I began medical school with the idea of going into anesthesiology. My sister, Jennifer, is an Anesthesiologist in Colorado Springs. She successfully juggles 3 year old twins, a husband, and her career. She has tremendous job satisfaction and has always been eager talk about the wonders of her trade. Jennifer was the first person in my family to go to medical school. She paved the way for me, and after seeing how happy she is with her career I had every intention of following in her footsteps.
The first rotation of the 3rd year was my Geriatrics clerkship. I spent most of my time stressing about proper roundsmanship and learning medications by their brand names, but mixed in with all of that I realized I really enjoy working with this patient population. As the year went on there were several rotations that stood out for me. I was fascinated with OB/GYN, couldn’t stop smiling during Pediatrics, and felt like everything was finally starting to make sense during Internal Medicine. While each rotation was great, all of them were lacking one thing or another. For example, Internal Medicine was rewarding but I missed taking care of kids and pregnant women. The hospital was OK, but I really enjoyed my time in the clinic. I decided during that rotation that Family Medicine is the best fit for all my interests.
By that time, I also realized a few things about myself that I hadn’t really taken into account. For instance, I like working in the clinic and I loathe the OR. I love talking to my patients, I enjoy patient continuity, and my attention span is short. Just short enough, that I would benefit from a smorgasbord of diagnoses walking through the door rather than focusing on one organ system. After throwing Anesthesiology out of the running, I called my brother-in-law. He is a family doctor in practice out in rural western Kansas. Like my sister, he is a success story of juggling kids, a spouse, and a career. Unlike my sister, however, his daily schedule seems much more flexible. He is able to tailor his work week around his kids’ activities. This flexibility is important to me, since Matt and I want to have kids in the not too distant future. (Mom if you are reading this--no, I am not pregnant!) I value family time which makes Family Medicine appealing to me.
This year I realized that the secret to job satisfaction (and my search for a specialty) is honestly zeroing in on my personal preferences. You can’t run someone else’s race. My sister would be miserable in Family Medicine and I would be miserable in Anesthesiology. I’ve come to realize that the 3rd year of medical school is an enlightening year. We discover our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, and at the end we make one of the most important life decisions when we choose our career. I feel much more at peace now that I have chosen my own path to Family Medicine. Now the adventure begins!