tjmDO

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So here I sit, a third year medical student approaching my final year in la la land and I am contemplating my future. I was a paramedic while in college and a paramedic firefighter for one year before medcial school. I have worked in the ER of several different hospitals and I loved it. The reason I went to medical school was to be an emergency medicine physician. But damnit I love surgery too!!. But the lifestyle sucks ass!! Can anyone reasure me to my #1 choice of EM. I know your going to say "ah your just a 3rd year you have plenty of time" but aren't we in need of setting up interview rotations? Of course we are, so I have setup 3 em rotations for fourth year in hopes of becoming an EM physician. Will I have enough procedures in my career to satisfy my love of surgery and the time off to enjoy life as well? I know I'll love EM, but just need some pats on the back and told this is the way to go, after all mom doesn't live here anymore. lol. Thanks
 

roja

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It depends on why you love surgery. Is it that you love working with your hands? I to loved surgery (ortho and vascular) however, never considered it a career option. I hated clinic, I hated managing the floor patients. The only thing I liked was the surgeries. And who doesn't. But I dind't like it enough to put up with all the other crap.

I knew ER would satisfy my 'procedure' inclinations because I like to sew, I like to intubate (don't get to do that as a surgeon), occasionally put in a chest tube, etc. And all that other stuff? well, I have 3 drills (two cordless, one higher power) and lots of tools. I love home depot. I use my hands as a sculptor and an artist. So I kind of have that stuff to satisfy those 'working with hands' issues.

Why I also knew I would never want to be a surgeon over EM, I like the thought process of medical issues alot more. Complex medicine type issues aren't adressed by surgeons. I also like the diversity. I didn't want to limit myself to one aspect of medicine.

I like gyn, ortho, medicine, surgery, peds (okay, not really but occasionally), cardiology, tox, environmental, etc etc etc.

so. there you go.

if you love em, its not really a choice. the two are nothing alike. best of luck.
 

bartleby

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I too started med school with the idea in mind that I'd wind up in Emergency Medicine, and true to my hunches, I did. But I took a cold, hard look at several other specialties (anesthesia in particular) before I was absolutely sure.

I don't think that I would burn all my electives on EM given the efact that you have some doubts. 2 months in the ED before Oct. should be plenty of time to settle some of your doubts and secure a couple of good evals and letters of recommendation. You should register for a hard-core surgery sub-internship and spend the month with the mindset that you're going to be a surgeon. It will be a no-lose proposition. Programs you apply to (or, any worth going to) will respect the fact that you took a month to scope out another interest, gain procedural experience and get some perspective on emergency medicine. You will either: a) realize that surgery really is your calling or b) go running back to the ED and never look back.

The rest of your career is a long time to say to yourself every shift, "Gee... I wonder if I would've liked surgery better..."
 

Powder

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Don't worry you will know after your 1st EM rotation, if you loved showing up in the morning and were excited abouth the next day, EM is the place for you. If not may be you are a surgeon. Two EM electives are more than enough. Good luck with your decission :cool:
 

roja

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bartleby said:
I too started med school with the idea in mind that I'd wind up in Emergency Medicine, and true to my hunches, I did. But I took a cold, hard look at several other specialties (anesthesia in particular) before I was absolutely sure.

I don't think that I would burn all my electives on EM given the efact that you have some doubts. 2 months in the ED before Oct. should be plenty of time to settle some of your doubts and secure a couple of good evals and letters of recommendation. You should register for a hard-core surgery sub-internship and spend the month with the mindset that you're going to be a surgeon. It will be a no-lose proposition. Programs you apply to (or, any worth going to) will respect the fact that you took a month to scope out another interest, gain procedural experience and get some perspective on emergency medicine. You will either: a) realize that surgery really is your calling or b) go running back to the ED and never look back.

The rest of your career is a long time to say to yourself every shift, "Gee... I wonder if I would've liked surgery better..."

Excellent post and advice!
 

Freeeedom!

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At our EM residency we happen to have multiple previous surgical residents who simply decided that they disliked the surgical lifestyle and residency process. They all made their decision to enter EM willingly and some even after 3 years of surgical residency. They seem to emphasize the attitude of EM is much more relaxed and promotes a "healthier and happier" resident. They never looked back.
 

Eme-RG-ency

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I understand your dilemma. I actually went through similar woes in December. I had 3 years of ER experience before med school. For my first two years, I tried to keep my options open and stayed away from the ER club and the tried to focus on other areas of medicine. I felt that it would be way too easy for me to choose EM. My third year, every rotation I went on, I liked and started looking of residency programs that I might match in that area. IM, loved being the detective... OB, loved delivering babies... GAS, loved drinking coffee all day... PEDS, ok, no love... FP, loved joking with the patients... SURG, hated standing still, but found it fascinating, like using my hands.

In December, I sorted it all out. I was getting stressed about it. I stayed in student housing over Christmas, 2000 miles from home, to clear my head and figure out what I was going to do. A couple nights a week up to that point, I had been volunteering in the ER during the evenings trying to pick up some clinical perils. I was on my surgery rotation at the time.

One day when I was driving home from the hospital, it hit me, it was that nostalgic feeling of working in the ED. For some reason, I had forgotten that feeling. It was this feeling: When I worked in the ER, I never worked for a paycheck. It was the only job in the endless list of jobs that I have had that I didn't care how much money I was making. It didn't matter to me. I was drove home that night saying to myself, "I love this ****, why the hell would I even consider another specialty."

From that point, its almost been a big stress off my shoulders. I know what I want to do now. No more worrying, it will just fall into place from here.

I agree with the above... you will know after your first EM rotation if its right for you. Hang in there.
 

Jeff698

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Try the 'people test'. Hang out with EPs on your rotation and see how well you fit in. Do the same with surgeons on your surgery rotation.

For me, the best fit, hands down, was EM. That is one of many, many reasons EM is for me.

Take care and good luck!
Jeff
 

bartleby

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The irony of the situation is that when I'm talking to "normal people" who aren't in medicine, they always say, "How can you stand to work in the ER? It must be so crazy!" What they don't realize is that the parts of the job they think would be intolerable are relatively easy to handle (the human drama, seeing people with extra parts, missing parts, and mashed up parts). And, as I often tell them, emergency medicine is one of the last pockets of sanity in modern medicine.

Freeeedom! said:
At our EM residency we happen to have multiple previous surgical residents who simply decided that they disliked the surgical lifestyle and residency process. [snip] They seem to emphasize the attitude of EM is much more relaxed and promotes a "healthier and happier" resident. They never looked back.
 

DOrk

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Jeff698 said:
Try the 'people test'. Hang out with EPs on your rotation and see how well you fit in. Do the same with surgeons on your surgery rotation.

For me, the best fit, hands down, was EM. That is one of many, many reasons EM is for me.
Jeff698 said:
I think this is the best advice of all. One of my favorite experiences in med school so far was when my EM attending took the whole night shift crew out for beers at 7 AM. It was right then that I knew EM was for me. :)