How hard is it to be a doctor?

<p>Hello, I'm new this is my first post.</p>

<p>I'm not referring to the academic curriculum and medical school. If anyone here is the daughter/son or has some experience, how hard is it to combine a medical career and personal life?
I mean, how difficult is it to have or start a family being a doctor? I know everyone has different circumstances, but i have realize in the few doctors that I know, that their personal lives are either a mess or they have nothing besides their careers.
So, I'm considering a medical career/ engineering, but I don't know if I will have time to start a family and be a normal mom.</p>


<p>It depends a lot on your specialty. The surgical specialties tend to be much more all-consuming. Specialties that deal with emergent situations will generally have more call.</p>

<p>It is definitely possible to work part time as a Doc, or work in a specialty that has lower hours. </p>

<p>That said, medical school and residency make having a family early difficult.</p>

<p>How hard is it? It's difficult, and there will always be situations in which you'll sacrifice your personal life for your career. As a med student and resident I've missed weddings, graduations, family vacations and plenty of other small events because of studying, exams and work. This weekend in fact I'm not going to be able to see my little brother graduate college because I'm working nights in the NICU. Every physician I know has stories of the time they missed something important because they were taking care of a patient. </p>

<p>Is it impossible to have a family while a resident? Absolutely not, I have so many friends that are getting married or pregnant in the next year that I have to be very selective about who I promise what in terms of my presence. Certainly though there are residency programs where starting a family (as a female) is frowned upon. I have some friends who are at extremely family friendly programs but because of their career goals, they're waiting until after they complete even more additional fellowship training before starting. </p>

<p>The bottom line is that you'll make sacrifices, and perhaps finding that proper work/life balance is more difficult than say if you were a to become an engineer, but it's not THAT much more difficult, just different.</p>

<p>I know many women thst are great surgeons and mothers
In tje future, privste practice eill be in the past. You will work for a group or the hospital. Family life ok</p>

<p>This is also a concern of mine, albeit I'm hoping to become a husband/father at some point with a medical career. From what I've heard, the general practice areas (pediatrics, family practice, GP, etc.) have better hours than a specialist, as you're not on call all the time. But that's just based on what I've read.</p>

<p>I am a neuroradiologist and my wife is an anesthesiologist. We have been in practice for more than 15 years. I recently had a chance to stay with my brother for a month. He is a civilian engineer with the Navy. I also have a few engineer friends who work for NASA and for General Dynamics. My brother enjoys his work and sets his own hours. He can work from home 3 days a week. He does not work evenings or weekends. He has plenty of federal holidays and never works Xmas and New Year. He will never be sued. Salary $150K with good retirement benefits.
The situation is similar for engineers at NASA and elsewhere. My next life I choose engineering.</p>

<p>It's the hard-knock life for us!
It's the hard-knock life for us!
'Steada treated,
We get tricked!
'Steada kisses,
We get kicked!
It's the hard-knock life!</p>

<p>I recommend the many fabulous books out there in the medical memoir category.
My favorite is IN STITCHES, by Dr. Anthony Youn. It's funny, heartwarming, and truthful. A fast, fun read for sure.
Meghan Weir's recent book BETWEEN EXPECTATIONS is great if you are considering being a pediatrician.
Also consider any of Atul Gawande's books.</p>

<p>"I know many women thst are great surgeons and mothers"</p>

<p>How many?</p>

<p>I know about eight physician couples ( including me and H); two of them woman surgeons (not me). They may be "great", but I would NOT want to make the sacrifices they did. I think it worked out okay for me and H (first child last six months of my fellowship), but there were many tense moments, with back up on top of backup plan. Wonder what my kids would say....</p>

<p>PS I have a private practice,</p>

<p>In 2008, I was a second-year medical student. The surgical residency at my school was very, very excited. If she lasted one more year, the program was about to hit a major landmark. For the first time, they were planning on graduating a female resident who had entered the program married (age 26) and was leaving (age 33) still married to the same person. Their fingers were very, very crossed that it would work out.</p>

<p>(I never found out how that story ended.)</p>

<p>I think that it ends up always being a matter of priorities. I say it over and over again here that selecting a residency program is absolutely different than picking a college or even medical school. And one the absolute biggest differences is that change in life status - marriage, children, caring for older parents, etc. 4 years in your mid-20's can be huge in those regards. </p>

<p>With that in mind, there are going to be family sacrifices always (that's part of being a physician and inescapable), but there can be career sacrifices made too. You don't pick one of the most prestigious residency programs, you pick private practice or less money or some other set up.</p>

<p>Yeah, there are tradeoffs and the options have expanded. My wife is a neurologist and I'm an attorney. Non-traditional second careers for both of us. We waited 15 years to have kids - after she was finished with residency and I was finished with law school. As a result, we are in our late 50s with a D who will be a junior in high school and a D who will be a sophomore in college (and considering medicine as a career). Our marriage survived both medical school and law school. We know lots of people who were less fortunate in that regard. We had a commuting marriage for 3 years while she did her residency. Four hour commute each way on weekends (in good weather - longer in the snow). One of our friends did a general surgical residency. She managed to have three children during her last year of medical school and her residency (that is extreme IMHO).</p>

<p>Specialty and practice arrangement will make a difference in your lifestyle. Some medical students pick their specialty based on perceived lifestyle. There are basically no dermatology emergencies. Does your hospital or group have hospitalists? That will make a difference. With larger groups you have less frequent call, but when you are on, it is a *****.</p>

<p>My sister was an anesthesiologist responsible for liver transplant anesthesia at a major academic medical center. One of the "benefits" was that she had blocks of liver call on and blocks of time off - which allowed her concentrated time with her three kids. On the other hand, when the phone rang, you went and the cases were grueling.</p>

<p>There will be money, call, anxiety and time tradeoffs with all specialties. Having gone through medical school vicariously, my observation was that for many if not most medical students, picking a specialty and residency was by process of elimination - you eliminate specialties that you don't want based on things you didn't like about each specialty after doing a rotation. Of course some pick a specialty based on size of loans to repay (militates towards higher paying specialties like cardiology, radiology etc.)</p>

<p>Technology has also affected how physicians practice, and thus their lifestyles. With teleradiology, radiologists can now provide services virtually from anywhere. Radiologists working for virtual service practices (e.g., NightHawk, Virtual Radiology) can provide services from their home or vacation houses at odd hours. Allows them to work around other family/relationship scheduling.</p>

<p>Your situation in life with a relationship and family will affect career decisions and vice versa. For example, I see more physicians (especially women) looking for part-time positions now than in the past (I do health care law), in order to accommodate family responsibilities. Once upon a time, that was relatively unheard of - now, many medical employers recognize that the world has changed and provide the necessary flexibility. </p>

<p>So, physician practice and lifestyle is not as cut and dried as it once was, but you are still going to have to make some decisions and sacrifices in order to make the whole thing work.</p>

<p>Just about everyone in my mom's generation, including herself, is in the medical field, and I'm not going to lie to you, it is pretty tough. My mom works 12 hours each night (7:00am to 7:00pm) and when she gets home she is pooped out tired and she sleeps until its time for her to go to work. She works so many days out of the week and I don't see her unless its her day off. My aunt's however have it slightly easier, so it's kind of different, but every last single one of them live a happy life with children. It's not impossible, but there may be some complications along the way.</p>

<p>Its nice post provides a lots of data related to topic.</p>

<p>It is cool to read about this... I never had any idea that either doctors or lawyers sacrificed so much for their career.</p>

<p>Do you have to be really really smart and intelligent to be a doctor or can you just be very hardworking and dedicated and at the same time be somewhat smart to become a doctor?</p>

<p>^It will depend on the person, and many, many qualities of that person that interacts in unknown ways.</p>

<p>Very nice thread. Landed here by accident. I was wondering if someone would classify the specialities and family life balance under Easy , Moderate, Hard categories for a woman. I know it is a generalization but I am sure in the broader sense it would be helpful.</p>

<p>For e.g<br>
Pediatrics - Easy
Cardiology - Hard</p>

<p>Thank you</p>

<p>^^ Also any Neurologists, how is the work/life balance? Is it better to work private practice or a hospital?</p>

This is also a concern of mine, albeit I'm hoping to become a husband/father at some point with a medical career. From what I've heard, the general practice areas (pediatrics, family practice, GP, etc.) have better hours than a specialist, as you're not on call all the time. But that's just based on what I've read


<p>That may be true, but in many reviews of "who is the most happy", surgeons are and internests often are not. The gratification of operating is much more than that of treating a fat person with diabetes and high blood pressure</p>