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The rigors of practicing medicine?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by jennyO, May 7, 2002.

  1. jennyO

    jennyO Junior Member

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    I just have a question for all those poeple out there who are experiencing the rigors of residency.

    When it really comes right down to it, with all the hours and work you are putting into your jobs, in caring for patients, do you really feel that 1)the workload is actually manageable - in other words, do the hours you are putting in make you so tired that you can't think anymore? And 2) Is it really worth it - are you in a sense really satisfied with what you are doing or are you burned out with everything?

    I was just wondering because I am getting mixed reviews from doctors I work with (I am premed student) and some of them are seriously steering me away from medicine, claiming that it is too complex, too much work and too much stress.

    Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated, thanks!
     
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  3. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member
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    Tough question. I believe most residents, albeit exhausted, see residency as "a means to an end". I've heard the arguments by previous generations saying if they had to do it over again, they wouldn't. Depends on what you want. For myself, having done other things and being much older than the average resident starting out, I can't imagine doing anything else. And yeah, I am tired. But I know that this, too, will pass.

    Consider your alternatives. If nothing ignites your passion like medicine does, then you've made the right decision for yourself, regardless of what others may have told you. That, I believe, is your litmus test.

    Good luck to you.
     
  4. jennyO

    jennyO Junior Member

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    Thanks for the reply NuMd97. I too am starting out older, I am 29 and wouldn't enter medical school until I am 31/32. It's comforting to know that I am not alone at this age in trying to attain this endeavor.
     
  5. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member
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    Let me put it this way, Jen: You would not believe how many folk in their 50's I met still in training. One was even going to school sandwiched between her two sons. And when I last saw her, was embarking on her second residency. Obviously, money was not a prime objective. By some standards, you are still very young. It just all depends on what you want. If the desire is there, so is the means to obtain it.

    I wish you well on your journey.

    Nu
     
  6. Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist Member
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    Here I go, spouting off at the mouth...

    It is my opinion that there are some people who are going to be miserable no matter what they are doing. In fact, as a society (particularly among professional/well-educated individuals) we often seem to play a game of one-ups-manship of just how miserable we are. He who suffers the most and is most bitter about it wins.

    A good friend of mine once said, "All jobs are hard." I think that there is an element of truth to that. True, some jobs or professions are more demanding in some ways than others, but in the end anything worthwhile (and probably anything not worthwhile) that you do will have challenges that have the potential to make you miserable. Furthermore, there are probably many jobs that are not good matches for your skills and personality that will make you miserable no matter how optimistic and spirited you happen to be.

    As far as medicine goes, I think that on the whole it is a fantastic profession. You get paid well for helping other people; in fact in many fields of medicine you can profoundly influence other people and society for the better. True, medicine has its problems. So does every other profession. My previous occupation, in scientific research, also had serious problems. The difference is that in medicine you help people directly in potentially profound ways, and you are paid well.

    Having said that, there are probably many people out there who are not good matches for a career in medicine. If you don't like working directly with people, most fields of medicine are a bad choice. If you don't like complicated systems and intricate organization, medicine is a bad choice. I'm sure that there are many other reasons as well.

    I am convinced that people in medicine who are miserable are either: 1) people whose personality/talents don't match medicine (or their specialty); 2) people are immature and fall into the "I'm so miserable" trap; or 3) they have run afoul some of the real problems in medicine and have been hurt badly by them.

    The important thing to realize is that these three types of people can be found in any job. What can't be found in just any job is the good pay, excellent job security, and potential to help people that is found in medicine.
     
  7. jdm

    jdm Member
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    Very intelligent and thoughtful reply, MSc. I think you're right.
     
  8. TheThroat

    TheThroat SDN Moderator
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    Residency is certainly not all that bad (IMHO). I am on-call eleven times this month, I come to the hospital at 5:30 and usually leave between 6 and 7 pm. That said, while I am in house, I enjoy what I do. I am respected by the nursing staff, appreciated by my patients, and am trusted to do a good job by my seniors. When I go home, I enjoy relaxing. In fact, I have been given this weekend off (after rounding Sat. AM). I got into this profession with the idea that life would be hard and am pleasantly surprised that its quite livable. Could I do something else? Sure, but I wouldn't be doing what I wanted to do then.
     
  9. jennyO

    jennyO Junior Member

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    Hey Throat,

    That's great to hear that you like what you do and that it is definitely manageable. I thought that might be the case. And I agree with what Madscientist said as well. Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.
     

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