Five Reasons to quit a career in medicine

Rough days in the office or operating room take a toll on you. Mentally. Physically. Cognitively too. Sometimes you get distracted by your work and put your family as priority number two. I can see why some doctors just quit. On my evening commute, I was mentally paging through some reasons why some of my colleagues choose to leave such a career. Here are five of those reasons:

  1. Regulations in healthcare have always been annoying, but are only getting worse. Some rules are made with the intention of protecting those we care for, but I’ve become quite skeptical about the hoops that we jump through just to get reimbursed by the medical insurances. The claims that we submit get denied for the most asinine reasons (or often without explanation).  Those who deny our medical claims often think twice when they’re on the receiving end of denied claims.
  2. Medicine is actually a service industry.  Yeah, some of us clearly did not realize this when we decided to enroll in medical school.  Some of us still didn’t realize when we chose our specialties either.  People can be nice. People can be rude. Some people are downright mean. Doctors are glorified service workers that have to cure diseases and make people happy.  Imagine doing that for thirty years, with demands increasing every year.  Get out of medicine to escape the pain.
  3. Our profession can be bad for your health. I know a surgeon who still practices at age 74, and is on the top of his game. But guys and gals like him are few and far between.  Imagine zapping your hands under fluoroscopy every day on the job when you’re a vascular surgeon or interventional radiologist. Yeah, looking at you @FutureProofMD. You might get some arthritis sooner or later.
  4. Medicine is an ever changing profession.  Some of the ways I treat patients have changed quite a bit even over the past few years.  If you’re not able to keep up with the technology and practice of medicine, get out. Do yourself and your patients a service.
  5. Medicine can be a boring career.  I hope that most doctors don’t think that medicine is boring, but sometimes it just is.  I do get tired of the daily grind, but there are doctors I’ve met who clearly hate practicing, teaching, or research. Perhaps they are just hateful people in general. If that describes you, get out.

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I wouldn’t mind having one of these every morning before reading the newspaper…

Note that financial independence is intentionally left off the list above.  There are physicians who are FI who still practice medicine. That’s the beauty of a career that has traditionally been gratifying.  Having enough money to choose how to live your daily life is a luxury that not many people have, but that reason alone should not be why you ought to leave medicine.

If you plan to leave your career in medicine, what are your reasons? (Don’t become an auditor for an insurance company!)

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

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