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MS4 thinking about not doing residency

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6 years 1 week ago #91033 by newmommdphd
I definitely considered lifestyle as one factor in picking a specific residency program, as some psych programs are much harder than mine. But I did not pick psych for the lifestyle. It's too hard on a person to do it strictly for lifestyle reasons. It's not an "easy" field, although I sometimes hear people outside the field say that. That's all I was getting at. I do think lifestyle matters, but I would not make that the main reason for choosing psych specifically. I think people who pick psych for that reason end up regretting it. I can't speak to other "lifestyle" specialties though.

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6 years 1 week ago #91035 by Maggie80
There are definitely some family friendly programs! I was able to get a 15 week maternity leave for my little one (I have to make it up at the end of my residency). And after I returned, I was able to get a pump room (though I had put up a little stink about it) and time set aside during clinic to pump. They have also accommodated my schedule on one rotation so that I would work only weekdays and finish by 7 p.m. so I could run home and put my little one to bed.

Having a baby during residency can definitely be done. It is tough but don't forget that staying at home with a baby all day can be tough in it's own right (and you don't get paid!)

Best of luck with your decision-- I say go for it!

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6 years 1 week ago #91038 by AmmaMD
yes, I guess my point would NOT be "pick a cush specialty and everything will be fine", but rather: "don't assume that all generalities apply to you - all of medicine is hard, but there is a huge range across specialty / point in training / other, and that range is very important - make your decisions with as much specific information as possible."

Re: psych specifically - I broke 80h/wk frequently in my intern year, even on many of my psych months. It's better now in part because I'm further along, but also because I now have the option of going part-time, and I have decided to take the massive financial hit of doing so.

And, I agree that psych is emotionally very difficult, and that it not something to take lightly. I still vividly remember the point in intern year when I realized that my biggest fear in going into medicine - that I could make a mistake that would kill a patient - was actually much worse than I had ever imagined: in this field, I could make a mistake that could kill not only my own patient but one or more other random people, as well. I am routinely asked to make a rapid decision as to whether someone poses a risk to not only themselves but their spouse, children, community, and then act on my decision. I do not read the news without thinking of this anymore, ever.

I guess in terms of weighing lifestyle in when picking a specialty: perhaps the way to think of it is that a good lifestyle should never, ever get a specialty into the running that you wouldn't have put on the list otherwise. But I think it's fair for lifestyle to rule out specialties (eg, I personally would quit medicine rather than do a neurosurgery residency with young kids), and to help weigh in between options that you think you would be passionate about. But all of this work is too hard to without really wanting to be doing it.

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6 years 1 week ago #91048 by asunshine
Hi Ella, I think any way you slice it, residency is no joke. Even the cush "lifestyle" specialties at the cushest program will still be over 40 hours/week plus extra studying. So it depends what "lifestyle" means to you. I think overall, most women who go through residency are happy they did. It...just stinks going through it. And it really stinks that residency coincides with the time most women start their families.

Some specialties to consider might be PM&R, preventive medicine, or pathology, especially if you're worried about long shifts/overnights being a problem.

Also, if you think residency will be harder than med school...it might not necessarily be, depending on how you choose your program/specialty. The responsibility is certainly more, but there are aspects of residency (more autonomy, collegiality, ability to focus just on your specialty) that make it so much better than med school. My hours as an intern and PGY2 have been on par with 3rd year of med school--sometimes even better.

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5 years 11 months ago #91148 by Docmomof4
I would also throw in a plug for family medicine as it is really moving to either out pt or inpt lately but not both. Fam Med is so in demand you can make your hours after you get through the three years. And it is really usually the first year that is the hardest.

Everyone else has had a lot of good advice. I feel for you-not everyone wants to work. However, I would second what someone else said-I actually like my job and find this one of the few career choices where one can work part time for their whole career or for a period of time (Like while kids are little for example)

Like, my friends who are equally as educated, but had different careers-law, engineering, PHd/research-none of them could work part time. Several tried but the jobs either weren't there or they basically ended up doing their FT job in PT hours and making less money. I have very defined PT hours. And make enough to cover the childcare, plus I am doing a job I enjoy.

I also agree don't just choose a specialty for lifestyle, but as several others have said, you can probably be happy in several different specialties, especially if you are happy at home.

Most residencies will let you tack on time at the end if you have to take a leave. However, once you sign to match, it is a binding contract so keep that in mind. If you back out and try to match again another year, you are almost like blacklisted, from what I have heard. Residencies won't take a chance easily on someone who has backed out.

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