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Med School or Golf Career


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#1 Handbanana

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 03:59 AM

I love golf...it influences my sleep and has since I started playing at age 14.  Now I am a veteran and pre-med about to graduate and rack up major students loans...if I get in to med school.  The only thing holding me back is my mediocre gpa (3.4) and my lack of having professional relationships with doctors to provide letters of rec!  My question is this...I love golf, but would really enjoy a job where I can help people and feel like I am making a difference...the only thing is if my job is not golf related, then I need major stress and adrenaline to keep my ADD head in the game.  I left the military because I got bored with playing with explosives all day.  If I am a scratch golfer who plays better than most of the club pros I play with, what are the chances that I make a decent amount of money in a golf career considering I have a degree in Bio-Chemistry and am also a combat vet from both Iraqi and Enduring freedom?  What dream would you follow...golf seems more tangible because I have friends in the career, but I don't know any doctors...only other pre-meds who I cannot relate to because Im married, a parent, and do not know any doctors personally....most pre-meds that I know have either parents or something that are doctors.


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#2 bnied8

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:19 AM

if you can get in as a pro at a military facility you make bank.  those places have no budget.  pm with any questions.  I am a professional, and would love to talk to you about what you want to do, and your ideas about the profession.

#3 KYMAR

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:48 AM

Be a Doctor!!
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#4 generaljhc

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 06:48 AM

As far as med school....M.D. not only option...can go D.O....also if med school fails...PA school not a bad option...I know 2 M.D.s that went to Caribean Med schools and are doing fine.

Golf career...don't know much...not always good pay early on....

Edited by generaljhc, 09 March 2012 - 06:48 AM.


#5 puttingmatt

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 07:01 AM

On the lighter side ,

   According to Judge Smales ... The world needs  Ditch Diggers too !!!!


  You have choices !!!

Edited by puttingmatt, 09 March 2012 - 07:01 AM.

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#6 kmorr2586

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 07:17 AM

Med school bro...just do it

#7 pinhigh27

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:15 AM

What you got on the Mcat will matter quite a bit. So how did you do?
I'm in a combined bs/md program right now.
How to be in better shape for golf?
Become a better athlete.
Don't worry about golf specific.
Compound lifts w/ linear progress
Don't forget the mobility work.
More results, more functional

#8 cameyer

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:42 AM

View Postgeneraljhc, on 09 March 2012 - 06:48 AM, said:

As far as med school....M.D. not only option...can go D.O....also if med school fails...PA school not a bad option...I know 2 M.D.s that went to Caribean Med schools and are doing fine.

Golf career...don't know much...not always good pay early on....

As a professional in the industry, I can tell you that there is not always good pay early on, in the middle, and near the end.  You have to be in the top 10% before you are making a good living.  The one thing that I would warn you about is getting burnt out and losing your passion.  If your passion is to play then I would not recommend you work in a pro shop, it is really hard to want to play for 4 hours after you've been there for 8 or more already, I've seen a lot of friends get burnt out and get out of the industry over the past few years.  
I would recommend that you go with the medical route, make a good living, join a nice club with a playing membership and play competitively as an amateur (even in pro tournaments),  try to stay on the right side of the pro shop counter.

#9 farmer

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 02:07 PM

If you want to help people and make a difference in their lives, become a doctor and set up your practice in a rural area.

#10 oldcarl

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 02:14 PM

Be a DOC., and If you reall love golf, specialize in sports medicine, and specifically golf related injuries.


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#11 pinhigh27

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:17 PM

I don't think anyone here really understands how difficult it is to get into Med School..... Honestly, passing the PAT and becoming a club pro is a joke compared to what it takes to get into med school. Compare getting into Med School to shooting a 72 as a 10 handicap. Pretty freaking hard.
How to be in better shape for golf?
Become a better athlete.
Don't worry about golf specific.
Compound lifts w/ linear progress
Don't forget the mobility work.
More results, more functional

#12 CUTiger7

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:51 AM

View PostEK16, on 11 March 2012 - 08:48 PM, said:

Your GPA is going to hold you back not your connections. My roommate in college did EVERYTHING right to get into med school in college. Interned for respected doctors, president of volunteer on campus organization for EMT services, studied every waking moment for the MCAT junior/senior year, graduated with a 3.85 GPA, awarded the best overall student of our graduating class (considers GPA and all extracurricular activities), captain of a NCAA division 1 team, and his dad is a doctor.  This sounds even ridiculous as I type but this guy had all that going for him.

He was rejected from all 15 med schools he applied to because his MCAT scores were average. He retook and now is a licensed doctor but just know that's your competition, and all that wasn't good enough for 15 med schools. Unless you've scored perfectly on the MCAT, your 3.4 GPA is going to eliminate you immediately.  You need to start by retaking classes to raise your GPA if you want to go that route and then be the equivalent of a tour player on the MCAT.

This dude lived, breathed trying to be a doctor since I knew him. You seem to feel this way about golf so I would suggest going that route instead.

I have to laugh at this post. I guarantee you he wasn't rejected solely based off mediocre MCAT scores. Scores and GPA are big factors but so is having life experiences. A poor interview will give you an instant rejection. Being bred purely to become a doctor probably left him lacking in experiences and stories outside of medicine. If it was based on MCAT scores all Med Schools would be posting avg. scores of 36, 37, 38+ but they aren't. Same with the average GPA being a 3.7- 3.8. Its important to be rounded going into Undergrad but even more important to be rounded into Med School. From the OP I take his cGPA to be 3.4 but what about the science. Don't destroy people's dreams based off one story you have without knowing all of his application. People like you pissed me off all during my application year. The entrance committees actually do look at more than numbers. He already gets a leg up on being in the army. It shows discipline and commitment as well as the ability to perform under pressure.

OP I think you should do school. If you can gain admittance to a MD/DO/PA school and help people that way it would be great. From the sound of it maybe lean towards the PA option due to your interests outside of medicine. I think that would be the least time intensive (not considering specialties of course) for you. It will give you security but also flexibility. If you were single, I would say roll the dice, but having a family makes priorities change.

#13 ChipDriver

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:01 AM

View PostHandbanana, on 09 March 2012 - 03:59 AM, said:

I love golf...it influences my sleep and has since I started playing at age 14.  Now I am a veteran and pre-med about to graduate and rack up major students loans...if I get in to med school.  The only thing holding me back is my mediocre gpa (3.4) and my lack of having professional relationships with doctors to provide letters of rec!  My question is this...I love golf, but would really enjoy a job where I can help people and feel like I am making a difference...the only thing is if my job is not golf related, then I need major stress and adrenaline to keep my ADD head in the game.  I left the military because I got bored with playing with explosives all day.  If I am a scratch golfer who plays better than most of the club pros I play with, what are the chances that I make a decent amount of money in a golf career considering I have a degree in Bio-Chemistry and am also a combat vet from both Iraqi and Enduring freedom?  What dream would you follow...golf seems more tangible because I have friends in the career, but I don't know any doctors...only other pre-meds who I cannot relate to because Im married, a parent, and do not know any doctors personally....most pre-meds that I know have either parents or something that are doctors.

If you love to play golf - then don't make it a career.

Just another suggestion:   go to Med School become a physician and practice it for 4-8 years..maybe sports medicine or orthopedics b/c it helps golfers.   Pay for an Executive MBA - simply to get out of the mindset of how physicians tend to think and learn how to run your practice like a business and think like a business man, not as a physician.  Then start to expand your practice by acquisition in strategic markets and locations.   Now you will start to get out of the "technical services delivery" end of medicine...which kills your ability to play golf.    As your practices expand - start a surgery center and/or private hospital.

By then you ought to be in the world of finance and business of running practices - and will play golf a lot more as a tool for driving new business.

And you'll make as much doing that - as you would assuming you had a chance to play golf on tour - at least in the top 125 golfers every year - well past your prime.

You get the best of all worlds.  :)

Edited by ChipDriver, 13 March 2012 - 10:06 AM.


#14 CallawayLefty

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:50 AM

You should probaby apply to med school to keep your options open.  My guess is the deck will be very much stacked against you at a 3.4 GPA, but perhaps, as others have mentioned, your MCAT, life experiences, and military background might overcome that issue.  But what I would offer is don't do anything because of money.  You will likely spend a huge chunk of your life doing whatever you choose next, so choose carefully.  Remember med school is really tough, is an approximately 10 year proposition by the time you're done with school, residency, fellowship etc., that you will work horrendous hours for several years, and that you will likely incur massive debt to get through it.  Of course when you come out on the other side, you will likely have a very strong income, a flexible schedule, respect from "the world," all of which are fantastic, unless you hate it.  Then you're left with a huge pile of student loans that have to be paid off before you can reasonably do anything else and doing something that you dislike all because "the world" told you it was better than having a golf career.  That shouldn't be the case for a career in golf, but neither will the money, security, and prestige, which do matter.  At the end of the day, you need to just pick which one of those (or any other option) you really really want to do.  That's all that matters.  You can be happy with or without money, security and prestige as long as you're doing something that you like.

#15 dkothari

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:17 AM

If I had a family - I would take the safer route to make sure my family was provided for.  It's great to have a passion for golf, but IMHO once you have kids you can't follow your passions if they might prevent you from providing a stable income for your children.  Just my opinion - father of two kids.


#16 lhsgolfer2

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:54 PM

Golf is like any other job. You can make a great living if you work hard and play it smart. A lot of people talk about the low wages when you start, which is true as far as salaries are concerned, probably somewhere 25-30K. But when you factor in benefits, lesson income, club repair, outing bonuses, and any money you can earn playing, you're generally starting closer to 35 or 40k. I have friends who are second year assistants out of college and make over 45k per year when everything is considered. What you want to consider is that the hours are long, you don't get summer vacations, and you work weekends. Those are the things that make it tough when you have a family. Assistants put in probably 50-60 hours per week depending on their level of lessons. Head pro's, directors of golf, and general managers can easily earn six figure salaries, but the jobs are  very competitive. A degree in business, accounting, or hospitatlity would better suit you.

Don't let the $$$ be your reason to make a choice, you can make good money in the golf industry just like any other. Plus, if you're working at a private club, you can make some pretty good business contacts. I've heard of many people starting in golf, and making a great living down another avenue becuase they became good friends with a prominent member.

Working in the industry only hinders your playing as much as you let it. A lot of people find a hobby that takes them away from the golf course, while many, many others continue to play and practice for free and compete for money. You'll have more opportunities to play and practice than any other job, whether or not you take advantage of it is up to you.

Good luck and best wishes.

#17 pingman1

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

Med school.....at least you will be able to play on Wednesday afternoons!

#18 kellygreen

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:15 PM

Anesthesiologist...and like many anesthesiologists, used to be an aspiring surgeon that burned out.

My advice to you is to follow your heart.  If you are passionate about what you are doing, I believe that you will find a way to make a satisfactory living at a job you love.   I've seen enough unhappy docs, and miserable surgeons (having been one myself) to tell you that NO amount of money is worth having to toil away at a job you don't like.

If dreams of golf invade your sleep, then that is what your heart is telling you to do.  I don't believe that you will be happy or satisfied with any other job (especially as one as all consuming as medicine can be during med school and residency) until you've convinced yourself that you cannot have a happy life in a golf-related field.

Medicine is (for the right kind of person) a wonderful way to make a living.  But it also comes with a lot of stress, a lot of sacrifce, and a MOUNTAIN of headaches...and a few heartaches.   If you are not passionate about the sciences, are in love with the idea of learning for the rest of your life, and willing to work long hours at often god-awful hours of the day and night (I'm currently at work as I type)...then you are setting yourself on the road for heartache, misery, burnout...or even addiction.

I burned out as a surgical resident because---even though I love to help people and I love the sciences---because the hours were so brutally long, that I spent three years walking around in a fatigued haze, with no time to do any of the other things that I liked to do in order to keep me happy and balanced.   I have thrived as an anesthesiologist because the specialty has allowed me a better work-private life balance so that I can perform at work at a level that meets my standards...but also pursue my love of golf and of music.   Something I would not have had time to do as a surgeon.

So, at the end of the day, a number of things that you offered about yourself (and your life situation) have me concerned about the medicine being a good fit for you...and I'm not the kind of doc who goes around telling everyone how horrible medicine is and to stay away from it.  No, if I had to do my career all over again, I would STILL choose the career I am in now.

But my concern for you, is that I don't hear in your post the kind of fire-in-the-belly that I have for clinical medicine, and the lifelong thirst for the sciences and for knowledge that it takes to be a good doc these days.  I do hear that passion for golf, and I think...for you....it is probably your path.

Or at least a path that you have to pursue far enough to definitively rule it out...so that you can fully committ your heart to whatever it is you eventually do choose.   Without forever looking over your shoulder and wistfully wondering, "What if?"

There are no "what if?" where may career choice is concerned at this point...and medicine can be a painful gig for those who still carry them around after giving up years of their life and going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt.

It is a long, hard climb to the top of a ladder...only to find when you get to the top, that it's been up against the wrong wall.  Trust me---with surgery--I've been there...and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
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#19 MadGolfer76

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:35 PM

Well, I have worked in college admissions before, and my sister is also in medical school. I must say, that attending medical school while being a full time parent is not a load of stress that I would want, then again, you were in the military and probably manage that better than most. Your family should be part of the conversation as this is a major decision. What does your wife say?

Ordinarily, I would suggest doing what feels right. I am not a fan of backup plans, because it suggests a lack of faith in yourself, but I usually say that in conversations with single young adults. Your obligations have to narrow the conversation somewhat. Seeing as how we are in a golf forum, I would say, "Conservative target, aggressive swing." Meaning, you might consider a route with a shorter time span for completion, and throw yourself right into it with a full focus.

Medical school requires at least two years of study along with residency. If medicine is your thing, there are a lot of different options out there. There are physicians assistants, therapists, RN's, etc. The last I read, there are a lack of anesthesiologists in the U.S. (don't flame me, guys, if I am wrong). Many Registered Nurses (masters degree) are being trained in that field and pull down over 125K - usually having their choice of positions as well. There are a lot of ways to enter into medicine. I would suggest consulting the career office of your previous institution for some counseling if you are really at a crossroads.

That said, don't simply enter into medicine for a fear of not being able to succeed at golf, or because of the horror stories people share on golf forums. The majority of these "stories" that people share with you are second, third and fourth-hand. There are reasons why people keep repeating them that have nothing to do with helping you make a decision.

Good luck.
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#20 K31795

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:12 PM

http://blogs.law.har...ly-biased-rant/

Read the above before considering med school.  Add onto those reasons impending obamacare.  There are other areas of study in medicine (as mentioned above in other posts) that won't leave you in crushing debt and may be just as lucrative.


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#21 Sean2

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:20 PM

For what it's worth by 2020 there will be real shortage of doctors. I don't know if the same can be said of PGA Tour players.
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#22 kellygreen

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:30 PM

View PostK31795, on 15 December 2012 - 07:12 PM, said:

http://blogs.law.har...ly-biased-rant/

Read the above before considering med school.  Add onto those reasons impending obamacare.  There are other areas of study in medicine (as mentioned above in other posts) that won't leave you in crushing debt and may be just as lucrative.

1. That is the same rant you'll hear (and I've heard) from every unhappy doctor who resents every other profession that is making MORE money than he is, and (in his mind) for less effort and less "social good".  

2. The Affordable Care Act will likely mean that we will likely see less money per individual patient...but have access to more patients...and will get compensated by every patient.   Rather than what we have right now where some of our patients pay us a lot (insured), some them pay us a little (Medicaid), and many of them pay us NOTHING for our services (uninsured).

Which is the point we eventually had to come to given our current system is economically unstable and unstustainable.   Because it has the perverse incentives built into it for insurance companies.   Where they make money only by NOT paying for health-care.   So the result is---since we have to give away (very loosely defined) "emergency care" to the uninsured----a system where more and more of the burden of paying for everyone's care (either through premiums or our taxes) is being shouldered by fewer and fewere people.

...and more and more people get priced out of the market and become free riders.   Who either get no care...or outrageously expensive and horribly inefficient care in our emergency departments.
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#23 kellygreen

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:34 PM

View PostSean2, on 15 December 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

For what it's worth by 2020 there will be real shortage of doctors. I don't know if the same can be said of PGA Tour players.

a. Only because the Baby Boomers will be entering their senior years in earnest.

b. Still not worth it, if its not a job you are happy doing....and there are lots of unhappy doctors out there.
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#24 TML

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:51 PM

you are going to incur a lot of debt going to med school, so like kellygreen states, only do it if you will be happy.

If you want to make real money, you have to either grow your own business, or become an advanced math whiz at an ivy league school and get into hedge fund management.  A friend made well over half a mill right out of Brown at a hedge fund.

Edited by TML, 15 December 2012 - 07:52 PM.


#25 Sean2

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:18 PM

View Postkellygreen, on 15 December 2012 - 07:34 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 15 December 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

For what it's worth by 2020 there will be real shortage of doctors. I don't know if the same can be said of PGA Tour players.

a. Only because the Baby Boomers will be entering their senior years in earnest.

b. Still not worth it, if its not a job you are happy doing....and there are lots of unhappy doctors out there.

True on both counts. I know quite a few doctors, only a few are what I'd called truly happy.

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#26 K31795

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:22 PM

View Postkellygreen, on 15 December 2012 - 07:30 PM, said:

View PostK31795, on 15 December 2012 - 07:12 PM, said:

http://blogs.law.har...ly-biased-rant/

Read the above before considering med school.  Add onto those reasons impending obamacare.  There are other areas of study in medicine (as mentioned above in other posts) that won't leave you in crushing debt and may be just as lucrative.

1. That is the same rant you'll hear (and I've heard) from every unhappy doctor who resents every other profession that is making MORE money than he is, and (in his mind) for less effort and less "social good".  

2. The Affordable Care Act will likely mean that we will likely see less money per individual patient...but have access to more patients...and will get compensated by every patient.   Rather than what we have right now where some of our patients pay us a lot (insured), some them pay us a little (Medicaid), and many of them pay us NOTHING for our services (uninsured).

Which is the point we eventually had to come to given our current system is economically unstable and unstustainable.   Because it has the perverse incentives built into it for insurance companies.   Where they make money only by NOT paying for health-care.   So the result is---since we have to give away (very loosely defined) "emergency care" to the uninsured----a system where more and more of the burden of paying for everyone's care (either through premiums or our taxes) is being shouldered by fewer and fewere people.

...and more and more people get priced out of the market and become free riders.   Who either get no care...or outrageously expensive and horribly inefficient care in our emergency departments.

1. I am not unhappy in my profession, but I agree with everything in this "rant".  I think it is an accurate assessment of medical training, though I believe it was written pre 80 hour work week.   For someone like the OP who is undecided about medicine I hope it is helpful.  Again, I love what I do, but it is not for everyone -- there are sacrifices upon sacrifices that most pre-meds just do not understand.

I find it interesting that you rag on this rant yet you admit to burning out as a surgical resident...I completed 5.5 years of a brutal ortho residency and I find every bit of it to be true.

2. I agree. But how does declining reimbursements (Medicare cuts) and more patients to see bode for physicians who are already over-worked? How do my colleagues in primary care survive when they already barely covering overhead now?

I agree with your last two paragraphs.

Edited by K31795, 15 December 2012 - 08:25 PM.


#27 Beatupfender

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:32 PM

View Postputtingmatt, on 09 March 2012 - 07:01 AM, said:


The world needs  Ditch Diggers too !!!!


And Dirk Digglers.

#28 kellygreen

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:25 PM

View PostK31795, on 15 December 2012 - 08:22 PM, said:

1. I am not unhappy in my profession, but I agree with everything in this "rant".  I think it is an accurate assessment of medical training, though I believe it was written pre 80 hour work week.   For someone like the OP who is undecided about medicine I hope it is helpful.  Again, I love what I do, but it is not for everyone -- there are sacrifices upon sacrifices that most pre-meds just do not understand.

I find it interesting that you rag on this rant yet you admit to burning out as a surgical resident...I completed 5.5 years of a brutal ortho residency and I find every bit of it to be true.

2. I agree. But how does declining reimbursements (Medicare cuts) and more patients to see bode for physicians who are already over-worked? How do my colleagues in primary care survive when they already barely covering overhead now?

I agree with your last two paragraphs.

1. Yes, there are sacrifices.  Which is I why I told the OP that he need to explore his other career interest if he wasn't passionately in love with the sciences and the idea of caring for other people.   This job is just too hard, and takes too much out of people if there isn't that fire to sustain you.

You will never find a career where there are no sacrifices.  You know you are in the RIGHT career, when you like what you are doing so much that you live with the sacrifices you are called upon to make, and can still be happy in your job and in your life.

2. I burned out as an ortho resident myself (pre 80 hours) because of the lack of restraint on working conditions (I worked 240 consecutive days without a day off between my PGY-2 and 3 years.) and because I made a bad career (specialty) choice.   I chose a career (and a program) that demanded singular focus..when I am personality that needs a more balanced life.  I went to the point of burnout because I was in a situation where people kept telling me that I was the problem...rather than a mismatch between me and my situation being the problem. Because the people I was working for were similarly out of balance, with many of them on the verge of burnout themselves.

When I switched to a specialty that was more suitable to my termperment and needs--and worked for more FUNCTIONAL people---I flourished and never looked back.   Which is why whenever I'm mentoring students I always emphasize that they have to have a clear idea of what kind of life they want to live...THEN choose the job they like that will fit into that lifestyle...and not try to fit their life around a job simply because it is interesting.   I tried to do that, and got three of the most miserable years of my life for my troubles.

The issue isn't the hours or the sacrifices. Its matching the right people to the right job...and in my case orthopedic surgeon and myself were a poor fit.   Because one of the happiest guys in my department is a guy who probably spends more time in the hospital and in the lab than I spent on the wards when I was burning out as an ortho resident.  But the guy is happy because he eats, sleeps, breathes and sweats-out-of-his pores anesthesiology.  He's doing what he loves to do, and he has a spouse who is willing to support him in his single-minded devotion to it.

God bless him.  The world needs guys like him.  It just doesn't need people like ME trying to PRETEND to myself and the world...that I'm just like him.  Been there.  Done that.

Epic fail.

3. That's an issue for addressing WHAT gets compensated in medicine, and how much.   Procedures get paid to much.  Primary care/office care too little.   As a result (in any capitalist system) you get what you incentivize.   So we have too many procedure-oriented specialists, and too few primary care docs. But that is WAAY beyond the scope of this thread.

Edited by kellygreen, 15 December 2012 - 09:29 PM.

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#29 chiva

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:31 PM

I'm a "procedure oriented specialist" (lol) and I make a nice living. My hours are decent as well. I won't suggest one way or the other to you. This is solely your bed to make and lie in. Just choose wisely and with a lot of thought. In other words, measure twice, thrice, even four times, then cut once. I think Kelley green imparted some true words of wisdom. You have to pursue medice b/c you enjoy helping people. You just might prefer giving golf lessons and playing in the local sectional events. Every career has its headaches.

#30 John Kreese

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:04 PM

The doctors I know play a lot more rounds than the golf pros I know.


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