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Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by osumc2014, Jul 28, 2011.
Would you pick a specialty based on having more time with your husband/wife/bf/gf/kids (even pets!)?
No. Mainly because at the moment I haven't met The One I can build my life around. For me the choice of specialty comes under serious decisions heading and I am not willing to alter significant aspects of my life around not a very serious bf/gf/pet, nor banking on what if I suddenly meet him/her scenario.
It's a factor. Having a work-life balance is something to consider as you get older.
Personally it's not at the top of my list and it's not at the bottom. Maybe I'm getting old - it used to be at the bottom but now I can see some of the benefits...
I did, and I currently have none of those things.
No. Those other parts of my life are considerations, but not a reason in an of themselves to make a choice one way or the other.
I did. It helped that I also loved a lifestyle friendly specialty.
I'm not married and don't have kids but figure I will one day, and I'd rather spend time with them than work my whole life.
Now if I actually loved something terrible like surgery not sure what I would have done. Probably still would have gone with lifestyle over 'love' of specialty.
Yes, I did. However none of the real lifestyle killers floated my boat that much. I think it's OK to decide what things you want in life and arrange career choice accordingly, especially if it keeps you from getting burned out after 15 years of practice.
not solely but it's an important consideration. I changed my mind a lot during med school and ultimately decided on rads but lifestyle friendly specialties like anesthesia, optho, and psych were never considered so interest played a large role as well.
Yes. I have already eliminated the specialty that initially got me interested in medicine, because of lifestyle conflicts.
Right. It's not either/or ('good lifestyle' v 'something you like'). So it factors high on my list of important things to consider but does not determine my choice.
By my weighing of the factors, though, I would rule out pretty much any specialty that works me all the time. I feel miserable doing that, not in some abstract or hypothetical way but in a very real way. Different people react differently to that workload I guess.
I've already basically sworn to my wife I won't do surgery (unless its Opth/ENT/Uro), now if I ends up that some surgical field is the only field I could see myself enjoying, then I'm sure she would rather me do that than be miserable. But for now I'm planning on not even considering surgery.
I think this is one of those "to each their own" deals. You have to balance this out for yourself.
It was a the tiebreaker for me.
thanks for the replies! yes my SO said she'd rather I do something I enjoy than just go lifestyle, although she does demand some time so we ll see!
Doesn't every specialty have the potential to be a lifestyle specialty once you're out of residency (ex. work how long/hard you want to as long as you're okay with a corresponding adjustment to income)?
If that's the case, considering a significant portion of your life will be spent working, I feel like I'd rather choose a field I love and just tough it out during residency (if the field involves long hours) instead of choosing to have a better lifestyle during residency in a field I only like/tolerate. That's just me at the moment though; for all I know, my outlook could easily change during med school.
Yes. I thought everyone does that. Lifestyle is very important. I plan to work 45hours/week MAXIMUM when i am a doctor, hopefully just 36-40hours a week as i become a more senior physician. thus my specialty and residency choices are based on that.
Life is not just about career. My life outside of work is important. Time to date, hang out, spend time with kids.
Reality hits hard.
I think specialty choice is all about finding balance. As my advisor put it, "it is not a gut feeling, it is practical choice made by weighing a lot of different variables." You need to look practically at what you want out of life (i.e. both in and outside your career). I made a list with him about important priorities and things I wanted to accomplish with my career and with my social life. As a surgeon, he immediately told me to probably not consider surgical specialties even if I found them interesting. I wouldn't be able to handle the hours and commitment and I might be happier doing something that provided more free time and flexibility. Happy doctors are good doctors as you can serve yourself and your patients better if you find the specialty that fulfills both your intellectual side as well as serving the life you want outside of medicine.
Though one can argue medicine is much different than other careers (and it is), I view a career as something that supports my life outside of it. It's meant to keep me busy, productive, contributing to society, engaged, but ultimately friends, relationships, and loved ones are the things that ultimately matter. Start thinking about this now (and not later). I think the biggest problem is in medicine is this mentality of "my life sucks now, but it will get better." Always make sure you're as happy as you can be in the now. Seeking the balance from the get-go will keep you sane and help avoid burn out down the road. It's never too early to start.
But I think a better question may be, "Would you eliminate a specialty based upon lack of family time?" To which my answer is an emphatic, "yes."
Definitely.. I want to be around for my kids because I know what it's like to have an absentee dad.
Yep. Wife, three kids, pocket farm and existing business to keep going...lifestyle choice is a key driver. Fortunately my top choices match my inclinations.
So, so true... I've always wondered how physicians can have this attitude when during the course of our work we encounter many patients that have their lives thrown into a tailspin because of factors not under their control. Mom just gave birth to two healthy twins, whoops now she's dead from a massive PE, or older guy that just retired, whoops had a seizure and found to have a big fatty glioblastoma multiforme and doesn't make it a year.
Can't see why anyone that was happy with their family would say "no"
No. I'm going to work 16 hour days and be the greatest neurosurgeon in all history. Wives and kids are for the plebs, not those of us who can fiddle with the brains.
(Serious answer: Yes of course. I refuse to work in a specialty where I will be miserable... and I know I'll be miserable if I'm not at home with my family ever.)
9 hour days? I understand wanting to spend time outside of work doing other things, but that's... very optimistic. Most specialties will usually have 50-60 hours per week on an average.
There is so much more to life than what goes on inside the hospital or clinic.
Well I don't plan on having a family, so no.
though I want to have some time to enjoy all the toys I can buy myself when I'm a rich doctor with no family. Like getting a pilot's license to fly my private jet, and sailing my yacht around the world.
(I kid, I kid - but even though as someone who probably will have the model lifestyle for a neurosurgeon, single with no kids, I'm targeting more 'lifestyle' specialties, sorta, due to many interests outside medicine).
Love this. That's a very sane, grounded approach. Being happy in the now is so important. Every moment is precious and the point of medical school is learn as much as possible in order to become a competent clinician or surgeon. Sometimes those in demanding fields are there because of their love for it. Loving what you do makes time less of an issue. However it comes with a sacrifice of other things in life. Although I know a few very successful doctors (think neurosurgery) with family lives, they don't spend as much time with family or with outside activities. Time is limited resource and everything comes at a cost. People try to balance but it's ultimately a process that requires continual effort and juggling. Some days are balanced and others may not be. And this balance is more difficult to achieve with certain fields (ex: surgery) than others (ex: primary care, rads, etc.).
Personally I would rather go into a field that I LIKE which gives me free time for family and balance than a field that I LOVE which leaves me less room for balance. And this is simply because there are things I love outside of medicine too.
I don't know about you guys but I want to be a top surgeon, the best I can be. I don't have a girlfriend or significant other and family is important to me but I think my career comes first at this point.. maybe im in the minority on this one.. im only 23 years old and I casually date but thats just me.. I get bored pretty easily too and always like to be busy, im not one to just sit around and "relax." Maybe things will change, maybe they won't but thats what I'm thinking right now
Based on your sig it seems you're not even a 3rd year yet. 3rd year changes a lot of people's minds. I had the view that I wanted to be the next Dr. James Andrews.
You're also relatively young so you might be better equipped to handle GS residency and then have your practice be a little more lifestyle friendly. Or you might go the Uro or ENT type route
Yup, I did. I have a family and it helps that I love a specialty with a nice lifestyle.
It's a tough choice for me - I've fallen in love with cardiothoracic surgery and as of now, can't really see myself doing anything else (time may change that, I know). At the same time, I know I want a family and CT isn't very family friendly. It's a balance that I haven't worked out yet but bothers me when I think about it.
This is why I am reflecting on what I want to do carefully. I have to admit, I have been pondering doing Clinical Pathology for a while now. Not only because of the lifestyle, because something like Clinical Microbiology interest me. My only concern is that I ask my self if I will regret forgoing patient contact for this specialty. That is what I am pondering right now. I am starting my MBA year of my MD/MBA degree, so I have sometime to weigh in the pros/cons.
I can't see myself making a career decision based on a family that I don't yet have and am not sure I want. Right now it's just this idea of what my life outside of medicine could be but that's not a guarantee. My life goals are at the forefront now. If/when the marriage comes then the notion of children comes and I'll deal with it then. Not now.
I really agree with this. I want a career that interests me, or else I'll probably be unhappy. And being unhappy with your career will spill over into making all those things that matter more than a career (family time/wife/kids etc) not all that great. Make yourself happy, and then you can worry about others.
That being said, I think picking a speciality you don't like, just because it will give you time at home with your family is crazy. But, for me, and probably a lot of other people on here, I'm interested in A LOT of specialities. And if you can narrow down the choices of the ones you like based on their regular work loads, then sure. Time outside my career means a lot.
I'm really interested in pathology also, and love clinical microbiology as well as the anotomic side of pathology. A lot of pathologists have very undemanding jobs, are well respected, make good money, and work regular hours. It will be hard to decide to choose a medical career without direct patient care though.
Not family life but personal life. What person would want to work 100 hours a week for most of their career, family or no family?
Yeah good luck with that - I thought I'd be a kickass surgeon until I entered 3rd year and realized that I like my sleep too much.
Someone has to do it. . . just saying.
Maybe I will feel the same as you when I'm in third year, but maybe I won't. All I know is there are different categories of medical students with different political views as well as views on relationships etc. There are people my age that are in long term relationships engaged, engaged to be engaged, married etc. Its a different situation for them then it is for me and I look at them and think "wtf r they thinking so serious so young." Different strokes for different folks..
Exactly. One of my classmates is doing 4 surgery sub-i's 4th year and he just got married. And I'm 99% sure he is doing what makes him happy.
How could someone not want a family? What a lonely, miserable existence that would be. I'm not even talking about children, because I have none and can't speak from experience, but about having a significant other to share your life with.
Its more along the lines of not putting a currently non-existent person ahead of a career goal.. and considering I don't think its a pressing matter right now I'm not worried. There is a reason the divorce rate is >50% in this country.. I think people rush into things too quickly. I will get married eventually, but I am 23.. if I'm not seriously dating someone by 27-28 then I may be more worried about it.
First page of my Step II review book:
"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"
-- Elbert Hubbard
This! You only live once fellas.
It ain't even about 'family'. Its about memories and living richly.
I never felt as happy going into to that job/school/hospital/work as I did leaving at the end of the day...even on the best days.
Theres an eloquent and moving post over in the Gas Forum that anyone thinking about working for da' man the rest of their life should read.
uh, surgeons clearly don't do that.