Medical Resident…..My life is not my own

I am a emergency medecine resident…I commit all kinds of atrocities. I manage
patients who present with the entire spectrum of acute illnesses from pediatrics to major
penetrating trauma….under the supervision of attending physicians. Before this, I was in

I decided to be a doctor…I always wanted to be a doctor…I always found the
intellectual aspects of medecine interesting. I chose my field based on the fact that I
can go home after work….generally speaking, most fields (within medicine) mean that you
have to take call (work after hours…be on call) …you’re either in the hospital or your
beeper is on and people keep calling…you may have to come in in the middle of the night.
Your life isn’t really your own. I’ve been doing this for 3 years and I keep doing it
because it’s too late. I owe probably like 100,000 in loans and if I quit now, there’s no
way to pay back these loans…I’d have to start a career right away and I couldn’t have
much chance of paying them back…..

Happy? That’s a relative comment…I like the intellectual aspects…I like knowing what I
know. But the way medecine is today, the rewards are few and far between. It’s governed by
money and management…the physicians are in a position to make few
decisions….well…fewer decisions…it’s difficult to make patients happy..generally
speaking.  The only good parts of my job are that sometimes there are good patient
interactions…the ability to make a difference in their lives which is the ideal that it
was originally supposed to be…..

I think of quiting every day, but right now I’m a resident, so the idea is that once I’m
done, my lifestyle will improve…I’ll only work 40 hours a week as opposed to the 80-120
I work right now. I’m waiting for the pot of gold at the rainbow, but unfortunately from
talking to others who have completed their residency, it’s not there…plus once I finish,
the liablity is all yours and you don’t even have to make an error in judgement to be put
through the torture of a legal prosecution.

I think if I had to do it over again, I’d be a physical therapist…less loans…less
liability…less hours and you make a decent income. I wouldn’t feel like the last 7 years
of my life have been taken from me.

I have several bosses that are just my attendings…who have their own agendas…I don’t
really care about them either way…

In 5 years, hopefully, I’ll be an attending…I’ll have paid off my loans…I will have an
opportunity to do things I’ve always wanted to do…travel….engage in recreational
sports that I feel I’ve been missing out on…visit family/friends…renew interest in

In 30 years, I guess you know…more of the same…except I’ll have a family and
kids…and be happy….I’m not that ambitious.