9.07.2004

Now What?

I'm so...unclear. I've graduated from residency, and I'm feeling unclear. I guess this is what new college grads must feel...but I'm feeling it about 10 years later. So far my path has been laid out for me. Highschool, college, med school, residency...and then the job would just come, I thought. Actually, I didn't think about it - finishing residency - much because it was so far into the future...a concept I couldn't quite grasp. But here I am. And as happy as I am to have completed this leg of life's journey...I can't help but to feel a bit anxious about the next. Especially since, I have no idea what I want to do.

I've completed my training in emergency medicine. But, I'm pretty sure I don't want to work in ERs for the rest of my career...or even now, really. I'm afraid of medicine, honestly. I'm afraid of making a mistake...of too much work...and lack of free time. Free time is what I counted on as a doctor. The ability to work a few days, make great money, and have time to develop other aspects of my life. And I'm still counting on that time...actually, even moreso after this long journey. Working at an HMO doesn't appeal to me. Eventhough the malpractice issue is not as great...there's the bureaucracy (rules and paperwork), the "efficiency" (meaning speed and inadequate workups), and the boredom (same place, same thing). True they have the benefits...provided they stay in business for the rest of my life. And, true they have the job security. But...you work 40hr/week...and make less than you would working other places. Honestly, 40hrs/week is too much work. Especially for work to be *work*.

My plan was to...relax for a few months. We have money saved and I have marketable skills. But, now I realize (now that I've had a minute to really think about something other than medicine) that I have to do something soon. Also, I realize that eventhough I may "get a job," will it permit me to even see my family? Will it be just like residency all over again. And when does that phase end?

I have an MD, what do I want to do with it? Sometimes I question whether or not I made the right choice in choosing this path. But I quickly reassure myself that I have...by thinking about many, many instances where my choice was reaffirmed. Even doing emergency medicine seems like it was right on the path of where I'm supposed to be. So...I must be on the right track. But, now what?

Urgent care will allow me to maintain my energy - both physically, and emotionally. Less liability, less pressure...less stress. I'll study and pass my boards...afterall, I am EM trained, may as well study and take one more test.

Fellowship? Maybe. EMS is what seems logical. But...I don't know. More training...to do what? Public policy...sounds fun. But how?


Time will tell, and soon I will have a clearer picture...