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second thoughts (long)

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12 years 9 months ago #13147 by moyz23
Hi everyone!
I would love some advice. I have been working towards becoming a doctor for a long time. I didn't have the best grades in college, so I'm in grad school taking basically first year med school classes and doing really well. It took me a long time to decide that I really wanted to be a doctor, and I thought I had decided once and for all (and have been really motivated, etc).

Last week, someone in my program told me she's no longer planning to become a doctor b/c she wants to have a family, etc. Hearing that I felt really jealous that she had made that choice and that I hadn't. I realized, of course, that I still can make that choice. I just have been so single-minded (and certain) about this goal-and now I'm having doubts. I'm worried that after going through med school and residency I could feel ambivalent about my job and feel bad that I don't get to spend time with my family enough (I'm single now, but I do hope to have a family at some point). Also, the thing I absolutely love about medicine is the patients, not the science. I do enjoy the science but I don't love it. I'm wondering if I'll feel that I have enough patient contact as a doc (15 min in, next patient kind of thing).
I have been thinking about nursing/PA, but then I'm worried that I might feel like wow, I should have become a doctor. I want to be the one making the decisions, etc.
Any advice would be appreciated:)

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12 years 9 months ago #13148 by jjac02
you know...I can TOTALLY relate. I'm a first year now, but definitely have struggled with many of the same feelings. In fact, although I 'knew' medicine was the direction I was headed in for quite awhile, I had SERIOUS doubts about it for the last two years of undergrad...doubts that were completely elevated once I actually got to med school.

my biggest struggle was the idea of balancing work & family life. i looked at too many female doctors who were absolutely EXHAUSTED, burnt out, in failing relationships, and generally unhappy. i KNEW that i didn't want to be like that. i KNEW that i wanted kids one day and did NOT want to have them so someone else could raise them. i also knew that med school was a LONG road (although now it seems longer than ever), an expensive road...and one that i truly didn't know would be worth it in the end.

but i had to question the reason WHY i wanted to go into this profession in the first place. and i came to the conclusion that i would go through the rigors of med school, even if it meant leaving the profession in just a few years. and i also made myself reevaluate my priorities. i realized that if i made it through med school and then had kids and wanted to stay at home full time... IT IS OKAY.

explore your options. evaluate the 'business' side of medicine. seriously consider the lifestyle. and TALK to other female doctors about their family lives. remember, too, that women do this ALL THE TIME. you aren't alone in this decision...and there are plenty of people who have gone before you and come out completely in LOVE with their jobs. you'll make the right choice...GOOD LUCK!!

~jjac02 >

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12 years 9 months ago #13149 by TLC
i realized that if i made it through med school and then had kids and wanted to stay at home full time... IT IS OKAY.

That is a nice thought - but, what happens when you have invested 300K into medical education and then decide..."maybe this isn't what I want to do." Then, unless you come from wealth or have no medical debt, the amount of debt you have aquired obligates you to a full-time profession you "thought" you could leave at any time. And, if you have read the boards on here with a medical degree there are not many career options that offer 6-figure salaries that will pay off that debt - just to change specialities it is A LOT of work. I mean really, how does one stay at home and raise her kids with 200-300K of debt? Just a thought.

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12 years 9 months ago #13150 by moyz23
hey, thanks for your thoughts on this! I do have to remember that plenty of other women (and men) wonder whether it is all worth it. It's hard for me to fast forward about 8 years and try to figure out where I will be in my life. I can kind of imagine what I want, but that doesn't mean that I'll be at that point in my life. I think, honestly, that if I could get the same satisfaction in my job as a nurse than I could get as a doctor, then I'm thinking it's probably not worth it.
But I wouldn't want to feel like I missed out, or like I'm a doctor who became a nurse instead. I also recently got out of a relationship and I'm thinking that it definitely has something to do with my doubts. My ex was never very supportive of all my studying, etc and although I know there are plenty of guys that would be super supportive, I just am thinking that I'm not sure how I feel about making the next couple years of my life feel like the last 6 months have been (not horrible, but just studying and more studying...)

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12 years 9 months ago #13151 by efex101
I will give you my thoughts...IF you are having doubts NOW and you have not even started medical school...THAT is, should be a concern. To get through this very tough process you have to want this with all you have! meaning you want it so bad you can "taste" it. I would have never pursued this path *and* persvered IF I had many doubts of family versus work, etc. This is a tough life period. Yes, you can make it work (of course) but at a price. It is great if you are independantly wealthy and can pursue this 7 year or more path (from medical school through residency) to then NOT work as a physician. Most of the medical students WILL have to work to pay off loans. To do this now, *knowing* that more than likely you will not work is kind of pointless (not saying this is your intention) and a very expensive way to go about getting more education. Think this through at length and ASSUME you will be working very hard and not having a lot of time with your future family. If after making this assumption you are still all for it, then by all means pursue this dream of yours.

I am not trying in any way to discourage you but you do need to face the reality of what lies ahead. I want to make a comment too...finding PT jobs right AFTER residency may not be soo easy so beware. I know many residents that are actively looking for the PT position and have not found them. Everyone loves to talk about this but getting THERE may take a lot of time! usually as a new minted physician you have to put your TIME IN. Also, depending where you want to live at you may or may not find these PT positions....food for thought.

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12 years 9 months ago #13152 by moyz23
What are really the work hours for most doctors (not in some really overly intense specialty)? Is PT work for doctors really 40 hour work weeks as I've heard some people say? I used to think, well, both my parents worked a lot, and my 3 sisters and I probably saw babysitters as much as we saw our parents, but our parents were home every night and home every weekend. And that would probably not be the case if I were a doctor.
Whatever I do, I'm definitely going to be working...I know that I do feel passionately about patients, and being at home would not be something that I would be happy with.

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