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Good day all,
 
Here is an honest story which has taken me a good deal of time and courage to write.
 
I am a third year student at a Canada medical school.I have a self-admitted, perhaps foolhardy assurance that I have a strong CV for one of the more competitive surgical residencies.
 
Recently though, I have found myself to be very unhappy in medical school. I simply do not enjoy most of what is done on a daily basis. Rotating through every service, I find myself feeling disconnected to the work. I have been doing rotations through OB, Emerge, Gen Surg, ICU, , and have found no connection to any of it whatsoever. I look at my watch and cannot wait until the moment that the day ends or the attending says those sweet words "why don't you head home; see you tomorrow?" I don't at all enjoy physiology; re-telling attendings what the patient could have told them themselves in a 68% more medical way, or treating patients without remembering their names.
 
I have found my personal experience in medicine to be.... (and please forgive me; those of you who are reading thinking everybody in medicine should be grateful for their acceptance - I was there but a few years ago)... not all that interesting or engaging. It does feel wholly algorithmic most of the time. This is a really frustrating feeling as I sacrificed a great deal to get into, and pursue, a medical education. As a first generation student, my parents and (and my partner) do not understand my perspective here. A colleague told me last week that I might be "too sensitive to feel academically connected to the complex cases, and too academic to find interest in the simple cases".While rather simplistic, it does truthfully contextualize all this. Though I've had these feelings for most of my MD training, they have been particularly exacerbated by a recent experience in which a surgery I observed was associated with a post-operative complication leading to death. At this juncture a few days ago, I finally decided I truly don't want to do this anymore.
 
I have spoken to my school since, and they  told me to finish the MD, it will be an "ace in your pocket with other careers". Has anybody faced these feelings before? Has anybody felt this way? I know this is not really something spoken about all too openly.
 
... Does anybody in Ontario know of helpful resources to explore?
 
Thanks all
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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its great your realizing this now, as opposed to a few years in residency. if you are unhappy now you will burnout every so quick in a surgical residency. consider 1. leaving now with your MD. 2. starting residency maybe in something shorter - FM or 4 years of GIM, finish it, gives u an option to atleast have practice as a stream to make money. 3. keep on with carms and applying but prob switch out after pgy 1-2 or leave all together. 

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2 hours ago, elevation said:
Good day all,
 
Here is an honest story which has taken me a good deal of time and courage to write.
 
I am a third year student at a Canada medical school.I have a self-admitted, perhaps foolhardy assurance that I have a strong CV for one of the more competitive surgical residencies.
 
Recently though, I have found myself to be very unhappy in medical school. I simply do not enjoy most of what is done on a daily basis. Rotating through every service, I find myself feeling disconnected to the work. I have been doing rotations through OB, Emerge, Gen Surg, ICU, , and have found no connection to any of it whatsoever. I look at my watch and cannot wait until the moment that the day ends or the attending says those sweet words "why don't you head home; see you tomorrow?" I don't at all enjoy physiology; re-telling attendings what the patient could have told them themselves in a 68% more medical way, or treating patients without remembering their names.
 
I have found my personal experience in medicine to be.... (and please forgive me; those of you who are reading thinking everybody in medicine should be grateful for their acceptance - I was there but a few years ago)... not all that interesting or engaging. It does feel wholly algorithmic most of the time. This is a really frustrating feeling as I sacrificed a great deal to get into, and pursue, a medical education. As a first generation student, my parents and (and my partner) do not understand my perspective here. A colleague told me last week that I might be "too sensitive to feel academically connected to the complex cases, and too academic to find interest in the simple cases".While rather simplistic, it does truthfully contextualize all this. Though I've had these feelings for most of my MD training, they have been particularly exacerbated by a recent experience in which a surgery I observed was associated with a post-operative complication leading to death. At this juncture a few days ago, I finally decided I truly don't want to do this anymore.
 
I have spoken to my school since, and they  told me to finish the MD, it will be an "ace in your pocket with other careers". Has anybody faced these feelings before? Has anybody felt this way? I know this is not really something spoken about all too openly.
 
... Does anybody in Ontario know of helpful resources to explore?
 
Thanks all
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey dude/dudette, 

First of all, it's ok. It's something everyone goes through. I'm not saying first of all that you'll "get over it" and decide to go back, but I understand your feelings and I've been there as well. 

I think some of the more senior members here can help a bit of you let us know: 

1) Is there any specialty at all you're interested in

2) Can you tolerate ANY clinical work (including radiology/pathology etc) at all in your future 

3) How much debt do you have from med school 

4) Any other careers you're interested in 

I think that this would help a bit more for us to give some advice and this thread to be more productive. There are groups on facebook in regards to helping people quit medical school/residency and find better outlets for their time and energy. 

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18 hours ago, elevation said:
Good day all,
 
Here is an honest story which has taken me a good deal of time and courage to write.
 
I am a third year student at a Canada medical school.I have a self-admitted, perhaps foolhardy assurance that I have a strong CV for one of the more competitive surgical residencies.
 
Recently though, I have found myself to be very unhappy in medical school. I simply do not enjoy most of what is done on a daily basis. Rotating through every service, I find myself feeling disconnected to the work. I have been doing rotations through OB, Emerge, Gen Surg, ICU, , and have found no connection to any of it whatsoever. I look at my watch and cannot wait until the moment that the day ends or the attending says those sweet words "why don't you head home; see you tomorrow?" I don't at all enjoy physiology; re-telling attendings what the patient could have told them themselves in a 68% more medical way, or treating patients without remembering their names.
 
I have found my personal experience in medicine to be.... (and please forgive me; those of you who are reading thinking everybody in medicine should be grateful for their acceptance - I was there but a few years ago)... not all that interesting or engaging. It does feel wholly algorithmic most of the time. This is a really frustrating feeling as I sacrificed a great deal to get into, and pursue, a medical education. As a first generation student, my parents and (and my partner) do not understand my perspective here. A colleague told me last week that I might be "too sensitive to feel academically connected to the complex cases, and too academic to find interest in the simple cases".While rather simplistic, it does truthfully contextualize all this. Though I've had these feelings for most of my MD training, they have been particularly exacerbated by a recent experience in which a surgery I observed was associated with a post-operative complication leading to death. At this juncture a few days ago, I finally decided I truly don't want to do this anymore.
 
I have spoken to my school since, and they  told me to finish the MD, it will be an "ace in your pocket with other careers". Has anybody faced these feelings before? Has anybody felt this way? I know this is not really something spoken about all too openly.
 
... Does anybody in Ontario know of helpful resources to explore?
 
Thanks all
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I wish I could help. But I felt the exact same way as you throughout clerkship, and continue to feel the same way in residency. 

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 - don’t want to stick around in the hospital all day everyday? 

- hate the algorithmic nature of medicine?

- feel too drained from the continuous patient interaction? 

- feel like you are not being intellectually stimulated enough?

- strong CV?

 

You my friend will make an excellent MD/PhD. I presume you entered into medicine with at least some related interest, and an MD/PhD may allow you to channel that through a different output than strictly clinical medicine while still being connected to the field.  Here, the MD would be helpful to finish even if you never practice again. 

 

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19 hours ago, elevation said:
Good day all,
 
Here is an honest story which has taken me a good deal of time and courage to write.
 
I am a third year student at a Canada medical school.I have a self-admitted, perhaps foolhardy assurance that I have a strong CV for one of the more competitive surgical residencies.
 
Recently though, I have found myself to be very unhappy in medical school. I simply do not enjoy most of what is done on a daily basis. Rotating through every service, I find myself feeling disconnected to the work. I have been doing rotations through OB, Emerge, Gen Surg, ICU, , and have found no connection to any of it whatsoever. I look at my watch and cannot wait until the moment that the day ends or the attending says those sweet words "why don't you head home; see you tomorrow?" I don't at all enjoy physiology; re-telling attendings what the patient could have told them themselves in a 68% more medical way, or treating patients without remembering their names.
 
I have found my personal experience in medicine to be.... (and please forgive me; those of you who are reading thinking everybody in medicine should be grateful for their acceptance - I was there but a few years ago)... not all that interesting or engaging. It does feel wholly algorithmic most of the time. This is a really frustrating feeling as I sacrificed a great deal to get into, and pursue, a medical education. As a first generation student, my parents and (and my partner) do not understand my perspective here. A colleague told me last week that I might be "too sensitive to feel academically connected to the complex cases, and too academic to find interest in the simple cases".While rather simplistic, it does truthfully contextualize all this. Though I've had these feelings for most of my MD training, they have been particularly exacerbated by a recent experience in which a surgery I observed was associated with a post-operative complication leading to death. At this juncture a few days ago, I finally decided I truly don't want to do this anymore.
 
I have spoken to my school since, and they  told me to finish the MD, it will be an "ace in your pocket with other careers". Has anybody faced these feelings before? Has anybody felt this way? I know this is not really something spoken about all too openly.
 
... Does anybody in Ontario know of helpful resources to explore?
 
Thanks all
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Have you considered any other specialties? It seems like if you are the sensitive and academic type you might be more suited towards a non-surgical specialty (not to say that sensitive and academic types aren't suited for surgery, just that from your post it seems like the rotations you've done, are similar in many ways and maybe not something you would enjoy).

Surgical specialties do "tend" to attract more logical, task oriented, manual dextrous, practical, straight thinking types, which may be why you haven't jiived with your rotations. Academic surgery is nowhere near as academic as academic medicine. Surgeons are definitely more well known, and at fault, for focusing on the problem than the patient with the problem. 

Otherwise, I agree, finish your MD. There are people who go into management consulting afterwards, and people who do all sorts of things. You are almost done anyways and the MD is a springboard.

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20 minutes ago, Focused said:

I think you should finish your MD and consider research! If you had the opportunity to do a few internships and if you enjoyed them, of course. MD-PhD PIs seem to receive funds more easily :) 

MD-PhD >> PhD as far as funding agencies go, albeit senior established scientists excepted.  But research is a different life, and not necessarily what the OP would want either.  I agree with the above comments regarding the broadness of medicine - could look into things like medical genetics/genomics or any specialty that interacts significantly with scientists.  Ultimately, any career becomes routine at a certain point, but maybe not algorithmic.  A lot of research is building on what you've done already - grants are rarely for completely new directions.    

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On 11/13/2018 at 2:35 AM, elevation said:
Good day all,
 
Here is an honest story which has taken me a good deal of time and courage to write.
 
I am a third year student at a Canada medical school.I have a self-admitted, perhaps foolhardy assurance that I have a strong CV for one of the more competitive surgical residencies.
 
Recently though, I have found myself to be very unhappy in medical school. I simply do not enjoy most of what is done on a daily basis. Rotating through every service, I find myself feeling disconnected to the work. I have been doing rotations through OB, Emerge, Gen Surg, ICU, , and have found no connection to any of it whatsoever. I look at my watch and cannot wait until the moment that the day ends or the attending says those sweet words "why don't you head home; see you tomorrow?" I don't at all enjoy physiology; re-telling attendings what the patient could have told them themselves in a 68% more medical way, or treating patients without remembering their names.
 
I have found my personal experience in medicine to be.... (and please forgive me; those of you who are reading thinking everybody in medicine should be grateful for their acceptance - I was there but a few years ago)... not all that interesting or engaging. It does feel wholly algorithmic most of the time. This is a really frustrating feeling as I sacrificed a great deal to get into, and pursue, a medical education. As a first generation student, my parents and (and my partner) do not understand my perspective here. A colleague told me last week that I might be "too sensitive to feel academically connected to the complex cases, and too academic to find interest in the simple cases".While rather simplistic, it does truthfully contextualize all this. Though I've had these feelings for most of my MD training, they have been particularly exacerbated by a recent experience in which a surgery I observed was associated with a post-operative complication leading to death. At this juncture a few days ago, I finally decided I truly don't want to do this anymore.
 
I have spoken to my school since, and they  told me to finish the MD, it will be an "ace in your pocket with other careers". Has anybody faced these feelings before? Has anybody felt this way? I know this is not really something spoken about all too openly.
 
... Does anybody in Ontario know of helpful resources to explore?
 
Thanks all
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey. 

 

I had similar feelings to you. I imagined medicine with a lot of thinking aspect. So then I would start a new sub-specialty of internal and at first love it as I was learning more, and it seemed like they were there ones who sussed things out more. Then realized it was just going through 3-5 bread and butter cases, then some zebras. Even general internal which should be seeing stuff from everything has some of the same bread and butter stuff, and then even stuff that's out of it usually fits into a bit of an algorithm - either that or okay initial tests that catch 80% of stuff were negative lets just reorder a tonne of tests and see what comes back. 

Emerg wasn't much different. Oh she has stomach pain in a focal point? Lets just throw in a chest work up just in case. Oh she is having chest pain? You are telling me it's right sided and dull - ecg, trop, bnp work up just in case.  

what I love is learning new information, so at the start of each rotation it feels super cool and fun. then I would realize that this specialty too has a lot of algorithms. Not that i had them mastered of course. There is also a lot of "just in case" medicine. Which makes it seem like there is less thought and analyzing etc going into it. But that is likely just how we as students see it. With that said right now I love plastics, I love how reconstruction cases require a lot of planning and thought to make things look aesthetically pleasing and even some other stuff still requires a unique approach to how can i tailor this to look good on the patient. 

With that said my advice is how I dealt with it. I STOPPED trying to imagine medicine as some ideal amazing career for the future that I would love and have all this fun problem solving etc. Then it takes the pressure off and it can be like oh yea I do still like helping people, clinical medicine is interesting even if sometimes routine, AND I want to love the other aspects of my life. 

Instead I am just going to try to see it as a JOB, and pick the one with the best lifestyle - for my life goals that is ER or hospitalist.  I think stuff can become routine after years of it, even say plastics for me, and that requires a brutal residency, hard job market, poor control over where you life, limited ability to ever travel, and difficult hours as an attending. Perhaps at times in ER I can't work them up as much as I like, but the others only work that up. ER work can become algorithmic but at least the patients coming in always have an interesting story.  More than anything though I just like working with ER docs the most, we are most similar in personalities. They also tend to see ER as a job and want a life outside of medicine, and are okay that you do too. Also during emergency situations the algorithm will feel like a life line, and also working with some wounds that come in is fun problem solving too. 

 

I did consider switching to an MD-PhD cause I was good at research and loved it. It is amazing actually using what you know to probe and wonder okay this pathway works in X way, but what if we do Y to it. Asking and answering unknown questions. However, I think that is an idealization of research. Do you like reviewing other peoples papers? Writing grant applications? Teaching students? Grading papers/exams? Not being in the lab directly because of all these responsibilities and instead having students do the fun procedural part for you? 
 

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Basically I am saying once you take the massive pressure off having to love and find this specific field that has all these things, and just accept it is a job things get easier. then just ask what job do you like your coworkers, the lifestyle, and the patient presentations/care. Probably any other route you take will end up having just a "job" feel at some point. I find certain fields of medicine definitely have more people who view it as their life or purpose - so personally i will chose a specialty that has more people who view it as a job

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To be fair I felt this way about all of medicine except the specialty I ended up in. I'm thankful that I love it, because when someone asks what my second choice is "not medicine" would be right up there. Sit down with a mentor and tell them what you're feeling. What excites you? There is such a wide world of medicine that's more than surgery or primary care, there's pathology, forensics, public health, health policy, etc. There are doctors who work on cruise ships, there are some that work only a few months a year, flying into remote communities as locums for a week or two at a time. There is clinical and translational research. You really can make medicine work for you, but it's 100% ok to say that it's not for you and to do something else.

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Yes, I was just thinking how different MarsRover's experience seems to be from mine. Doing diagnostic imaging in a referral centre feels like almost all thinking/analyzing/problem solving, all the time. I wouldn't say job outlook is the downside at present, more so the high volumes and expectations for speed + accuracy that lead to burnout. Doing a fellowship is pretty standard for most specialties.

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1 hour ago, Lactic Folly said:

Yes, I was just thinking how different MarsRover's experience seems to be from mine. Doing diagnostic imaging in a referral centre feels like almost all thinking/analyzing/problem solving, all the time. I wouldn't say job outlook is the downside at present, more so the high volumes and expectations for speed + accuracy that lead to burnout. Doing a fellowship is pretty standard for most specialties.

Sounds very much like a math/cs type of experience.  I would have thought that at a certain point a lot of pathologies become much more recognizable which allows higher volume (esp with sub-specialization).

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20 hours ago, Lactic Folly said:

Yes, I was just thinking how different MarsRover's experience seems to be from mine. Doing diagnostic imaging in a referral centre feels like almost all thinking/analyzing/problem solving, all the time. I wouldn't say job outlook is the downside at present, more so the high volumes and expectations for speed + accuracy that lead to burnout. Doing a fellowship is pretty standard for most specialties.

I feel I may have been a little poor in my explanation. I certainly didn't mean to belittle any of those specialties (not that i think you are particularly suggesting i am - just in case anyone reading thinks i am). More I think that i can relate in the OP that when you put a ton of pressure on needing to find this perfect specialty that will make you happy it can be easy to become cynical and reductive when evaluating specialties. 

Ie. i mean i didn't entering expecting like Dr House. i think we all know thats not real. but then i did come from having just started to scratch the surface of research (ie saw the positive and none of the negatives). So then expecting this specialty that would involve a lot of problem solving, always new stuff, using the skills i had learned in unique scenarios etc etc. Ie kind of like a doctor from years in the past. 

So then entering say a specialty at first it's like oh cool cardiology is the one who does this. then they do have their set group of cases that become routine - not to say it requires no thought. just its like yea ok this protocol is to start.. if these meds don't work we can then try these. So then with all that pressure its super easy to become reductive and be like oh this is boring and algorithmic. then next specialty have same thoughts. 

I just think that when you sort of just try to take the pressure off and relax. just think all i need to find is a job i like not some perfection. focus on the fact that you just want to help people and have a life and be friendly with your colleges. suddenly when the patient that came in with STEMI but their unique issue meant the cardiologist started a different drug. you will see that as oh that's cool they were thinking - not just again oversimplifying as okay this is just some other fact they memorized and know now nothing interesting. That knowing the algorithm is imporatnt but knowing when to deviate from it is what makes a physician. just as a learner its easier to miss that when you are just starting to learn the algorithm and also are under stress trying to find some ideal. Likely at some point all specialties will become at least a little routine day to day and thats a good thing really. 

But obviously there are still some unique differences. i find internal goes into details more than i care to or subspecializing doesnt fit me. I like the surgical fields a lot but not the lifestyle. so i think OP obviously will have some individual things different than me. just figured it was important for them to realize that the pressure they were putting on themselves probably contributes to this. 


With that said i have always had this feeling radiology would be really cool and challenging with or without IR - but again its one of those things that you need to just relax and calm down. As a med student if you don't understand it much the OP could again just be like oh well that seemed boring they just read a lot of films and said what they saw. but that definitely not what radiology is. I found radiology hard to understand if i would like as a student shadowing. But since starting clerkship it has seemed really cool the times physicians call the radiologist just generally describing the patient's symptoms and being like "what should we do."  So again OP should definitely IMO just calm down and try to just enjoy the rotations and keep their eyes out for just things that are interesting to them .  

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