The Half MD’s specialty chooser

April 28, 2007 at 8:31 pm (Uncategorized)

One of the daunting tasks of going through medical school is picking a specialty that you believe you’ll be happy working in for the next 30 years. Many online quizzes attempt to point you in a direction to begin considering certain specialties. Here, I present my own, more realistic view of medical specialties.

1. How do you want to live?
A. In a mansion
B. In a suburban house
C. In a box

2. Your view of patients
A. I can’t get enough of them
B. I scream at their sight and run in the opposite direction

3. You are married to
A. Your spouse
B. Your pager

4. Your view of your children
A. I’m my kids’ mom
B. That’s what nannies are for

5. Your grades
B. Middle of the class
C. I make the top 50% possible

6. Your view of autonomy
A. I’m my own man
B. I work for the Man
C. I’m somebody’s bitch

7. Your view of procedures
A. Ewwweee… I can’t get that on my hands
B. If not for medicine, I would have become an auto mechanic

8. How did you get through med school?
A. Alcohol
B. Caffeine
C. Lexapro

1. A=2, B=1, C=0 (Money score)
2. A=1, B=0 (Patient contact score)
3. A=1, B=0 (Time score, add with question #4)
4. A=1, B=0 (Time score, add with question #3)
5. A=2, B=1, C=0 (Grades score)
6. A=2, B=1, C=0 (Autonomy score)
7. A=0, B=1 (Procedures score)
8. A=0, B=1, C=2 (Crazy score)

Next, use the chart below to line up your scores with your new specialty (opens in a new window):

Specialty Scorecard


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The Physician’s Pursuit of Happyness

April 14, 2007 at 8:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Many people not in the medical field have an idealized view of physicians. Somehow, by making lots of money, doctors are the happiest people around—they’ve got the perfect house, the perfect car, and 2.5 perfect American children.  What the fans of Grey’s Anatomy don’t know is that physicians have lots of personal struggles. The big 3 areas of psychosocial problems that every pre-med needs to be aware of are suicide, alcoholism, and divorce.

According to this study, doctors have a higher rate of suicide than the rest of the population.  Psychiatrists seem to take the lead among the specialties.  The dire predictions from some would have us believe that shrinks should never be left alone.  However, as far as I can tell, the suicide rate is only modestly elevated for physicians versus other occupations.

When they’re not in the OR, surgeons are out drinking themselves to death.  One author’s hospital shows that more than 7% of the residency program’s graduates become alcoholics.  Another hospital found that 14% of its employees are confirmed or suspected alcoholics. When compared to the national average for alcoholics (5%), I’d say that physicians—with their easy access to narcotics and benzos—put themselves at an unnecessary risk whenever they try to self-medicate.

Finally, realize that if you decide to pursue medicine, you’ll be at an increased risk for divorce.  According to this article, some specialties have greater than a 50% divorce rate.  Again, the psychiatrists take the lead, followed closely by surgeons.  What I find particularly surprising is that psychiatrists are supposed to be experts of communication.  Since we’re always hearing that divorce occurs because of a lack of communication, I wonder what the shrinks are doing wrong.  My personal belief is that psychiatrists are all really crazy—as in, they’re insane enough to become each others’ patients.  Shrinks believe their own nonsense to the point that they don’t realize that their marriages are quickly spiraling out of control.

From getting pulled away from home to work on patients they barely know to spending more time in the hospital than at home, the stressors that doctors face are insurmountable.  If you want to read more, Medscape provides a nice summary of physician obstacles.  While I don’t want to discourage anyone from pursuing medicine, I would say that you should join the Peace Corps if you want a fulfilling life without the extra baggage.

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Leading Causes of Death in Women

March 27, 2007 at 9:53 pm (1st and 2nd year, Uncategorized)

In honor of Women’s History Month, my university has been teaching us about women’s health and reproductive issues.  In preparation for the final exam, I’ll post a short study guide so that viewers can be better prepared to answer any questions regarding the subject.

Leading causes of death in women

So as not to be considered sexist, I’ll also include the stats for men.

Leading causes of death in men

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First, a disclaimer

March 20, 2007 at 2:06 am (Uncategorized)

Disclaimer: the stories you read here are taken from my imagination and may or may not be based on any particular patient or classmate.  I put together this blog to express to people on the outside what medical school is really like.  For those of you who enjoy Grey’s Anatomy and House, you may want to turn back now.  I don’t run the hospital’s MRI; I don’t perform every type of surgery available; and I certainly don’t openly insult my patients, no matter how much their particular illnesses are a result of their negligence.  I do, however, serve on a team that works with a variety of resources to promote wellbeing.  The television shows have ruined the American public’s expectation of how physicians really work.  The purpose of my little blog is to introduce you to life inside of a hospital.  Hopefully, I can dispel any myths that you may have about what we do.

 Oh look, Scrubs in on.

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