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  • They say being a doctor is greatyou'll help people, make a lot of money, and work

  • reasonable hours.

  • But that isn't the case for every doctor specialty.

  • These are the specialties to consider if you're looking for lifestylehigh pay and low

  • hours.

  • Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • The ROAD specialties, standing for radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, and dermatology

  • have historically been the best for those optimizing for lifestyle.

  • While that still mostly holds true, there's much more to the story.

  • Look, we're all human, and there's no shame in you wanting to pursue a specialty that

  • compensates you well without demanding you work crazy hours.

  • The strange this is that many people will virtue signal and claim that they don't care

  • about money or any of those supposed lesser desires that only other, amoral humans succumb

  • to.

  • That's nonsense, and you shouldn't fall victim to such virtue signaling games with holier-than-thou

  • thinking.

  • Despite what many people say, it's no coincidence that the most competitive and sought after

  • specialties in medicine also rank highly in pay, work/life balance, prestige, or some

  • combination of them.

  • When doctors refer to a specialty's lifestyle, they're referring to two things: (1) how much

  • money you'll make and (2) how hard you have to work, including total hours, irregular

  • hours, or overall how taxing the job is.

  • In 2011, Dr. Leigh and colleagues sampled over 6000 doctors to shed light on annual

  • work hours across 41 specialties.

  • The specialties with the highest average annual hours were vascular surgery, critical care,

  • neonatal and perinatal medicine, thoracic surgery, and other surgical subspecialties.

  • Specialties that on average worked the fewest hours included emergency medicine, PM&R, dermatology,

  • occupational medicine, and pediatric emergency medicine.

  • In terms of compensation, the top three specialties are some order of neurosurgery, orthopedic

  • surgery, and plastic surgery, with otolaryngology, cardiology, and gastroenterology trailing

  • close behind.

  • Looking at the list of specialties to choose from, you'll notice that surgical specialties

  • on average compensate more than non-surgical specialties, but surgeons also work longer

  • hours.

  • The average physician in the United States works approximately 60 hours per weekthat's

  • after they complete residency training and are out in the real world.

  • You bet that surgeons skew that above 60 hours per week, and non-surgical physicians are

  • the ones more likely to work fewer than 60 hours per week.

  • There are exceptions but these are the trends.

  • But not all surgery is created equal.

  • Within surgery, you should consider the types of emergencies you'll have to deal with.

  • As a trauma surgeon, you'll be dealing with a wide variety of urgent cases demanding your

  • immediate attention, from gunshot wounds to motor vehicle accidents and everything between.

  • As such, your call days are going to be unpredictable and busy with lots of high acuity work.

  • Many who go into the field enjoy the excitement, but it's often something that will wear on

  • you, particularly as you get older.

  • It's far less fun to wake up and run to the hospital at 2AM when you're 40 compared to

  • 25.

  • On the other end of the spectrum, plastic surgery is far less likely to have emergencies.

  • Don't get me wrong, there still are emergencies.

  • For example, if you do microsurgery whereby you move tissues around the body and connect

  • the blood vessels with microscopes, then you may come across a congested flap, meaning

  • the blood supply is amiss.

  • If you don't promptly resolve the issue, the tissue will die.

  • Or if you're taking trauma call for face or hand, that will often require timely intervention,

  • although many times it can wait until the morning.

  • Overall, you'll be called in far less than the average trauma surgeon.

  • At the same time, understand there's variation within each of these specialties.

  • If you're doing a strictly aesthetics based plastic surgery practice, you'll be making

  • more money and taking less call compared to your reconstructive plastic surgery colleagues.

  • Similarly, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in trauma will have busier call than one focusing

  • on sports medicine.

  • I've covered each of these specialties in their own dedicated video in my So You Want

  • to Be series.

  • Link in the description.

  • If you've explored the world of physician bloggers, you'll see a common patternthey're

  • mostly in either anesthesiology or emergency medicine.

  • That's for good reason, as these are two fantastic lifestyle specialties.

  • With emergency medicine, you do shift work.

  • You know when you're going in and out of the hospital, and exactly how long you're working.

  • You don't take work home with you either which is nice.

  • Because shifts are fixed in length and scheduled out in advance, you don't have to worry about

  • being called into the hospital at odd hours or having long cases one day that keep you

  • in the hospital much later than planned.

  • Anesthesiology also offers much more flexibility in scheduling compared to something like surgery.

  • If a surgery is going longer than expected due to complications or any other reason,

  • the surgeon must stick it out and complete the case.

  • Anesthesiologists, on the other hand, can swap in and out as needed.

  • On average, you'll have more predictable hours, and it's not uncommon to see anesthesiologists

  • reading on their computer or doing something else on the side during slower periods in

  • a long case.

  • Radiology is unique in that you aren't in charge of patient care directly.

  • Instead, you're primarily reading images, a step or two removed from patient care.

  • As a result, you're somewhat of a replaceable cog in a wheel, which can be a good or bad

  • thing depending on how you look at it.

  • One key advantage is that you have more control over your schedule and are less susceptible

  • to the unpredictabilities of patient care.

  • Beyond your specialty choice, there are other considerations that will influence your attending

  • lifestyle.

  • First, are you a cash-only practice or more traditional in accepting insurance?

  • You can be a cash-based practice across many specialties, although some specialties are

  • more conducive than others.

  • For example, it's not feasible to be a cash-based emergency medicine physician, but you do see

  • primary care doctors who are cash-only.

  • The two that have the best cash-based options would be dermatology and plastic surgery,

  • as both serve patient populations interested in elective aesthetic and cosmetic procedures

  • which are often not covered by insurance anyway.

  • This is a distinct advantage to both specialties, as they are more resistant to policy changes

  • regarding reimbursement.

  • After all, they can always fall back on a cash-only practice if things went south.

  • Second, your practice setting will have a huge influence on your lifestyle.

  • If you're in a smaller private practice, you're juggling both being a physician with running

  • a business.

  • That means clinical responsibilities and administrative ones, and you'll be working longer hours than

  • your colleagues who work at Kaiser or a larger community based practice.

  • In private practice, you work harder and can make more.

  • If you go the traditional community route, you have much less to worry about, more regular

  • hours, and while you won't make as much, you'll still make a very comfortable living.

  • Overall, lifestyle is an important consideration, but shouldn't be your primary consideration.

  • If you're the kind of person that loves orthopedic surgery, you may not enjoy life as a psychiatrist,

  • even though psychiatrists work far fewer hours on average.

  • If you need help deciding on a specialty, check out my video that breaks it down into

  • a step by step process.

  • And if you'd like to learn more about any specialty in greater depth, check out my So

  • You Want to Be series.

  • Much love, and I'll see you guys there.

They say being a doctor is greatyou'll help people, make a lot of money, and work

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B1 surgery medicine lifestyle emergency medicine specialty plastic surgery

Best Doctor Lifestyle Specialties

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    Summer posted on 2021/04/17
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