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MD mentors say "do anything but medicine..." Why?

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5 years 11 months ago #91994 by English
I sooo agree with night owl. I also would not go into medicine now had I known what I know now. I absolutely agree with all the previous posters that it is so personality and specialty dependent. I think for me I was so young when I made the decision and never really had the mentors who were physicians. I never saw the other side to medicine-- all I got was what most people see as well-- doctors drive nice cars, they help people, their jobs are respectful and noble.

The truth is neither my husband or I drive a nice car. And as for waiting for your life to start-- we had a child when we were closer to 40 as well as that was the time we bought our own home. Most of my friends did all that in their 20s. And the helping people part-- the truth is a lot of people don't take your advice and often are arguing about what they read on the Internet. Very few patients are sincerely grateful and dependent on how litigious your region is the situation can be more problematic. Very few people respect doctors any more -- a lot of people are very educated and often feel they know more than you do about your field. The hours are long and never 9am- 5pm. You wake up in the middle of the night worrying about patients.

I think your expectations need to be in line with the reality of the job. Just like night owl said-- shadow physicians and see the nitty gritty and ask them clearly what are their issues with the profession. Motherhood definitely changes things. For me I am lucky that I have been able to take some months off here and there and do some level of part time work (mind you that my part time work is still more than 40 hrs a week). My son is now 2 and I am going to miss him even more when I leave him now then when he was a newborn. He now cries if my hubby or I leave for work and looks out the window at us going. And he also runs to us when we come home. I personally find it harder to leave him as he gets older.

If you really want to do medicine then go with your dream. But make sure your eyes are wide open. Don't get me wrong-- there are those moments when I do love the work, but sometimes the cost is great and unless you can find the right balance with employer, your finances, etc then overall work-life balance is still elusive.

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5 years 11 months ago #91998 by roundabout2
Thanks for all the interesting and thought-provoking feedback and input. It gives me much to think about :)

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5 years 11 months ago #91999 by nightowl
One thing I noticed... English and I are both in primary care, married to surgeons I think. Your partner and home dynamic changed things a lot. Dual physician family esp with a husband in a demanding surgical field changes things. Also I would weigh the advice of moms in well paying, high satisfaction specialties as well. The competition doesn't stop at med school. If you have the scores and desire to do a field like dermatology your experience as a doc is completely different. Way better income, more autonomy, etc. I think the only thing I knew before starting med school was that part of me knew i would change once becoming a wife and mom but I just hoped for the best without realizing sacrifice would be so great. There's a recent thread on mothersinmedicine about two types of female physicians and a lot of great comments. I am definitely one of the 2's. There are moms in camp 1 though. You should check it out!

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5 years 11 months ago #92001 by southernmd
Sorry I don't have time to comment more - I am on a really rough rotation, but I did want to say that I am in camp 1 from the mothersinmedicine post nightowl is referring to - there are some of us out there. However, we still have very tough days. My 3-yr-old never ceases to be amazing, and I miss him when I work 80 hours a week. A LOT. That doesn't mean I don't like working or want to LEAN IN, but it does mean that I...miss him. I don't have the guilt, and I love working and being a physician, but it doesn't mean that camp 1 moms don't miss their kids. We have tough days too.

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5 years 11 months ago #92002 by asunshine
I'm in camp 1, too, but a huge reason for that is that my whole family has poured everything into my career. I am in a higher-paying specialty, and the expectation that I will be the breadwinner gives me extra motivation (and expectation) to like my job. I totally agree with nightowl that your personal situation has a huge influence on your opinion of medicine as a career. With the same job in a different situation, I could be totally miserable, especially considering the debt.

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5 years 11 months ago #92003 by asunshine
PS to the OP, if you go into medicine, you'll be fine! There's a lot to worry about, but at the end of the day, it's all about just showing up and doing the work set before you. I have no doubt you'd be successful once you start.

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