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#23252 - 09/03/04 01:02 AM Any physicians not working as physicians?
drruth Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/04
Posts: 6
Loc: California
I'm new to the forum, and I was just wondering how many physicians there are out there who are no longer working as physicians, and why. So many people in this forum seem to love medicine - whether premed, resident, or physician - and I get the feeling that I am one of the few that doesn't actually love medicine and would return to it only if I absolutely had to. I quit my internist position a year ago because I was so unhappy with my job, and then decided to stay home to raise my 7-month-old baby. Although I'm quite happy staying at home, I must admit that I struggle with my decision almost on a daily basis. So much of my identity was rooted in medicine, and now I find I have a hard time letting go, as much as I want to. It also doesn't help that my family and old friends from residency don't understand why I would "throw away" all those years of schooling and training, even though they know how much I despised my job and dreaded going to work every morning. Their attitude is, "Just suck it up and deal with it." So I'm feeling a bit alone in the world right now, and I just wanted to hear from others who have had similar experiences.

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#23253 - 09/03/04 04:44 AM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
zee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 9
Loc: Ghana, West-Africa
smile Hi there, drruth.I'm a medical student in Ghana and like you I was surprised how so many people here seem to like medicine so. Though I'm yet to complete medical school, I have a feeling its not something I would like to do forever.For one thing,I believe its too stressful and for another reason,I believe Ghana and Africa as a whole needs to focus more on the preventive aspect of health rather than the curative for there are so many infectious diseases that could be prevented if people could just keep their environments clean.Also,I believe that improving our economies will help a great deal in getting a better healthcare system.Thus,after medical school,if I ever get the chance to branch into public health or business, I'll do it.
I admire you for having the courage to stop doing what you do not want to do.Look within you,find something you'll enjoy doing and do it! Having been trained for a career,I don't think you'll be happy to just stay home.Life is too short to live it unhappily.All the best.

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#23254 - 09/03/04 10:37 PM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
CaliMD Offline
Elite Member

Registered: 09/20/03
Posts: 209
Loc: USA
I just couldn't leave this thread alone and decided to come out of "hiding" to reassure you that you are not the only conflicted or unhappy physician here. Aside from myself, there are a number of women who have posted within the past few months who have definitely left clinical medicine. All you have to do is search through some recent posts. Recently, we've had a physician turned life coach, one who has worked in bioinformatics, another in medical transcription, for example. Like you, I worked in primary care in CA, so you *know* I understand your experience!

There seem to be a few women who have been able to find a more acceptable environment in which to practice. For me, there would have to be some big changes in the way medicine is now practiced in this country (maybe resembling more how things were 2 decades ago when I decided to apply to medical school) for me to return!

Enjoy your time with your precious baby and to paraphrase something another woman here wrote: there are other physicians out there to take care of patients but you are your baby's only mother!

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#23255 - 09/04/04 01:45 AM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
drruth Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/04
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Thanks zee and CaliMD wink for your replies! I take it that my way of thinking is not as common as I had hoped. There really shouldn't be any shame in discovering for oneself that becoming a physician may have been a huge (albeit well-intentioned) mistake and not one's calling after all. By becoming a member of this forum, I was hoping to somehow (I'm not sure how) salvage some small portion of my medical identity. I don't know, perhaps by feeling like I still belong to a community of strong, independent, intelligent, educated women - despite the fact that I no longer practice medicine. After all, I did go through the whole premed-resident-working-in-the-real-world experience as well... I guess I will try to be more positive and perky in future posts!

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#23256 - 09/05/04 03:25 PM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
maggie52 Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 419
Loc: Maine
There are countless Women AND MEN who hate thier physician jobs...and would love to do something else...I like medicine but I would like to do it for free ( I know that sounds silly)...and will/would quit in a second when I have a backup plan!

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#23257 - 09/06/04 07:16 AM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
DrSAHM Offline
Member

Registered: 01/26/04
Posts: 75
Loc: australia
Hello DrRuth - I can totally empathise with where you are at right now!
I have taken the last 4 months off to care for my baby who just turned 1 the other week. Its been the best year from the mother/baby/family point of view as we are all together and I so truly enjoy the daily milestones and just having time to patiently go through different textures of foods, read lots of baby books, take lots of walks together and show my baby the outside world!
I had started a surgical training job and decided it was family over work for this year and can honestly say no regrets over here!
I was encouraged to apply to our surgical college for a deferral (which I had also been told by others they would never ever grant me) and received it without further questions asked (the first time this has ever been done here apparently).

Basically this has proven to me that there are far more options out there than we lend ourselves to believe and that it is just a matter of seeking them out or more patiently, waiting for them to seek us out.

I have been working more savvy I guess this year by doing surgical assisting which over here pays us 20% of the surgical fee - basically translated as nice and a very sweet job to have without all that extra responsibility and +stress++.
However, I do miss the autonomy and the clinical side of the work with dealing with the patients when they are not asleep on the table. But for me, right now, this is the best of both worlds and my idea of balance that works for us.

Enjoy that time with your baby - much as I miss being a little out of the loop with my old work friends - I enjoy the mommy thing far more for now but know I want to pursue other things in the future if not this January. ( I have some serious decision making to do!)

I have considered doing other non-medical things as well - startup costs are the drawback, not to mention the time and energy req'd for that as well. I still feel a bit of the pull back to the hospital though......maybe I need another taste of it to really decide!

There are heaps of options out there and I do hope you find the one that suits YOU and your family....good luck


smile

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#23258 - 09/06/04 07:21 AM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
DrSAHM Offline
Member

Registered: 01/26/04
Posts: 75
Loc: australia
By the way - do not feel bad about your change of heart with being a physician. Only you can know and it sounds like you gave it a damn good try by going through with your whole residency. You've worked hard and you don't have to do that forever - besides if your heart isn't truly in it then is it fair to your patients - also, fair to yourself!
Enjoy that lovely baby time - there's so many working mom's out there who would love to have the opportunity but have no choice.
:yes:

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#23259 - 09/07/04 12:28 PM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
elabmom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 31
Loc: West
I am one of the many who has left medicine. I was a pediatrician and quit when my oldest was 9 months old. I haven't practiced for 2 years and doubt I'll ever go back...it just wasn't anything like what I expected, much more stressful and a huge strain on a family life. I don't know what I'll do, but I would like to return to work in some capacity in the next few years (we just learned we're having a "surprise" #3 baby so it will be longer than I thought). Anyway, you're far from alone!

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#23260 - 09/08/04 08:58 AM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
dr.liz Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 3
Loc: washington dc
You are definitely not alone! I am still in the midst of a long surgical residency and already having second thoughts about my career choice. There are moments when it really is fun and rewarding, but the med school loans are staggering, and now my job feels like "have to" instead of a chosen path. I'm not qualified to do anything else that will pay enough to deal with the educational loans. Some days it really feels like a trap. What I really want at this point is to start a family and take some time off- but there doesn't seem to be a way to do this without declaring bankruptcy. Anyway- I'm glad to know there are other people out there who have doubts about their choice to go into medicine.

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#23261 - 09/11/04 07:09 AM Re: Any physicians not working as physicians?
DrLydia Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Virginia
What a blessing to discover this website and in particular this email string! About 2 years ago I found myself miserable in my job as an FP doc. I cared deeply for my patients but found the daily constant interaction extremely draining, and my anxiety level was increasing. I had nothing left for my children at the end of the day (now ages 6 and 3). I searched and prayed for an alternative, a way out. Finally, I found a medical informatics type position that I love. My hours are "normal" with no weekends and no call. I have the opportunity to use my medical background and have the chance to use other talents. I see patients once or twice a month in a clinic. Sometimes I feel guilty for leaving full time practice, and feel ashamed that I didn't love full time practice, but I am gaining more peace about the decision. The book, Leaving the Bedside, put out by the AMA was very helpful 2 years ago when I first made the change. It helped me realize that I was not alone, and just because a doc chooses to leave traditional clinical practice doesn't make her a bad doctor or uncaring person. After reading this string, I am again encouraged that I am not alone. Thank you!

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