My father in law, now deceased, was a nephrologist. I met him while I was in medical school. He was a reserved guy, not prone to butt into what he saw as others’ business. So I still remember that while I was considering what sort of residency to pursue, he took a surprisingly strong stance that I should go into interventional radiology. His reasoning was simple: they have a great lifestyle, they make bags and bags and bags of money, and they get to play with all the coolest gadgets.
It was tempting, I admit. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am ALL about the gadgets. I’m not averse to bags of money either. But I never gave it much consideration, mostly because I am just not real good at radiology, though for an ER doc I do OK. (A low bar, it is true.)
I sometimes regret that decision. For example, I wrote the other day about a gentleman who presented with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. We had some heroic fun in the ER resuscitating him and getting him to the OR. After the fact, I had to wonder whether it was all in vain — Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*
You have probably read that experience makes for better doctors.
And of course this would be true–in the obvious ways, like with the hand-eye coordination required to do complex procedures, or more importantly, with the judgment of when to do them.
There’s no news here: everyone knows you want a doctor that’s been out of training awhile, but not so long that they have become weary, close-minded or physically diminished. Just the right amount of experience please.
But there’s also potential downsides and struggles that come with experience. Tonight I would like to dwell on three ways in which experience is causing me angst.
But first, as background…
It was the very esteemed physician-turned-authors, Dr. Groopman and his wife, Dr. Hartzland, who wrote this thought-provoking WSJ essay–on how hidden influences may sway our medical decisions–that got me thinking about how I have evolved as a doctor. They were writing from the perspective of the patient. But in the exam room, there are two parties: patient and doctor.
# 1) The sobering view that experience brings: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*