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Satisfaction/enjoyment practicing medicine

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  • Avatar YSH 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 108
    Joined: 01/11/2016

    The medicine part 9.5/10.  The practicing aspect, probably 8/10. I have been an attending x 9 years, so 10+ years if counting residency. Have gone through several personally related professional transitions (family issues, relocations, new positions) about every 3-4 years or so.  Currently at my longest gig so far since residency.  Since settling into my attending role, have been able to customize my practice a bit. I dropped the clinical areas I don’t enjoy as much and have been able to focus my time/effort on the areas I like the most or that works best for me at this stage in my life. That has helped to keep the satisfaction high.

    The enjoyment of practicing medicine is related to overall well being for me, as I am sure for most of us.  Overall it has been a good ride.  Life happens; good stuff, bad stuff.  Life is messy, but the practice of medicine doesn’t tolerate messy well. So there lies the struggle.  But I am sure that is true for all highly driven professions- commitment/opportunities wait for no one.

    #33471 Reply
    TheHappyPhilosopher TheHappyPhilosopher 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 144
    Joined: 08/04/2016

    Radiology.

    When I was full time and in maximum burnout mode satisfaction was 1, maybe a 2.

    Now that I am working part time and re-calibrated my brain to happiness and freedom I’m like a 7 or 8 most days. This seems pretty great, but when I’m not working and completely free to do what I want I’m at about an 11, so actually a 7 or 8 for me is a relatively crappy day.

    Call is still a minus 4 because, well, it’s call. I hate the pace, the stress, and missing out on other better things.

    Overall I would say medicine is very different in reality that what I thought it would be like. There is so much tedium with a few morsels of excitement thrown in. When I started medical school everything was so new and exciting, now it’s like Groundhog Day. Does anyone else feel this? Was it different 20 or 30 years ago?

    That said I can’t complain. I’ve optimized my life for me and am a happy dude.

    #33472 Reply
    Liked by Vagabond MD
    Avatar Complete_newbie 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 804
    Joined: 01/03/2017

    So far in the thread, folks are pretty upbeat. Contradicting many studies out there that docs aren’t happy.

    27 replies

    Average = 7.5

    Mode and Median = 8

    #33473 Reply
    Liked by Drsan1
    PhysicianOnFIRE PhysicianOnFIRE 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1536
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    Call is still a minus 4 because, well, it’s call. I hate the pace, the stress, and missing out on other better things. Overall I would say medicine is very different in reality that what I thought it would be like. There is so much tedium with a few morsels of excitement thrown in. When I started medical school everything was so new and exciting, now it’s like Groundhog Day. Does anyone else feel this? Was it different 20 or 30 years ago?

    Click to expand…

    Call is -4 / 10. Maybe that’s my issue — most of my workdays are 24+ hour call shifts. Yesterday, I came home after 13 hours, grateful to have some time to spend with my family. I ate dinner’s leftovers, got comfortable with a book in the living room, enjoyed some ice cream, then the pager went off. 3 more hours of work and another 7 tethered to the pager as I slept (fortunately) back at home.

    For the most part, work is routine and busy; occasionally, it’s frustrating and borderline scary. It’s a great way to make money, but I wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t earning a solid paycheck. I’ve realized that I would be happier in a no-call situation, but I might be happiest in a no-work situation. I think an extended sabbatical will help me sort that out.

    To answer the question:

    Before Financial Independence, satisfaction was an 8.

    After, I’ll call it a 5.

     

     

    40-something anesthesiologist and personal finance blogger @ https://physicianonfire.com [Part of the WCI Network] Find me on Twitter: @physicianonfire

    FIRE. Financial Independence. Retire Early.

    #33487 Reply
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6061
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    Radiology.

    When I was full time and in maximum burnout mode satisfaction was 1, maybe a 2.

    Now that I am working part time and re-calibrated my brain to happiness and freedom I’m like a 7 or 8 most days. This seems pretty great, but when I’m not working and completely free to do what I want I’m at about an 11, so actually a 7 or 8 for me is a relatively crappy day.

    Call is still a minus 4 because, well, it’s call. I hate the pace, the stress, and missing out on other better things.

    Overall I would say medicine is very different in reality that what I thought it would be like. There is so much tedium with a few morsels of excitement thrown in. When I started medical school everything was so new and exciting, now it’s like Groundhog Day. Does anyone else feel this? Was it different 20 or 30 years ago?

    That said I can’t complain. I’ve optimized my life for me and am a happy dude.

    Click to expand…

    This exactly. Life overall is a 10, 11 when out of work. Work is just plain boring even if I enjoy parts of it, and I’ve no illusion its any different in any other field. Lucky to have made my overall life the balance and way I want it thus far.

    #33488 Reply
    Avatar dentoid 
    Participant
    Status: Dentist
    Posts: 86
    Joined: 02/08/2016

    Radiology.

    When I was full time and in maximum burnout mode satisfaction was 1, maybe a 2.

    Now that I am working part time and re-calibrated my brain to happiness and freedom I’m like a 7 or 8 most days. This seems pretty great, but when I’m not working and completely free to do what I want I’m at about an 11, so actually a 7 or 8 for me is a relatively crappy day.

    Call is still a minus 4 because, well, it’s call. I hate the pace, the stress, and missing out on other better things.

    Overall I would say medicine is very different in reality that what I thought it would be like. There is so much tedium with a few morsels of excitement thrown in. When I started medical school everything was so new and exciting, now it’s like Groundhog Day. Does anyone else feel this? Was it different 20 or 30 years ago?

    That said I can’t complain. I’ve optimized my life for me and am a happy dude.

    Click to expand…

    This exactly. Life overall is a 10, 11 when out of work. Work is just plain boring even if I enjoy parts of it, and I’ve no illusion its any different in any other field. Lucky to have made my overall life the balance and way I want it thus far.

    Click to expand…

    That’s my issue in the dental world. It is extremely routine unless the kid has some medically compromised concerns. Same thing over and over, I love working with kids and wouldn’t have it any other way but it’s the mind numbing aspects that get to me. Sometimes I think it’d be worth it to be in academics. Maybe it’s that I am still a kid myself, probably have ADHD, or just want to be a kid. I’d say over all as a peds dentist its an 8. Take out the crazy parents and it’s a 9.5.

    #33522 Reply
    Avatar Antares 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 489
    Joined: 01/20/2016

    The “mind-numbing aspects” would have to be extremely minor for me to get anywhere near an 8, let alone a 9.5

    #33530 Reply
    Avatar Drsan1 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 49
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    The mean may be high based on the type of sample that reads and responds to financial forums. We may be similar in more ways than one  😉

    #33531 Reply
    Avatar shantster 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 109
    Joined: 01/16/2016

    The mean may be high based on the type of sample that reads and responds to financial forums. We may be similar in more ways than one

    Click to expand…

    I think the same can be said about the sample of those that take the time to answer surveys regarding job satisfaction.

    #33532 Reply
    CM CM 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1140
    Joined: 01/14/2017

    I think the same can be said about the sample of those that take the time to answer surveys regarding job satisfaction.

    Click to expand…

    .

    Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried bags for Cyd Charisse (gracious). Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

    #33536 Reply
    Live Free MD Live Free MD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 73
    Joined: 01/03/2017

    I enjoy many aspects of my job, but there are so many other areas of life worth pursuing that are not possible with the responsibilities of a full-time job.  Hence the drive for financial independence.  Why settle for an 8/10, when you could have 11/10 every day of your life.

    Sports Medicine Physician. Athlete. Big Mountain Enthusiast. Blogger at http://www.LiveFreeMD.com

    #33537 Reply
    Avatar dentoid 
    Participant
    Status: Dentist
    Posts: 86
    Joined: 02/08/2016

    The “mind-numbing aspects” would have to be extremely minor for me to get anywhere near an 8, let alone a 9.5

    Click to expand…

    Rereading my statement today had me scratching my head, and waking up with a sore neck does too, especially since I am only in my mid 30’s. I’d say it varies from a 3 – 9.5 (when first out of residency). I’d like to re-calibrate and state it ranges 3-8 depending on volume of patients, support staff behavior and motivation and what office I am at. My job fits my personality, I wouldn’t recommend my children to pursue dentistry and am through the wall in student loans. So probably a 4-5 today, but I feel the rating is cyclic.

    #33541 Reply
    Avatar Antares 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 489
    Joined: 01/20/2016

    The “mind-numbing aspects” would have to be extremely minor for me to get anywhere near an 8, let alone a 9.5

    Click to expand…

    Rereading my statement today had me scratching my head, and waking up with a sore neck does too, especially since I am only in my mid 30’s. I’d say it varies from a 3 – 9.5 (when first out of residency). I’d like to re-calibrate and state it ranges 3-8 depending on volume of patients, support staff behavior and motivation and what office I am at. My job fits my personality, I wouldn’t recommend my children to pursue dentistry and am through the wall in student loans. So probably a 4-5 today, but I feel the rating is cyclic.

    Click to expand…

    Recalibration duly noted. Fwiw, your description now makes total sense to me!

    #33551 Reply
    WealthyDoc WealthyDoc 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 270
    Joined: 02/03/2016

    I love this thread!

    9.5

    I feel so blessed to enjoy my work.  I know that is not necessarily the norm in medicine these days.  I help people, use my brain, teach, learn, lead, and enjoy.  I may not do it all for free, but on the other hand I could probably quit and be ok financially.  I focus on the service I provide and how lucky I am to be a high earning professional in America.  I have a pretty manageable work schedule and that makes it easier for me to enjoy it.  I think a lot of the 6-7/10 people posting would be a 9 if they did only 30 hours clinical with no weekends, holidays, call etc.  The only thing keeping me from a 10 is the difficulty I have cutting my hours back even more.  Medical practice is still pretty inhospitable to part time workers.  I did know a couple who were both FP and did a job share.  Life was great for them until the company decided 0.5 FTE workers were not eligible for benefits.  One had to go to 0.6 FTE at least and they may ratchet that up higher next year.

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    Hey, people are simply different. I dont find this particularly challenging or engaging at all from a mental standpoint. Its basically the same stuff over and over and over, which turns out to be true for most anything. If you find it very rewarding, thats great, its not the norm for everyone.

    Again, I work at most 4d/wk, no call, no weekends and I dont even go to the hospital. I have about the sweetest gig ever, and make a great amount of money/hr worked. Thats not the issue. I’d give it up to pursue other things intellectually, experientially, and personally if it were fiscally possible.

    Im not unhappy whatsoever, but its just not enough for me. People are different.

    Its kind of rude to take your personal situation or feelings and project it to others as a blanket proclamation of their person. I dont assume that somehow everyone out their getting mental enjoyment out of their practice somehow havent mastered their craft yet or are easily captivated, which is what the nice opposite version of how I feel applied inappropriately to everyone else. Why cant we all just be different and enjoy different things?

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    No Zaphod, I’m not trying to say everybody is the same.  Medicine isn’t a field for everyone.  I don’t mean to imply that everybody should love it.  What I was trying to say is that sometimes people really would love their jobs if there was only less of it.  I love drinking cold water but that doesn’t mean I love drinking from a fire hose.  When my satisfaction level dipped to a 6 or 7 I did some soul searching and made some schedule changes.  I made a lot of changes and I ended up loving my work more after.  Most of the changes were to add more variety, reduce my hours, spend more time with each patient, and cut out the stuff I don’t like.  Not everyone is able to make such changes.  And even if they did it might not help that much.  I mention it because 2 other doctors at my workplace made similar changes and it really helped them enjoy their work more.  If even one person reading this finds a way to make their work life more enjoyable then it would be worth my posting this.  There is more material than a forum comment, but see my blog if interested:  http://wealthydoc.com/blog/how-high-is-your-professional-satisfaction-could-it-be-higher

    Wealthy Doc is a FI (Financially Independent) physician. He enjoys financial freedom and wants to help others achieve that as well. See more at http://www.WealthyDoc.org

    #33903 Reply
    Arkad Arkad 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 112
    Joined: 07/27/2016

    5

     

    seeng patients is a 10 and all the other stuff we have to do is a zero. As time goes on we do more of the zero and less of the 10. It is about 50:50 now so I would say a 5 as the average but that is going down as the percentages change for the worse

    #34300 Reply

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