The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Think I Sold Out...

So I made my decision. After talking to some more established emerg docs who have done shifts in the smallish emerg that is courting me to take shifts there, I have decided that I am in NO WAY ready to do emergency medicine. I appreciate all of the points made by commenters regarding rural medicine-- I agree, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and jump in. But in my case, I don't think I've done enough emerg through my family medicine residency to make that jump.

But that doesn't change the fact that there is debt to be repaid. And after buying a house, the bank balances are looking awfully sparse. And we're faced with some lean times with an impending maternity leave looming. Gah.

So where does that leave me? Well, I could just keep plugging away at residency, Mr. Couz can pick up extra paramedic shifts, and we can hope for the best (financially speaking). But the bills are piling up. And since the Canadian government is holding nearly $7000 of my hard-earned cash hostage while they process all of the reassessments they've slapped me with over the last few years (I mean really... contesting my medical school tuition claims? The government is the whole REASON I paid $15K in tuition a year, and now they think I'm lying about it? The injustice infuriates me) I don't really have much of a choice. I have to moonlight.

Luckily, this month I'm doing nothing but emergency medicine, which makes for a reasonable (although erratic) schedule. So I examine my options. My new town is ripe with walk-in clinics catering to the 30K-odd "orphaned" patients in our region. Perfect. McMedicine at it's finest-- I can practice what I know (family medicine), not have to drive far to do it, and make some extra money. Problem is, I've only had an independent practice license for a couple of weeks, and I haven't even figured out how to go about getting a billing number. And the idea of figuring out billing right now is a little overwhelming.

But then the same little hospital that had been courting me to work in emerg presented another option-- they are currently desperate for hospitalist coverage. I can come in for as long as I want, as many days a week as I want and they'll pay me $130/hr to see as many inpatients as I can. They don't seem to care if I see everyone or only a few people, they just want to take the pressure off the 'on call' physicians. So I wouldn't be responsible for call at all. The on-call doc would follow-up on any tests I order, and since they send anything more unstable or critical than urosepsis or pneumonia to the centre where I am doing my ER training, the patients are usually straightforward. Hmm. Intriguing option.

So I took it. Forget the fact that I hate inpatient medicine, forget the fact that rounding on inpatients was by far the most boring and tedious part of my family medicine rotations, forget the fact that I have to drive 45 minutes each way to this outlying hospital... starting tomorrow, I am Dr. Couz... hospitalist. This has the potential to be exactly what I'm looking for, or a complete disaster. Only time will tell.

I am a medical whore.


Blogger Chelle said...

I hope it works out for you :)

7:49 AM

Blogger MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

Medical whore? Maybe just medical easy, but certainly not a whore. Hoping for the best for you.

9:06 AM

Blogger Future Doc said...

you are doing what is best for your household and if it pays more so be it. You do not need to feel bad and do not have to prove it to anyone. As long as you are happy with your choice and know which specialties you want to avoid, you'll be fine.

Looking forward to more posts although i do hope you consider emergency medicine, I'd love to read some funny stories from the ED in your style of writing.

11:03 AM

Anonymous MLO said...

Congrats on finding something to tide you over! Sometimes that first job is not exactly ideal - no matter the field. But it should always be looked at as a stepping stone. Of course, the 45 minute drive would kill me as I hate my current 20 minute drive to a cushy office job.



1:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, Dr.'s not like you're taking the easy way out.

8:06 AM

Blogger The MSILF said...

Good luck. I also am leaning toward family practice because I HATE ROUNDING. And the pace of inpatient medicine!

2:06 PM

Blogger Corny-yah said...

I think you should probably take advantage of your "free time" now, before Couz-Jr is born. No matter how hard I thought I worked on Sugery or Medicine, dealing with Q2h feedings was much, MUCH more difficult.

I think that Couz-Jr and your residency schedule will take up pretty much most of your time and this moonlighting thing will become a non-issue. I say, take advantage of it now!

8:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you could make $130 X 8 hours = $1040 per day.

1040 X 5 days per week = $5200 per week.

$5200 per week times four weeks = $20800 PER MONTH!

= Around $250,000 per year!

12:14 AM

Blogger Couz said...

Hah! In theory. But my day job is still being a third-year resident in emergency medicine, which only pays $58K a year.

This week I was able to put in 10 hours as a hospitalist, next week I don't think I can do any. So it's really just a little extra help, money-wise. Helping us keep our head above water.

8:19 AM

Blogger Tiny Surgeon said...

With bills and debt and a new baby on the way, I doubt many people in your situation would choose differently. And as much as I sympathize with the hatred of inpatient rounding, sometimes we have to do what we hate to be able to do what we love. I do think you made the right decision about moonlighting in the ER, and fortunately you won't have to put up with being a hospitalist for long. Good luck!

2:40 PM

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7:11 AM


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