so with primary care since they will refer many of their patients to specialists. I know of many emergency medicine docs in the mid-west that are not board-certified in emergency medicine.
 
N

njbmd

I know this is a pre-med forum, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to post in the residency forum and I know residents read this forum so here goes. Taking a break from my MCAT studies, I have a question about specialties.

Say I do a residency in general surgery and work in that field, but then after I retire, I still want to do some part-time work. Would it be possible to just be a regular family practice doc? Would I be licensed to practice daily medicine or just surgery?

There are some surgeons that don't operate and do some work in Urgent Care Centers for part time work. Many of us as surgery residents, worked in places like emergency rooms in VA hospitals or urgicare centers for some extra bucks once we had an independent license. This is usually shift work but you can get a paycheck. Once you have a license to practice medicine in a state, you are not limited by the state but limited by the third party payers.

If you do not complete a residency in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine, it's kind of difficulty to open a practice as a Family Medicine specialist or Internal Medicine Specialist as many insurance carriers won't list you as a provider for primary care without being board eligible.
 

Law2Doc

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If you do not complete a residency in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine, it's kind of difficulty to open a practice as a Family Medicine specialist or Internal Medicine Specialist as many insurance carriers won't list you as a provider for primary care without being board eligible.

Yeah, the insurance reason is the biggest reason this simply isn't practical any longer.
 
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