Complications

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Katie (Do you have a blog?) asked several questions yesterday. I am going to break them into two parts. 

Was medical school worth the sacrifice of time and money and life?

If I had not gone to medical school, I would have never seen the world. Sure, there are people who have travelled more extensively but really what I have seen and done boggles my mind. There was a point during my senior year of high school where I realized my dreams were just dreams and not likely to come true, that I needed to adjust my expectations for reality. With a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally and figuratively) by golly my dreams did indeed come true.

Still, there are days where I think about what an amazing body I would have if I had time to work out and get my nails done. On the other hand, I would not be able to afford a housekeeper so that time would never materialize, would it? Adjusting my dreams for reality…

Without those awful years of training, I would have remained a terribly shy, frightened, introvert who never found her voice. Was it worth it? Yes, without a question. Was it fun? 

Oh, hell no. 

Can you have a life while in med school and residency? What about now?

Depends on what you mean by life. I loved medical school for the most part. Sure, it was hard. But it was fairly easy in the grand scheme of things. Residency is what really beats you down. Still, you have a heart beat most days so you indeed meet the criteria for “life”. There are opportunities for socializing from time to time and sometimes you are caught up enough on sleep that you actually feel like going out. 

Private practice is much better. Generally speaking, there is quite a bit more free time provided you are not blogging…

What do you think of a thing circulating on Facebook that says 66% of doctors are recommending careers as nurse practitioners?

I don’t Facebook but I am not aware of any physicians that would suggest becoming NP’s instead. Maybe they are out there, but I certainly don’t know them. 

Why?

NP’s get dumped on. They get the practice hours that the doctors don’t want like weekends, evenings and nights. They get assigned the most unpleasant patients that no one else wants to deal with. They are paid quite a bit less while their “supervising” physician pockets the excess (NPs and doctors generally bill the patients the same $). They are also not given much respect.

Now for something a bit lighter:

Check out Ye Olde Foole’s blog for some excellent medical poetry. I particularly like this one, entitled Interns.

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57 thoughts on “Complications

      • You”ll be fine. It is my experience that one of the benefits of such an intensive study is the ability to identify issues, see the situation in terms of its component parts, suss out the drivers, develop a plan to address the issue and execute said plan. It works on virtually any problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pffft. Same old. ha! I had an interesting and very positive encounter with a doctor yesterday – you’d’ve appreciated it. I have a colostomy and a few days ago a fist sized bulge – like a hernia, developed beside the colostomy. I put off going to the doctor for a few days in case it was temporary but it just grew. So, yesterday i bit the bullet, packed a bag and headed off to emerg – expecting an abdominal surgery. The attending resident – who by the way introduced himself as Kevin – the very first time a doctor has ever introduced him/her self by their first name (and i liked it) – had blood tests and X-rays done, He then put me in an exam room and went to get his supervisor. She was a woman in her 30’s with a good bedside manner. She explained that the blood work and x-rays were normal (no apparent blockage or perforation of the colon). Good news. Then she told me to lay back and relax and explained that the stoma is surrounded by a ring of muscle tissue and sometimes, under strain, colon/muscles can slip out between the muscles and the stoma but could be reinserted. She worked her fingers on the bump as she spoke and it gradually disappeared until it was gone. It took her about 5 minutes – as opposed to the surgery i was expecting. I was amazed – it is so seldom that a visit to emerg ends on such a positive note (not a doctor problem but rather medical issues that demand further treatment). Anyway she referred me to a general surgeon and he will repair some of the issues.(I have another hernia like bump that is stable but needs repair). Such is the danger from having had multiple previous abdominal surgeries (from the now departed cancer)..

        Anyway, i have two guest posts publishing over at Cordelia’s Mom – one on Thursday and one Easter Monday – so I’ve been somewhat productive. (Thursday is funny and Monday is tragic) thanks for asking.

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      • In response to Paul’s comments: I gotta tell you – Paul scared the hell out of me. He sent me his most recent draft post (the one that will publish Monday), and when I asked him if he had a publishing date in mind, he said he didn’t know as he was going into the hospital. Then Willowdot indicated on her blog that Paul wouldn’t be able to do his usual Sunday post for her because he was going into the hospital. Knowing he’s had some serious health problems, all I could think of was me possibly holding his very last written work. Thank God it turned out to be something fixable. Without giving up any secrets, let me say that when you read the Easter Monday post, you’ll understand why I got so upset.

        I can only hope that should I ever get really sick (again), people will worry as much about me.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m wondering if those doctors (probably male) who were recommending women to become Nurse Practitioners were hoping they wouldn’t become doctors instead. What do you think?
    Leslie

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      • Interesting to hear your thoughts on this. Being an NP, and having a MD for a husband, I see both sides many times. Right now, because of our government and insurance companies dictating many things about how medicine is practiced…..I would not encourage anyone to go into medicine unless they specialize. The primary care doc is suffering from less and less reimbursement, and more and more BS to deal with. NP’s don’t have the same cost of education to deal with (my husband still has almost $100,000 in student loans, after 10 years paying…… compared to my $50,000 after 2 years paying) and the salary is very attractive for our level of education. In fact, some docs employed by the hospital make probably only $50,000 more per year than some NP’s I know, all the while they have a bigger burden on their shoulders. Yet, this is the future of medicine. NP’s are being pursued because we are cheaper to put into practice…… I don’t feel the two professions are equal, yet we are working at that level in many states. I don’t feel docs get the respect deserved. my husband is in private practice, he is on call 24/7. I don’t take call when I’m not working, and I don’t work evenings, weekends, or holidays.

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      • I have helped him on and off, but we would be terrible working together on a regular basis…so I currently work with a friend of ours, and am actually leaving in 3 weeks to work with another friend of ours. My husband is in internal medicine.

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  2. Thank you for answering my questions! I actually have 2 blogs – pintertesting.com and suburbanfervor.com.

    You make some great points here. My biggest concern is work-life balance, but I think your responses answered that.

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  3. The nurse practitioners practically run the nursing homes down here in Florida. They have regular days that they visit the different homes (and there are many), but the docs are typically still on call. The last psych hospital I worked in had NPs employed to do the physicals for admissions. I could never give up my pleasure in bedside nursing to get into nurse management or train as NP. I worked as Assistant DON one year and swore I’d never do that again…not even unit management.

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  4. I too am glad you made it through the gauntlet, and that you blog. I think it really is very helpful to people who never do see a doctor as a real person to read your posts and stop and think.

    I’m actually a big fan for NPs. If I have a problem and can only see a NP I don’t hesitate — because if it is a REAL problem, the NP will bring in the doctor. One of my sisters was a nurse, and I imagine that NPs get more respect than regular nurses do. Last point, a NP dermatologist found my stage 0 melanoma.

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    • Thank you! Not all NPs are good (like doctors) but some are flat out amazing. I learned more about good delivery technique from an NP than I ever did from all of the OB/gyns I came in contact with.

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  5. I would like to agree with everything you’ve said. I feel like despite how much I complain about residency, I have just as much of a (social) life as most other people I know – it just requires a little more diligence than other, more conventional jobs.

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    • I certainly never felt deprived from a social standpoint. Maybe that was because I valued sleep more at that stage? Of course, I did not have kids. That probably would have made a big difference….

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  6. Interesting post. I went the NP route. Still get asked by families when they are going to see the doctor and am told by families they didn’t drive all this way from their home to just see a nurse. Wow! That makes me feel like those years in Grad school were so worth it.
    I worked as an NP for Pediatric Surgery and I think the residents (now they are on these new schedules) has better hours than us.

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      • 20 years – Pediatrics – Kids are the best!!!! Done the Rural Health route in Georgia (which I loved), NP in the Air Force (loved that too!), then in a Pediatric Hospital, now in an ENT clinic (I really enjoy – we stay very, very busy). Those types of comments get to me, but usually after I have spent time with the family and talked with their kids, all those apprehensions the family has about seeing a NP dissipate.

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    • Thank you! Residency is not about weeding out. That is med school. By residency they assume you can hack it. By then they also know that you have crippling debt so they have you by the balls so to speak. The goal is to get as much cheap labor out of you as they possibly can. They know you have to stick it out if you have any hope of paying back all of that money.

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  7. Love this. I appreciate that you enjoyed med school as you did. Most of my friends from h.s. and college became doctors so I’m familiar – at least from this distance – with residency. I can see how NPs would get the shorter end of the stick behind the scenes but from this end (the patient’s/consumer’s) they have gained esteem in the last decade. They (overall) tend to be more caring (perhaps bc they’re more humble) and thorough – patients will take note and request them over the dr on future visits. Remember, you’re an exception among MDs. Sorry. :/

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    • NPs I think are more accepted but not generally more respected, at least not from what I hear from patients. There is a wide, wide range of ability and education. Some of the ones I have had come through my office for their rotations just prior to graduation were downright frightening. In a month or two they would be wielding a prescription pad and they could not make a good choice on antibiotic for a sinus infection. Soooo…. Just like physicians, there is good and there is bad and you don’t generally know what you are getting until it is too late.

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  8. Pingback: My Article Read (3-31-2015) (4-1-2015) | My Daily Musing

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