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Time for a Sabbatical?

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  • Time for a Sabbatical?

    Anyone thinking of taking a pause now? All my elective cases are canceled. Office and O.R. procedures were all "elective." I can talk to patients on the phone or have a video chat. I'm not sure I can assess them thoroughly or add value. Besides I can't order the x-rays, MRI, EMG, Injection, Bone Scan, PT, etc that I would normally recommend. I have limited skills in the inpatient world and a long list of personal health issues so being frontline isn't the best for anyone. I will help where I can, but I can't do what I was trained for.
    Anyone else feel this way? I'm considering this as a pivot point. Or a time to step back and resume if and when a more normal world returns.

  • #2
    I think a lot of people, doctors & all fields of work, are being forced into "temporary retirement", whether welcomed or not. I thought about it, but people keep walking through the office doors...

    I have 3 colleagues who closed their doors for 2 weeks because patients were not coming in. I don't know if they or I are the luckier ones in this so far.
    "Oh look another bajillion point declin-Ooooh!!! A coupon for pizza!!!!" <--- This is what everyone's IPS should be. ✓✓✓

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    • #3
      I imagine a sabbatical being something where I traveled and pursued interesting hobbies that I didn't have time for before. The current climate makes one of those nearly impossible and the other likely much more difficult.

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      • #4
        I am in a similar position. As a contract employee, a month ago my two employers were asking me for more of my time. Now, neither really needs me at all. I do not anticipate that I will be working for the next 60-90 days, unless conditions change in a way that it is hard to imagine right now.

        So I am on a sabbatical, of sorts, one in which I cannot travel, go to museums, or take in-person classes. Depending on how things evolve, it might be the end of the road for the medical career or it might just be an unplanned hiatus. I am open to all possibilities at this time.

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        • #5
          Depends on how you want to look at it.
          Without knowing your specialty, can’t guess.
          We are the primary care givers for a 90 something MIL. She has many specialists. Very few of her issues are critical. But each ailment can fly out of control and only the specialist like you can recognize and spot it. Not critical now, but if left untreated it will be a disaster. It’s only your knowledge and taking that phone call. What seems elective, only you can elevate it.
          But if you are on sabbatical and her other specialists too, it’s going to be really ugly.
          No specialists for her “elective” or “non-critical “ issues will be a death sentence. A complete void of healthcare. Depends on how valuable your skills are to your patients and how you view responsibilities in practicing medicine.
          Good luck. By the way, if MIL really needs you, please take the call. Thanks.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post
            I am in a similar position. As a contract employee, a month ago my two employers were asking me for more of my time. Now, neither really needs me at all. I do not anticipate that I will be working for the next 60-90 days, unless conditions change in a way that it is hard to imagine right now.

            So I am on a sabbatical, of sorts, one in which I cannot travel, go to museums, or take in-person classes. Depending on how things evolve, it might be the end of the road for the medical career or it might just be an unplanned hiatus. I am open to all possibilities at this time.
            Curious if you thought about installing high resolution monitors at home and also having gigabit internet and having privileges at a spread out hospitals. You can then sit at home and read the scans and other radio logical studies from the safety of your home.

            I agree that it will not be as lucrative as procedural radiology but at least you could get a decent income and keep up with your skills.
            Last edited by Kamban; 03-24-2020, 10:51 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kamban View Post

              Curious if you thought about installing high resolution monitors installed at home and also having gigabit internet and having privileges at a spread out hospitals. You can then sit at home and read the scans and other radio logical studies from the safety of your home.

              I agree that it will not be as lucrative as procedural radiology but at least you could get a decent income and keep up with your skills.
              With all elective and non-emergent imaging paused, demand for professional service for interpretations has fallen off a cliff. Both of my groups are reducing staffing of their partners, reducing number of scheduled slots, and bracing for pay cuts as volumes are dropping 50-70%.

              To clear a misconception, in 2020, diagnostic imaging is more lucrative than community hospital procedural radiology.

              I am okay with all of this. I was considering retiring from practice at the end of the year, so it just might be sooner than I expected.

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              • #8
                Yeah. Being away from patients and staying alive is important, especially if you have a "long list of personal health issues." Adequate PPE is very difficult or impossible to get. I already hear talk from certain politicians about "opening the economy," which will dramatically increase the number of cases and overwhelm our hospitals. Healthcare workers are going to be getting sick and dying, frequently. Do you see how it could go any other way?

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                • #9
                  I think I would readily take a 1-3 month sabbatical/furlough, though my financial situation and current net worth is on the opposite end of the spectrum to a retiree. To me it would mean more time in nature, more time with the family, and more time learning woodworking skills. Wouldn't mind not being able to travel.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post

                    With all elective and non-emergent imaging paused, demand for professional service for interpretations has fallen off a cliff. Both of my groups are reducing staffing of their partners, reducing number of scheduled slots, and bracing for pay cuts as volumes are dropping 50-70%.

                    To clear a misconception, in 2020, diagnostic imaging is more lucrative than community hospital procedural radiology.

                    I am okay with all of this. I was considering retiring from practice at the end of the year, so it just might be sooner than I expected.
                    Being financially independent sometimes one needs an extra kick to actually retire!!!!! Good Luck and enjoy a polygamy porter or two.

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