questions for the already docs out there

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  • #95337
    innosenzinnosenz
    Participant

    hey ladies, i’m new to this and i had a couple questions… first off, any regrets? like would you do it again? and second, i’m a 22 year old, just finished undergrad in biochem. i’m married and living in germany with my husband who’s a surgeon in the air force and i want to go to med school. i was wondering if you guys who have done it think it’s a better idea to wait or to go now? esp since we’re considering having kids kinda soon… thanks for all the help 🙂

    #95340
    vlcmdvlcmd
    Participant

    It can be tough to know now what you will want to be doing 8 years from now. Consider the investment of time (including lost earnings) and money and then try to figure out what your ROI will be like just like you would for any other investment. In other words what kind of return will you get on your investment? What if your priorities change and you decide that raising your own children well takes precedence over saving the world/healing others? What might happen to your investment then and how would you and your husband handle that? These are some questions to consider. Hope I was helpful.

    #95342
    GracieThreeGracieThree
    Participant

    Get a cup of tea, this is a long one…

    As to the having kids question… it’s going to be tough no matter when you have them, but I would (based on my experience) wait until you are at least done with internship. I had my daughter second year of a three year residency. It was tough, but she was worth it! I hate sending her to daycare sometimes, but she gets so much out of it and loves it so much, I would still let her go half-days were I a stay at home mom (she’s in a wonderful Montessori school.) Anyhow, no one can tell you when the best time for you to have children is. Follow your heart. There’s no “perfect” time.

    I honestly don’t know what I would be doing were it not this. But you know, I’m conflicted – sometimes I think there is nothing else in the world I could be happy doing other than medicine, then other times I think I should have just married well and joined the country club. You have your up days/weeks/months and your down ones too. This is a challenging career. It is also a very STRESSFUL career at times. I try to explain to my husband, that if he screws something up at school, a grade might be affected. But if I screw something up, I could kill someone! It’s an awesome responsibility. And I thought it would be less stressful practicing in the outpatient setting, and I’m sure it is (I really wanted to be a hospitalist – codes and all that fun stuff), but even just seeing patients in clinic can be a challenge. And all the minutiae… coding and billing questions and trying to slip an order for an MRI past the evil medical director, who thinks CT is the first indicated test for every condition… anyhow, there are frustrations, ones that I never anticipated!

    I guess I would do it again though, after saying all of that, because this is truly a unique job. No two patients are the same. You get to heal people. I have sweet little WW2 vets who bring me chocolates and patients who send me Christmas cards and hand-written thank you notes. You have to tell someone he or she has cancer, and find the softest way you know how to do it, and offer hope. You fill out home health forms and write “poor” in the prognosis, and wonder what the patient would think if he or she saw that. You give terminal cancer patients everything you can to dull their pain, and pray for them and their families. You admit people to hospice. Some doctors get to bring a new life into this world every day. Others have the privilege of helping an old life let go in a peaceful and dignified way. You get to see patients through the births of children and grandchildren, new jobs and losing jobs, marriages and divorces. They tell you things you are pretty sure have never been told to anyone else, and you hold those things sacred and don’t even put them in the chart. You say “I am so proud of you!!” when someone finally quits smoking, and love the surprised look on their faces when they smile and say “You are?” And, the best part, for me anyways, is catching a cancer early and having a grateful patient drive over just to tell you “Hey, you saved my life! I had colon cancer and you caught it, and they got it all, and it hasn’t spread. Thank you!” One of those is good for at least a week of smiling to yourself.

    I can’t believe I’m waxing this poetic over my job… I guess I needed to though, to remind myself of why I put up with the BS and the paperwork. And also… today at Walmart I heard the customer in front of me in line tell the cashier “Well I know an orthopod who pays a hundred thousand a year in malpractice insurance.” And I wondered where that came from (especially since I’m pretty sure he was wrong). So after he left and I was checking out I asked the girl, who looked about 20 or 21, “Why were you and that man discussing malpractice insurance?” And she said “Well, because I am going to medical school.” And I said, “Really? When do you start?” To which she replied “Well, I’m still in undergrad right now, but I *AM* going to go to med school.” And she had such a look of determination on her face, I have no doubt that she will. And the really weird thing is, I was her, ten years ago, working at a Winn Dixie as a cashier, telling a customer that I was going to medical school, saying “well I’m not done with college yet, but I am going to get in no matter what.” It was like looking at myself. Amazing. Guess God knew I needed to see that. 🙂

    #95344
    Med4MomMed4Mom
    Participant

    Thanks GracieThree,

    That post was JUST what I needed this morning, as I contemplate my upcoming interview for meds. You inspire me to continue to see life as a glass half full 😉 .

    Thanks for your contribution to this site!

    Mimi

    #95345
    bzmom4bzmom4
    Participant

    Amen, GracieThree!
    Well said…and thank you.

    #95347
    MomMDMomMD
    Participant

    Thank you GracieThree. This is one of the best posts I have ever seen here…..

    Sethina

    #95349
    foreignerforeigner
    Participant

    GracieThree, that was wonderful!!! I think you should post this to the would-you-do-it-again thread (if it hasn’t been done yet), since so many replies there are so discouraging :confused: . I am out of medical school for 2 years (because I am a foreign graduate) and will be starting residency this summer. I am so much looking forward to being involved in patient care again (currently working in basic science research). I was shadowing an ED physician this weekend, and I got this itchy feeling – I can hardly wait to be a doctor! I know it will be not easy, and often frustrating… but I know I will love my work!

    And just a word for innosenz: I understood you live currently in Germany – if you are contemplating medical school, you should think about where to do it. International medical graduates have a much harder time getting into residency in the U.S. So if your husband will return to the U.S. soon, I would wait and enter med school in the U.S. Just my :twocents:

    #95351
    horsemanhorseman
    Participant

    Unfortunately, there are many orthopods who DO have to pay $100,000 or more in malparactice insurance. Sad, but true. This is probably one of the reasons why there are fewer and fewer private practioners. this is also related to the part-time thing. I know physicians who were private practioners in various sepcialities who had to retire compeletely rather than go part-time because their practive overhead was so high that they could not cover it with part-time income. this is especially sad because patients could really benefit from part-time older physians who are willing to spend time with them but cannot afford to do so.

    #95353
    psychpsych
    Participant

    I would definitely do it again. I love what I do and I love my family setup. What I would do differently is not be so worried about inconveniencing residents with my mommy stuff. I had my son after internship, took a year off, then did 3 years of residency. I never missed a day because he was sick — either my husband stayed home or he went to sick child daycare (sounds scary but it was actually great). I was so worried about inconveniencing the other residents (I was the only mommy in my class of 12) that I bent over backwards. If I did it over again, I would let them cover for me just like I covered for them when they got sick or relatives died or they had to take leave for various problems. Just a thought …

    PS, I also agree that waiting til you’re through internship helps. That’s almost always the worst year for everyone. I was really glad to have that over before I had kids.

    #95355
    LJoo83LJoo83
    Participant

    gracie,
    thank you for your optimistic post. i was rifling through the gen discussion board about whether you would do it all over again and i was seriously contemplating on whether medicine is the right field for me or not…but after reading your post, it is nice to see that there are blue skies after the rain. 🙂 let’s just say that your post brought tears to my eyes; especially about the wwII vets 🙂
    thank you, once again.

    #95357
    drheididrheidi
    Participant

    I’m glad there are physicians out there who still enjoy what they’re doing. I’ve really tried. I’ve tried to look at all the good things and talk myself into believing they outweigh the bad, but–bottomline–I would never do this again.

    I encourage every one of you considering medicine to visit the general discussion topic about “Would you do it again?” It can be very discouraging but it’s reality for the women posting there. I really wish I had had the opportunity to read some of these very blunt postings before I started med school (I’m now 2 1/2 year into practice). Like I said in one of my posts there, I knew medicine wasn’t going to be easy, but my idealism blinded me to how horrible it really could be.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great things that happen when taking care of people, but the paperwork, hostile patients, hostile other docs, sexist physician partners, money-hungry administrators, idiotic insurance companies, etc., etc., etc. have sucked all the enjoyment of my profession out of me. Unfortunately, if you get too far in the process (basically after the first semester of med school), you owe too much money and then are trapped in this profession because you can’t find another job that will allow you to pay you student loans off. Think long and hard and take every opportunity to hear about all the bad stuff along with the good before you sign that first med school loan note!!

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