[This is a guest post]
I am thrilled to have found this page to share my story and current situation. Any friendly advice is welcome!
I am 32, a wife, a mother to a joyful 17 month old, and a first year resident at an OB/GYN residency program living remote (verrrrrry remote) from family and friends. I am the sole mother within the program, and I have no “mom friends” in my remote location. I am eager to grow my family very soon and make my son the great big brother I know he will be. Having said that, the program as a whole - attendings and coresidents alike - are completely appalled at the very thought of my having another child while in residency (not to mention, how the heck am I going to mother two children with a full-time working husband and no help nearby!). When I think about transferring programs to one that might be more supportive, I am personally appalled at myself that I would bother “soldiering on” in a career that I have felt has caused me much suffering and little joy. You see, I know that I went into medicine because it’s what my father, a passionate and successful surgeon, wanted of me. And at the time, single, without children, with the energy of someone in her mid-20’s, and without any other realistic career path in sight, I went for it. It was my lifelong plan B. The costs have finally outweighed the benefits for me, and I’m eager to change my path. I’m having a challenging time processing and planning the following few things: (a) helping my father to understand my perspective and choices (I know, I’m a grown woman and it isn’t about him, but my relationship with him is still important and complicated, and he will be 100% devastated/heartbroken/etc), (b) finding a more personally rewarding path to pursue when I’ve spent so many years trudging down the road to doctorhood, and (c) convincing those on that new rewarding path that I am well-equipped and talented to handle the job at hand when my resume reads like a Guide to Higher Education.
Many thanks for any support and words of encouragement this community can offer!
Gosh that is a big question and the answer is yes on both counts. I do know of young doctors leaving (some who even chose not to finish residency), and yes, there are many ways to use MD skills that do not require you to practice medicine. I have a lot of podcast interviews with physicians entrepreneurs (in my Conversations with Trailblazers category) on my other website, The Entrepreneurial MD at http://www.entrepreneurialmd.com. You can check out the interviews and get plenty of ideas!!
[This is a guest post]
I’m 29, female, live in the UK and single. I left medicine a year ago after much soul searching. I started on the path when I was 23 and spent 5 years studying, plus a year out when I thought about quitting the first time. I didn’t quit but went back. This was a mistake.
When I left for good last summer, initially I felt euphoric. I was very happy to suddenly have free time to spend with friends and family, eat properly and enjoy my hobbies. Recently however I’ve been plagued with doubts about whether leaving was the right thing. I developed anxiety and depression while at medical school and I know since I’ve left I’ve been so much happier. Back to normal.
No other career grabbed me as much as medicine did when I was 23. It seemed to offer everything I wanted from a job . Meaningful, helpful to society, intellectually stimulating, great mix of practical and academic skills, secure job, clear career path, reasonable to good money, lots of people contact and options to work abroad.
However, I wish I could go back to my 23 year old self and say don’t do it. For me, the reality of medicine was a lot of student debt and some very miserable experiences. i have excellent academics and genuinely wanted to help people but I found the healthcare system incredibly frustrating. I hated the power trips many of my seniors seemed to be on and also felt that my male colleagues had an easier time of it.
I personally cannot recommend medicine to anyone, male or female. So many of my friends from medical school (of both sexes) are now doctors in the UK and they complain constantly about their lives. However, some doctors somewhere must be happy otherwise there would no one left working in our hospitals, surely?
Reading other people’s experiences on this website has really helped me this morning as I was having another bout of “my life is terrible, why did i leave medicine”. I still don’t have a job, my days are spent frittering away time while other people my age work on their careers or look after their families. I’m a bit clueless about what to do next and have had a lot of job applications rejected. It’s not easy in this current job market. I’m now hoping to do a masters in an unrelated field. Surely my 30s should be more enjoyable than my miserable 20s. My main regret is i didn’t get out sooner.
Women Leaving Medicine turned 3 today!
Thank you for all your contributions … may you all be discovering the answers that work best for you!
This sounds like a hard decision. In my experience, the best answers to tough questions like this come from really knowing yourself, your core values and your sense of life purpose and vision for who you would like to become!
It’s not advice per se, but instead a form of guidance :)
Sorry for my delayed response. Please feel free to add your story to our evolving resource, as I’m sure it will be useful.
[This is a guest post]
I am a family physician with sports medicine fellowship training, but I am currently working in occupational medicine because it was the only work I could find. It’s not because I’m a bad doctor (I don’t think…), it’s because I’m an Army wife. Since I finished residency four years ago, the Army has moved us three times. Even with the shortage of family practitioners, no one wants to hire me if I can’t commit to at least two years. So I’ve done what I can to keep my resume from having huge gaps.
Two years ago my daughter and I moved to live with family while my husband deployed to Afghanistan. I volunteered at a faith based clinic because we were in a city that seemed to have an excess of doctors (and therefore no jobs). The volunteering turned into maternity cover and then job sharing, which was great, and allowed me to work part-time and thus keep my daughter from having both parents miss a year of her life.
When my husband got back, we moved and I started working in an occupational medicine clinic, also part-time, which I appreciated so I could once again not be outsourcing all my child care! After I had my second child about three months ago, I started looking for another job. I applied for a full time family practice locum job that came up through a recruiting agency. The message came back that the clinic felt that I perhaps didn’t have enough family practice experience. And guess who the employer was? The Army!! The very organization whose fault it is that I can’t get enough experience! I was equal parts angry and defeated.
Other recruiters have confirmed that if I don’t get family practice jobs soon and lose my pediatrics experience, I may have trouble getting hired in family practice. Because I’m not getting enough exposure to children? Like the two I’m raising?
So I’m wondering what to do now. I am going back to my occupational medicine job for a while, but I’m wondering if I need to take another tack.
Would I be more likely to get a job if I got an MPH and moved into a less clinical track? I don’t think I’ll be able to get hired in sports medicine anymore, it’s been two years since fellowship and I haven’t worked in a single sports med clinic. And it seems the family practice option is not turning out to be as in demand as I thought. There has got to be another way.
I know the economy is bad and employers feel they have the upper hand, but if we’re so short on docs these days, how about some creative solutions so those of us with this expensive training can contribute to the solution?
[This is a guest post]
I am currently a resident in pathology, a field that requires fellowship training to find a job. The fellowships aren’t regulated by a match process so usually people will sign on for one two years before they finish residency. I signed a contract while 7 months pregnant for a competitive two year fellowship at my own institution. My husband is in surgery residency at the same place so it made the most sense. He is currently on research for a year so it made sense to have a child while he actually had free time. Now that our child is a few months old, the reality of being in a demanding fellowship while my husband is back in his clinical years is setting in. I have no desire to miss out on the next three years of my child’s life and don’t really think I want to continue to work given my husband cannot serve as a support person. Rather he needs me to serve as a support system due to surgery having much more demanding hours. I will finish out my residency but would like to get out of the fellowship but am not sure about how to gracefully do that since I am screwing over my own training program (if I can get out of my contract- is that even possible?). Does anyone have any experience with this/suggestions?
[This is a guest post]
I was referred to your blog by a friend who just finished her residency in anesthesiology. I’ve wanted to be an Ob/Gyn like Dr Huxtible from the Cosby Show all my life. I studied nursing as a pre-med degree and was about to go back from my pre-reqs when I got married (3 months after graduating). I took my first year of marriage off and after seeing the lives of the physicians I worked with I decided to not pursue medicine at the time. I am 31 currently and have 3 young kids (ages 3-6) and I am struggling with resentment towards them and my husband. I feel I gave up on my dreams for them. I feel like I am not living up to my fullest potential as I am passionate about the medical field and feel nursing isn’t what I envisioned for myself. Sometimes I wander if my angry outbursts and verbal abuse at times towards my kids is a result of my forsaken dreams. Am I sabotaging the sacrifice I made by scarring my kids as an angry, unhappy mother?
I fortunately or unfortunately have a few pre-med friends who are almost finished with residency. They are adamant that I have a romanticized view of medicine even as a nurse and should pursue advanced practice nursing as a nurse midwife. My struggle is will this be a waste of time and be a detour in achieving my ultimate goal? Should I pursue my dream of being a doctor or take advice from those who have gone through it?
I read the posts on your blog and wonder if that will be me at the end if I decided to become a physician. Will I regret not being there for my kids now and when they are teenagers since I am looking at the next 9-11 years devoted to achieving this goal? What if I loose it all because I was selfish and pursued my dream? Could I wait till my kids were older and then went back to pursue medicine? When is the best time to go back?
Please advise if you can. I am currently working on receiving counseling to deal with my anger. Thanks!
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I have one year of dermatology residency, however, I took a one year leave of absence due to my daughter’s medical condition. I don’t think I will be able to return in July as she requires a lot of my resources. I may have to leave residency altogether and re-apply at a later date realizing the match gets harder each year. I’m wondering if there is any work I can do on a per diem basis in order to help my husband pay the bills? We can’t afford to stay in our current apartment on one income. I’m thinking maybe along the lines of a medical spa but I have no idea of what position I would be qualified for without having to go to esthetics school. Just curious about positions out there that look favorable on “some” MD experience. I have almost $300K in school loans so this is a really hard decision but my daughter needs me and I have no family support.
Hi, i recently graduated from medical school, and right now doing an internship in family medicine for 1 year. Im 24 years old and i feel like ive done it all wrong. Im sad all the time because eventho the internship is not going bad at all, i dont feel thats what my heart wants. I feel empty.
Ive read some posts in this page, and i feel like i still have time to go in a different path, but it makes me feel so sad to think that i made a wrong choice 6 years ago, and all that effort was for nothing.
I should be thinking on residency but i hate that idea, i hate it. Unlike most of you i didnt use loans. I live in the caribbean, so universities here are not too expensive. My parents payed it, and evento i dont have to work to give them the money back, as i would if i had taken loans, they will be very dissapointed of me.
Im sad, and ive thought of the worst things.. I dont want to feel like this anymore.