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Giving Up A Really Good Job For Med

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BTJJ hit the nail on the head here. If I get into med, I'll also be giving up a six figure income with a pension. I'll be honest. It does scare me sometimes.

 

Life is relatively short though and I'd rather work in a fulfilling career and be able to say "I'm glad I took a risk and did that." rather than "I wish I would have done that."

There is also the non-zero probability that you may regret the decision. Many people who enter medicine say they would not choose to do so again after having worked in the profession for a while. I certainly think that it behooves you to ensure you have sought as much information as possible on the reality of the job to be as sure as you possibly can be that medicine is for you before giving up a secure future. There's "medicine as the premed sees it" and then med as it actually is. I obviously don't have firsthand experience yet but prior to deciding to pursue this spent a lot of time reading doctors' criticisms and essays on why they wouldn't do it again.

 

I'm sure you've probably already thought of this but I just wanted to emphasize it.

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There is also the non-zero probability that you may regret the decision. Many people who enter medicine say they would not choose to do so again after having worked in the profession for a while. I certainly think that it behooves you to ensure you have sought as much information as possible on the reality of the job to be as sure as you possibly can be that medicine is for you before giving up a secure future. There's "medicine as the premed sees it" and then med as it actually is. I obviously don't have firsthand experience yet but prior to deciding to pursue this spent a lot of time reading doctors' criticisms and essays on why they wouldn't do it again.

 

I'm sure you've probably already thought of this but I just wanted to emphasize it.

Hi Birdy,

 

I have thought about it many, many times over the last several years and talked to a lot of people (doctors and others). I've also read through a lot of blogs, essays, etc. I didn't mean for my post to come across as naïve. ???? It's true that I could regret going into medicine (assuming I get in... Hoping that third time is a charm) but I think it would bother me more if I didn't try at all.

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I admire the dedication and idealism towards medicine for those who are giving up advanced careers with high renumeration.  In my dealings with successful practicing physicians though, I have really learned of the difficult road to successful practice.  Training period and residency are long but then the initial years of practice are tough as well.  Unless the current career situation is really not palatable (for professional or personal reasons), given the uncertainties of acceptance (not only med school but residency) and eventual job placement, a career change is definitely not a step to being taken lightly.  Moreover, saving for retirement may considerably reduce received income.  Clearly medicine as a career choice is not about money, but I think the career in itself is more variable than people believe.      

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Hi Birdy,

 

I have thought about it many, many times over the last several years and talked to a lot of people (doctors and others). I've also read through a lot of blogs, essays, etc. I didn't mean for my post to come across as naïve. ???? It's true that I could regret going into medicine (assuming I get in... Hoping that third time is a charm) but I think it would bother me more if I didn't try at all.

Oh, your post didn't come across as naïve. I was just posting that to ensure it was mentioned in a general sense.

 

Totally understand the feeling that it would bother you more not to try. I felt the same way.

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Hey, have you considered trying out the lifestyle change? When I was looking into this, I spent over a year living as if I was a student and saving for switch. I moved into shared urban housing, turned in the car, stored the bike but kept my wardrobe. The move tacked on 30 minutes to my commute but I used it study. I went over MCAT material and spent the time deciding if I could compete and if I was prepared to deal with what might happen if the bid didn't work out. I spent some time working out opportunity costs (the numbers were appalling) but more time just deciding if I could be happy. (Hell yes.)

 

I also kept up my old network, inviting people out and confided in two guys who would have helped me back in if things didn't work out.

 

I'm happy to add my name to the list of people you can PM with any questions. ;)

I think this is a pretty good idea. However, I've already done 2 degrees and am quite familiar with student style poverty. Bottom line: it sucks lol. The numbers in my situation aren't really appalling, but in the long run GP vs NP come pretty close.

 

So, I've reconciled the financial situation of GP vs NP as so similar it's negligible in the decision making process. So it basically comes down to this: is the time/stress of medical school worth the additional scope of practice I would obtain as a GP? I can really appreciate what TracyK is saying with regards to not being happy with anything other than medicine. And if my only other career opportunity was RNing then I think I would absolutely throw caution to the wind and go all out for med. However, since I have the opportunity to do my NP with substantially less difficulty, I can actually get pretty damn close to what I would be doing if I had done med. So I'm in a situation where it's not all or nothing, like I'm seeing with the lawyers and engineers on here. Law and engineering are so incredibly different than medicine whereas GP practice and NP practice overlap a lot. I wouldn't be giving up on everything medical with my NP, I would be giving up the ability to take care of more complex patients.

 

All rational thought tells me to do my NP. But as soon as I commit myself to it, all of a sudden I'm hanging out with one of my GP friends and they are telling me about how even though med is hard and incredibly stressful, it's worth every minute of it. Even the ones who told me to "run, get out while you still can!" when I told them I wanted to go to med still tell me it's worth it, and that they were really only joking when they told me not to do it. Ugh. I so seriously miss being 19 when the most difficult decision I had to make was which bar to go to on friday night :/

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BizMarkie, what province are you in, if you don't mind me asking?

I have heard from friends that the market for NPs is really saturated in ON and most people can not find anything, some continue working as RNs. Also, how did you come up with the 112K salary?

I know an NP who started on a close to that salary, but she is highly specialized and in one of the biggest/best hospitals.

Primary care and new grads supposedly make less than that, less than 100K is actually not uncommon.

Could you tell me where did you get your data? Do you have a job in line before you start the NP route? It would be an option for me as well to do NP, so I am curious to obtain more information.

Best of luck to you.

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Just wanted to add that here in ON, a cardiology NP I personally know just started at 90k. He has around 10 yrs CVICU RN experience and all certificates available out there. 112K starting salary, guaranteed job and potential for 120K average seem a bit of a stretch from my sources, but maybe where you live salaries are higher. The numbers you quoted sound awesome even for the high paying states in the US. It actually makes me question if the rest of the info you cited is credible. 80K salary + benefits is also the top earning potential for senior RNs, unless you do ER or ICU and work a lot of overtime as a new grad. Really, not much realistic number for an RN with only a few years experience.

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Im seeing a bunch of highly educated professionals in here who are looking to give it all up to go to medical school. I am also an educated professional with an earning capacity of 80k+, full pension, benefits, sick time and paid vacation. Does anyone here worry about the opportunity cost of going into med? I'm eligible for a lucrative, union negotiated, government pension at the age of 54 and if I go into med there will be none of that for sure. But having said all that, I'm nowhere near as passionate about what I do as I am for medicine. I truly love it, but like a marriage, it takes more than love to make something work. I'm really weighing the pros and cons here of going into med, and I'm so torn. Anyone have any advice?

 

Sounds like you're a teacher.

 

If all you're giving up is 80k a year, medicine will be well worth your time.

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Lol, a lot of teachers are above 100K + benefits, pension, sick days, you are a bit off here. It actually might be worth it to spend 5 years looking for a full time teaching job, versus going to med school :)

That's the liberal's politics.

Otherwise, nurses work shifts, long hours, usually with no benefits. It is a high risk profession with exposure to violence, body fluids and infectious diseases for 1/2 of what a teacher makes. That's what turned me away from nursing and I do not recommend it to others as a choice of profession.

I have not heard many debating giving up an RN job for medical school. Unless, they have very real advanced practice opportunities, like a lined up job offer, or currently working as an NP or management, etc.. And, honestly, 112 K starting NP salary is almost as likely to get as 450K starting MD salary. But, despite that, I give the poster some doubt, since I can't be an expert of the nursing/MD job markets in any given state or province. Nunavut has different numbers, that I know for sure.

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Lol, a lot of teachers are above 100K + benefits, pension, sick days, you are a bit off here. It actually might be worth it to spend 5 years looking for a full time teaching job, versus going to med school :)

That's the liberal's politics.

Otherwise, nurses work shifts, long hours, usually with no benefits. It is a high risk profession with exposure to violence, body fluids and infectious diseases for 1/2 of what a teacher makes. That's what turned me away from nursing and I do not recommend it to others as a choice of profession.

I have not heard many debating giving up an RN job for medical school. Unless, they have very real advanced practice opportunities, like a lined up job offer, or currently working as an NP or management, etc.. And, honestly, 112 K starting NP salary is almost as likely to get as 450K starting MD salary. But, despite that, I give the poster some doubt, since I can't be an expert of the nursing/MD job markets in any given state or province. Nunavut has different numbers, that I know for sure.

Umm..Are you talking about professors?

 

School teachers make, on average, 50-75K, with 75K being end-of-career with likely a masters of Ed too

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Umm..Are you talking about professors?

 

School teachers make, on average, 50-75K, with 75K being end-of-career with likely a masters of Ed too

 

Nope, if you are a teacher with a full time gig in Ontario, you are at about $90K within 10 years, pushing $100K if you have a masters. 

 

The average salary is about $90K I believe. This is because the older teachers are holding on to their jobs .But it's also because once you have a permanent position teaching high school, you will be at that level within 10 years or less. It's nice work if you can get it. If you can get it.  

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Nope, if you are a teacher with a full time gig in Ontario, you are at about $90K within 10 years, pushing $100K if you have a masters. 

 

The average salary is about $90K I believe. This is because the older teachers are holding on to their jobs .But it's also because once you have a permanent position teaching high school, you will be at that level within 10 years or less. It's nice work if you can get it. If you can get it.  

Wow. That is nearly double the east coast.

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Yeah, I agree. I have done Nursing already, believe me, it is such not a sweet gig as being a teacher. Nothing even close. And in the Rehab field you still make wei less money with worse hours, I am talking PT/OTs.

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Well that's assuming that you actually get a job. It seems like teachers have one thing in common with other fields. Reap the rewards, climb the ladder, and then pull it up behind yourself. :(

That much is true. It seems like everyone I've watched get an education degree over the last few years has never gotten a full-time teaching job. Many went into other masters programs because they just couldn't find work

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For most specialties, physicians and surgeons only make a lot of money because they work long hours. I did a few calculations from the the Canadian Physician Salary survey (I think that's what it's called). I took the gross billings, subtracted ~ 30% and divided by the hours worked. Most specialties came in at well under $100/hr. that's decent money, but not fantastic. I think derm, rads, cardio were higher though.

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Some people (including myself) give up a lot to pursue medicine because of the opportunity to do exactly what you want. I have a PhD and earned 175 an hour in private practice. Did a postdoc and was offered tenure track positions with my own lab etc. But I always wanted to go to medical school so I did. I just didn't get in the first few times hence the PhD. And happy I did it. You can always make more money when your done plus you get keys to the golden kingdom. If you will sacrifice money, sleep, time, security, comfort, lazy Sundays, family time to study medicine then its for you. At times (postcall teaching and/or 4am emerg consults) you wonder why you ever did this to yourself but you always come around if its your calling.

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