spiritedaway

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Sep 3, 2004
20
0
Status
I'm not trying to be a troll or anything, but I really am curious as to whether or not any of you have considered what life as an EM doc will be like 25 years from now, when we are all old and have back problems :rolleyes:
Do you guys think that the pressure and intensity will be too much? I'm worried that I wont be able to keep up with the excitement when I'm an old lady :( still working in the ER room. How do older docs deal with the irregular hours? Right now, working twelve hour night shifts doesnt seem much, but I imagine it will be real pain when I'm old and still working long night shifts, and dealing with irregular sleep patterns (which are really tiring on the body and unhealthy). Anyone else worried about this?
Any opinions or insight would be appreciated! :)
 

Eme-RG-ency

Medicine
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2004
47
0
Columbus, OH
Status
I think anyone going into EM has considered burn out as a possibility. People love to bring up burn out whenever you say you have chosen EM. My answer to the naysayers has always been, "If I get burnt, I will open an urgent care center and hire a bunch of PAs and NPs to work for me, sit back, and collect." I dont know if that will be a reality or not.

I have heard others on this board suggest that working less night shifts and becoming more acedemically and research oriented as the years go by is one solution to fight burn out. Others suggest that burn out does not exist for the EM residency trained EP. Who knows really? That would be a good research topic. I am sure there is a study done already.
 

bartleby

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2005
447
3
Status
First off, relatively few attending jobs I've seen do 12 hour shifts more than 20% of the time, and even then not on nights.

The burdens of age on a physician are by no means limited to EM. Ever wonder why you have to page that 60 year old cardiologist 5 times to get a callback at 1am? It's sort of a generally sad comment about modern medicine in general that you rarely see a doc practicing past "retirement" age these days, in contrast to the wise graybeard docs of the Norman Rockwell era.

The older attendings that I know >60 minimize stress on their bodies by trying to minimize schedule shifts. For one, that involves working only nights. For another, it means working mostly days and evenings.

I don't think that this is at all particular to emergency medicine, but given the way modern medicine works, I think that most of us are going to have some sort of second career outside of being a clinician whether we like it or not.
 

dlung

Postprelim intern oranges
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2004
352
1
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Dr. Wagner the chair at Drexel still works shifts and he's like... uh... 180yo or something. :D
 

Scrubbs

Chisellers beware!
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2003
1,065
12
NeverNeverLand
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
dlung said:
Dr. Wagner the chair at Drexel still works shifts and he's like... uh... 180yo or something. :D
Yes he does... and he's an amazing clinician! He doesn't work a lot of shifts though... maybe 1-2/wk and they're almost all morning shifts. I could probably do 1-2/wk when I'm 75. Not sure I'll want to, but I probably could. ;)
 

beriberi

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2004
250
0
midwasteland
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
Also, I have only been in this a short while, but I would guess that by the time you are 60, there are very few things that make your heart race. Even now, when I see a 75 year old lady with syncope and complicated medical history, a liver transplant with diarrhea and dizzy, a 3 year old who bumped their head and passed out for 30 sec (all routine and appropriate ED visits) it is hard to get my heart going fast enough to get out of the chair and pick up the chart. So, when you are 60 (or 50 or 40), I don't think you will be unable to handle the constant adrenaline--because I don't think there will be much of it. Which is why you should find something satisfying in EM (or any other field) beyone the rush of excitement.
 

SmallTownGuy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2005
80
2
Status
If you work hard when you are young and save appropriate amounts of money during this time, you should be able to slow down when you are fifty (say 1-2 shifts a week), and retire when you are 60. So I don't think that you would have to work many 12 hour shifts when you are older. Just my opinion.