January 28, 2004 at 11:23 pm #85202
Hi! Yes, I’m sad…..
I’m currently in my first yar of Family Practice Residency here in New York, and frankly, I’ve been having second thoughts from the start. I just got married before internship, and the increase in pressure and responsiblity has my stomach in constant knots. Plus, I just don’t enjoy the work. I just don’t see myself finishing, which everyone tells me is a shame. But, I see how little time I spend with my husband (an accountant) and how tough it is for a mom to be a doctor. I’m also an osteopath…does anyone have any ideas for jobs avaiable to us once we’ve finished internship, but we don’t finish residency?
And I give big kudos to everyone out there..you guys are amazing doing this with children…I can barely do it now!!!
Hope you have ideas…I’m plum out….
“B”January 28, 2004 at 11:42 pm #85204EM momParticipant
Hang in there BridgeDO! Trust me we’ve all wanted to quit at one time or another, and heck some of even have! I know that I was at my lowest during my intern year right around Chrismas time…I felt isolated, overburdened, exhausted and WAY underappreciated 🙁 ! I helped myself by making some new friends in my intern class (this wasn’t easy as we are all spread out among several hospitals) and having regular bit#% fests. This helped because not only did I feel so alone, but I realized that what I was feeling was NORMAL.
So…my advice to you is not to make any rash decisions at this time. Think about what it is that you are unhappy about :goodvibes: .
Again, hang in there and keep us posted!January 29, 2004 at 5:29 am #85205chylothoraxParticipant
Oh, I’m so sorry you’re feeling bad, and I can only echo everything momsurg said about it. One thing that helps me when I want to quit is thinking about why I ever wanted to do this in the first place. If those reasons haven’t changed for you, I would urge you not to make any hasty decisions. If, on the other hand, you’re doing medicine primarily for reasons which don’t make sense to you anymore (e.g. fulfilling someone else’s expectations, etc.) then I think it deserves consideration. We have ALL been there, though, and the truth is that residency can be just a nightmare. I think probably if I add up all the days that I thought about quitting it’s probably the number of days I’ve been a resident, minus maybe four. Make sure you’re not depressed, especially, before you do anything!January 29, 2004 at 8:56 pm #85207mommidalaParticipant
This is a common problem. The happiness from being a new doctor has worn off, and the lack of light exposure is causing SAD. During my residency in Michigan, all the residents sounded suicidal around the beginning of February. Interestingly, in California, the residents actually can walk between buildings outside during the day and did not seem anywhere as depressed as we were during my training. The loss of sleep when on call is an equally potent factor.
Get yourself some light (sunlight) or a light box. Or plan a Caribbean vacation each year. Also take a nap on weekends. And understand that things get better in the second year once you begin to have more responsibility and not as many nighttime wakeups.February 2, 2004 at 3:53 am #85209eeh2004Participant
I am only 3 months into internship and having such the same response. I am right there with you in looking at the future…I don’t enjoy what I do right now. I sometimes can’t see myself ever practicing medicine in this environment, and the trends that I see in family medicine are disturbing. I am stuck on Internal Medicine right now and miserable. I had my first child in June and started residency at the end of September and those feelings of separation are killing me.
About 2 weeks ago I hit my lowest low…to the point where I was searching FREIDA for residency positions in ANYTHING else and was quite ready to walk into my program director’s office and tell him that I wasn’t renewing my contract. I was inches from actually doing it. The tide began to turn about then. The patient load eased a little, many of my patients told me how much they appreciated me taking such good care of them, and a few even decided to make me their PCP. That blew my mind. And of course made me feel guilty for wanting to leave.
My best friend, who is an intern at a nearby FP program and also a new mom, called me last week on her way home and started telling me that she was feeling exactly as I had. Even down to the exact words! It was reassuring to know that someone out there felt the way that I did and it was good to be able to give her some reassurance that “this too shall pass.” And it will. For me, it’s taken a lot of willpower and a little bit of Wellbutrin. I also have every intention of buying a bike and giving myself some exercise and some freedom before heading home from full-time doc to be full-time mommy. Take care of yourself. And just think, internship is more than halfway over.
Erin, fellow FP internFebruary 3, 2004 at 5:41 am #85211DrSAHMParticipant
Hi there – I totally understand what you’re going through as i have been thinking similar thoughts after just starting b ack at work with a 5 mth old baby girl at home. this is the beginning of a long journey towards doing surgery for me – and despite coming so far with respect to entering and finishing med school and then 2 hospital years i am at yet ANOTHER beginning in my working life starting basic surgical training.
i posted a few desperate messages a week ago after i’d finished a week of night shift in ICU which for me equated to a week of hell.
well, what most people above say is true – it does get easier although there are many times that you feel frustrated :goodvibes:February 5, 2004 at 7:03 am #85213
:wave: Thank you to all who responded to my message….this site IS a valueable resource. I’m feeling better right now, and probably will stick it through, at least to finish my intern year. I still have so many doubts, though. :scratchchin: At least now I feel like I’m not alone, and women all over are feeling the same way.
Thanks again! You guys are the best!
:grouphug:February 10, 2004 at 6:14 am #85215smilesParticipant
I have to tell you all what a relief it was to read your postings. I was on call on Friday and feeling VERY depressed, which has been my usual state lately, when I went onto mommd and read this posting. It was amazing because you all echoed my exact feelings. I have been doubting this career for a long time and since I have started residency, I have been miserable. I am a FP intern also and at this point in time, all I can think about is I just want to be done residency so that I never have to think about medicine again! I have done endless searches about alternative medical careers just in hope that something amazing will come up that will get me out of residency now. I know that I won’t quit because I really like the people in my residency program and I really don’t know what else I would do. But every time I talk to my friends who are leading normal lives, having jobs with normal hours, starting families, I feel so alone and SO depressed. I keep wondering how I got myself into this. I do love patients and I enjoy talking and meeting them but I am just not interested in their medical issues. I was trying to explain to my husband how I feel and all I could say is that I feel apathetic and numb. I know it is February of intern year which everyone warned me would be depressing but I just think that I have a deeper problem of not enjoying medicine period. And to top it off, I just spent Friday and Sunday on call so I was basically at the hospital ALL weekend and it was miserable! I had THE WORST 2 nights of call in a long time with no sleep either night and all I could do when I got in the car today was cry. I was so exhausted I didn’t know what else to do. I am dreading going back tomorrow and am just praying for this year to end–actually the next three. Sorry to be such a downer…February 11, 2004 at 5:22 am #85217
Wow. That’s amazing. You TOTAllY just put into words what I’ve been feeling, too. I myself am now doing medicine, and have dipped back into being miserable. :boggled: …what are we to do?? If I come up with anything, I’ll let you know….but the thought I finishing the next two and a half years feels like torture…..February 11, 2004 at 6:12 am #85218PediDocParticipant
There is good and bad in everything. Do not assume your present experience goes on forever. It never does.
My pediatric residency, in a nutshell:
First night on call: Running around with a clipboard that I kept losing. Panicking constantly. 😮 Being called by a 3rd year resident (who was finishing his residency in 6 days) three times telling me I had to a spinal tap on a newborn, unsupervised (this was 20 years ago), missing all three. It got better. Two months later, in NICU, we had seven deaths that month, and I witnessed all of them. 🙁 And no time for tears. November–my first successful very difficult IV in a newborn. Heck, I can still see that baby’s vein in the side of it’s foot! Something clicked that day. :hyper: December–vacation (I was grateful to have vacation in the middle of the year) January–heme/onc, 10-16 patients all month, loads of IVs to start, blood cultures with every fever. Got good at IVs and got to know some patients and their families really well. Learned to respect and adore most of the 2nd and 3rd year residents. Hated one of them. May–saved a life by recognizing epiglottitis in the ER and telling the nurses to lay off starting IVs, got the kid to the OR with the help of the chief resident. A high point in my residency. The rest is a complete blur. 2nd year–scary to be “senior”, PICU in September was complete hell and I could have been booted out for a MAJOR mistake, but the patient did ok after all. :yikes: By the second half of the year it began to be fun. Third year–at times hard, but we were a great group and it was a fantastic year. Liked it so much that I accepted the offer of a chief resident year. First half of my chief year I was depressed and felt inadequate, but was reassured that I was doing a good job and got to know the families of the chairmen. I even spent a vacation day with my chair’s family 15 years later. Second half–the world was my oyster and I could join any practice I chose.
I’ve seen the same thing with the residents I train. The first years are either miserable or dangerous right now. I prefer miserable, since they are humble and normal. I live in the Northeast, and we’re having an incredibly snowy and cold year. It is contributing to your misery more than you realize. Some interns are starting to get ready for second year, and have progressed to decision-making. Others have not. Most will get there.
Finally, there is a lot about medicine to detest. You ask people about their poop, their vomit, and the color of their mucus. YUCK!!! People are sick. You are around sick people all day, and sometimes all night. Yes, it’s tedious. But there is nothing, I repeat nothing, that can give you the chance to contribute to your community, support your family, and choose your options like medicine can. You can even start your own practice. And never need to interview for a job again. That is your ace in the hole. The AMA has a few books regarding alternative careers in medicine. Look them up on Amazon. Yes, they are overpriced. But they may be worth considering.
Count yourself lucky that you have a spouse with a career. Maybe medicine isn’t for you. That’s ok too. But internship isn’t anything like the rest of your medical career. I promise.February 18, 2004 at 9:14 pm #85220attilaParticipant
Internship is difficult, but it is also possible that you aren’t cut out for family practice. I would finish out the year at least, because it will allow you to get your license, but you should know that it is okay to change to a different residency. Myself, I’m in Occupational Medicine. Nine to five, no weekends or call, I make as much as most of the family practitioners around here, and most of my patients get better.March 3, 2004 at 1:15 am #85222ospreyParticipant
I was also extremely miserable as an FP intern, and it started to get really bad in February as I recall.
One thing to consider is whether perhaps the program is not right for you. Just as FP itself presents a lot of variety, so do the residency programs. In my case, my program “wasn’t meeting my needs” which is a nice way of saying that it was not providing adequate challenges or stimulation and was not giving me opportunity to learn much more than office management of colds and flu. FP residents were not needed in any way in the hospital and this was made clear to us in many ways. Some of my fellow residents did not even bother showing up for the medicine rotations. :0
I matched there primarily to be near my husband who was toiling in an MD/PhD program at our university at the time. It was a private hospital 30 miles away. Huge mistake.
I transferred programs to an unopposed county program in a big metro area two hours away and had the happiest two years of my life. I had to work much harder/longer hours, as it was a program in which FP residents did everything, every procedure, you name it, we were IT (we had help from exactly three staff internists, and two staff pediatricians, all of whom BTW were wonderful). Pretty much by ourselves we managed a very sick, indigent hospitalized population.
It was worth every minute. Even though I was now farther from my husband, we still saw each other most weekends, and had more fun b/c I was so happy in my work.
Bottom line for me is, if I love my work ie I feel needed and challenged on a daily basis, it doesn’t matter much how hard I work or how little I’m paid.
I would never feel comfortable doing my ER moonlighting today if I’d stayed at the first program.
Transferring programs in the same specialty is very tricky BTW. If you need any advice in that area, feel free to ask. I have lots to tell. 😉March 3, 2004 at 1:26 am #85224ospreyParticipant
BTW, Most of my fellow residents at the awesome FP program to which I transferred were/are osteopaths. 🙂
We had a very hard time finding MDs to match at our program (which was allopathic, and I was one of maybe 3 or 4 MDs out of 30 residents). The conclusion the DO’s drew (half jokingly) was that the MD’s from my school simply didn’t want to work that hard.
After a while, I had to wonder if maybe they were correct.
I mean, my program was great–it even offered free housing! But year after year, people from my school matched at programs like my first one, which is dull at best, and which IMO provides inadequate training for FPs. Not only that, but it appears that the director of the first program is aware that the training is better elsewhere, and has no plans/ability to improve things at for his residents.March 9, 2004 at 12:39 am #85226asturParticipant
i’m just wondering how everyone is doing? this thread has been quiet for a while…internship can be crazy. is everyone still hanging in there?March 24, 2004 at 2:06 am #85228ellieParticipant
Hang in there!
I realize your thread started back in January, but as I was just now reading it, the first thing I thought was, “I’ve read this one before” But actually I hadn’t. It is just that this is something that seems to pop up at this time of year for MANY interns. I dont’ want to sound like I’m belittling the feeling at all, far from it, I know I felt this way too, then and at many other times of residency. But because it is something that is so common in internship, I would advise you to stick with it. Then when it comes to time to renew that contract around May or June, re-evaluate. I think that we all have gotten that burst of energy either at the end of our first year or in our second year that makes us become more efficient and enjoy the job more. Besides, the hours won’t be your “entire-lifestyle”, just your “residency-lifestyle”.
Best of luck to you. Hang in there.
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