Hey everyone! I am a medical student who is constantly asked "what kind of doctor are you going to be?" I know what I am interested in, surgery, but am worried I will not have any time for a family. I would love to hear from women doctors in all specialties. I want to know what kind of experiences you have had balancing work and family, and if you are a surgeon, would you do it again? I am also considering ER, so any insight to that would be great as well. I am not married nor do I have children yet, but hope to have it all one day, and want to be somewhat prepared. Thanks!
You *can* have a family/ outside life though your time may be unpredictable and limited. When I started residency, there was a period where we worked in excess of 120 hours, and honestly, during that time, my life WAS the hospital.
Now, the hour limitations are more strictly enforced, for the better and worse. I can usually plan at least a night out per week with friends and still have time to read. It is still pretty difficult to take a weekend trip in that months may go by without having a 2 day stretch off. At home pager call can be hit or miss; sometimes, I rarely go in, other times, I spend the night at the hospital.
Surgery isn't easy though the hours alone are not impossible to handle. Sometimes, I very seriously doubted whether it was worth it- lawsuits, hostile staff/patients, scut, etc, etc can jade you. On the other hand, I'm beginning to see that as a surgeon you often are the one that can really fix things and handle whatever comes your way. I like being able to at least provide the chance to fix a problem and I absolutely love to teach technical skills.
The lifestyle is not always predictable but there is time away from the hospital; just make sure that if you want to be with someone that they are okay with spending some nights alone, flexible plans, and bringing the pager along on your nights out. Luckily, some people out there are willing to tolerate it- just make sure that YOU are one of them.
Make your standard answer "I don't know yet - I'm still exploring my options" and change the subject. That's the safest bet.
EM you either love or you hate - there's little middle ground. You'll know if it's for you once you actually rotate in it.
As for surgery, I loved it - or thought I did. But found that after about the 3rd lap chole, it wasn't terribly interesting anymore. Besides, I am more suited to EM.
I'm divorced, no kids, 3 dogs, and have no life. Which is partly my own doing, but it's working for me at the moment. (Well, I travel a lot, but that's more important to me than going out, and I work nights.)
What year in med school are you? I am a third year and have found some of the specialties I was interested in I no longer am, and visa versa. I thought I'd really like Emergency Medicine, but after rotating through it, I realized I need more continuity of care. I thought I'd hate Ob/gyn, but the residents were awesome; the surgeries were pretty cool; and for some unknown reason, Id get a little teary-eyed right after deliveries. All this to say, if you are early in your med school career, you interests may change. So dont worry about specialty compatibility with family/babies until later.
Also, I learned not to base specialty choice by hours/time commitment during residency. The internal med, family med, and Ob/gyn residents were working 80 hour weeks.
For me, I'm pretty sure Orthopedics is my calling. Eeek. And hubby and I are planning on having our first child winter of 4th year. Eeek.
I would just recommend that you get exposure to various specialties that aren't common med student rotations. For example, pathology or radiology. Better lifestyles and less of the primary care hassles. That being said, I'm in pediatrics, and although the hours can be long, it's a specialty with a lot of women, and it's not that difficult to find part-time work. Of course, you have to get through residency first...
But I think had I had more exposure to pathology as a medical student, that is the specialty I would have chosen.