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Are residents actually happy?

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On 6/30/2020 at 11:06 PM, Intrepid86 said:

As one of my old FM preceptors put it, family medicine is as easy or difficult as you make it. As a practicing family doctor, I agree with that.

As with many other jobs, it's relatively easy to be adequate, harder to be good, and challenging to be excellent /exceptional. A two year FM residency is short. Everyone knows that. Like all other residencies, you get out what you put in. More effort up front usually means less needed later. Because there's an eventual range of interests, ability, and practice preferences, there also exists an abundance of clinical resources, transition advice (e.g., First five years of practice), mentorship networks etc. for those seeking it. By far the most important thing is to have a positive attitude towards self learning and improvement that will serve you well throughout your career, no matter what stage of career you're in.

As a family doctor, if a patient likes you, that is already more than half the battle, even if you did nothing else. That might sound dumb, perplexing, and possibly even wrong, but it's not. If your patient doesn't like you as their primary care provider, then the chance of them taking your preventative advice is low, as will be their engagement on any investigation and treatment plans proposed. Clearly, the more you can do for the patient on your own, the better. However, if you need to refer out, then refer out, because doing something that's not within your comfort or ability will be even worse. If you need to refer out all the time for something that most of your colleagues are not, then you might be falling below the standards of knowledge for your specialty, so the onus would be on you to rectify that.

Given that we will be competing with midlevels, I don't think taking the easy simple approach is the way to go. As a profession anyway. We need to offer a valuable service that NPs and PAs cannot provide.  And trust me, midlevels can do basic stuff/refer out. 

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Residency was a rough time. Possibly the worst years of my life. There are bright spots such as the warmth of a thankful patient or the highs of solving a difficult case. However, the long hours and constant studying does drag on you. I enjoy what I do now but it doesn't wash away the difficulty of that time period.

Things do get better as a staff (for most people) but the grind of medicine never truly ends. I think this disconnect between perception and reality is what causes a lot of disillusionment and burnout. We all know of preceptors and colleagues that do not enjoy how their life turned out and it's a huge tragedy in my eyes.

Reflect on what you need out of life to be happy and choose a path in medicine that will get you there. Otherwise, before you know it you'll be a decade older with even less ability to find an alternative.

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