Has anyone gone through a specialty change?

Home Forums Medical Specialties Has anyone gone through a specialty change?

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    I was wondering if anyone has decided to change specialties and why?

    Was it the hours?

    the pay?

    the respect?


    I’ve already left practicing family practice (due to a relocation to another state and subsequent own medical problems; btw, my husband is not a physician or similar highly paid professional nor do I have child rearing responsibilities).

    I have decided to not return to Family Practice and am not certain as to whether I’ll retrain in another specialty or quit being a physician all together.

    I wish I could pinpoint my decision on something as tangible as lack of respect, excessive hours or inadequate pay. All of those existed to some extent, especially in family practice where PAs and NPs were readily hired in place of MDs and paid maybe only $10/hour less (atleast in my area of the country). Sure, that made me question the validity of my years of training, years of educational debt and lost years of income. No doubt I tired of the assembly line 10 minute visits with angry patients who blamed me for the current crises in medicine. Sure was great to be held responsible for things that were beyond my control, especially working in an area of the country where corporations owned most medical practices and patients never quite understood that I was just an employee. Furthermore, to face everyday wondering whether I would be served with a malpractice lawsuit even if I did not do anything wrong and was simply one of 10 doctors who had ever seen the patient.

    No, it wasn’t the money- although I pity those new graduates who now owe more than I could ever have considered borrowing for education. With regard to respect, I found that medical administrators bent over backwards to ensure that Medical Assistants got more respect than any of the doctors on staff. The only thing that I did exert control over was my hours and I could see spending more hours than I did in practice at something that would not tear away so severely at my sense of self esteem and self worth. I might even be pursuaded to return to medicine at half the pay for a return of half of my self esteem back.

    In all likelihood, a change of specialties would not change or improve upon my past experiences. In reading old posts here from those who regret going into medicine, it is really shameful that there are actually other bright, hardworking women who wanted to make a difference in medicine who now feel so demoralized with it such as myself.

    Drmoo55, I don’t know if I’ve written anything useful here in answer to your question but thanks for letting me vent on your thread.


    thanks caliMD

    Did also see post from momsurg and her change from surg to ER.

    I guess it can be difficult but doable. I at times cosider a change, but wonder if it is more “the grass is greener” thinking. I guess I wouldn;t really find out until I do the change. Still just considering for right now.

    EM momEM mom

    Yep, here I am, changing from Surgery to ER, just like DrMoo said…and it is definately difficult and frusterating. Why did I do it? Mostly for my daughter who deserves more of my time (or at least some predictability!), but also because my fascination with the OR is over. I really think that as a novice 4th year I chose surgery because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Now that I’ve proved it, and proved that I can do it well, I’m realizing that it really isn’t what I was meant to do!

    However, reapplying through ERAS and going through the match again is giving me heartburn. I had to go spend some “shadowing” time in a local ER lately just to be able to say that I had done something that showed “commitment to ER”. Funny that the attending was asking my “expert” opinion on all of the surgical cases. Luckily I really did have a blast, despite having to act like a 4th year again. Now I have to deal with interviewing all over again…Oh well, it will definately be worth it in the end, if I just can find a spot somewhere (darling hubby is not so anxious to pick up and move again!)



    will you have to do a complete residency all over?

    I would think you would be able to at least skip the intern year-No?

    How funny that the ER docs were getting your professional opinion on the surg cases- that must have been pretty cool!

    Good luck

    EM momEM mom

    I don’t get any time counted…ie. I will be (again) the intern on trauma surg, anesthesia, etc. Although this doesn’t seem exactly fair, I don’t really feel in the position to negotiate given if I don’t match I don’t have a job for next year and will have to moonlight or keep doing research or something else that I don’t want to do. Also, I have 3 clinical years left of surgery so 3 full years of ER will still have me finishing at the same time (this is the rationale I used with my extremely patient husband who is getting tired of my prolonged training time!). And ER always fills! There are a very few 2nd year positions open around the country (maybe 5 or so) however all of them are looking for someone who has already done a year IN ER! Also, my husband isn’t willing to move to any of those places…so at least those repeated rotations will be easy for me!

    It was cool in the ER the other night that instead of the 4th year observer I was the “expert”, especially when the overly cocky, obviously clueless, surgery intern came down. I really bit my tongue not to put him in his place, but I guarantee he will be taking a hard fall not too far in the future! Anyway, thanks for listening, this whole process has been really draining and it helps to vent!


    I had thought you were finished with the surg residency already- so I guess you would really be only loosing a year? having to do the intern year over. I guess that is doable- reviewing the resp, cardio stuff will be good anyway.

    Vent away momsurg- I am in a constant flux of should I / shouldn’t I change. No really bad reason for change- just in FP I tend to get a little bored? with all the diabetics that don’t follow their diets – what am I doing exactly- nothing but saying the same thing over and over. So I have thought about doing something that I may enjoy more- who knows – I do like derm

    We’ll see

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