Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ob/Gyn Kenobi, and life post-residency

I realize that the title of this forum seems to suggest that I am some sort of OB guru. That is definitely not true. I just finished residency 1 year ago, and have been in private practice for 10 months. I named the forum Ob/Gyn Kenobi because someone mistakenly called me this, and it was hilarious. I trained at a small, close-knit, community-based University hospital. For those of you who are confused by the above statement, let me elaborate. The program was in a University hospital, but the residency program was primarily staffed by private physicians. There were only 12 total residents, 3 per year. Our teams were then supplemented with Family Medicine residents and students. I attended medical school in a large city in a very academic/University setting, and I most definitely wanted the opposite for my residency training. I thought it would be somehow "less malignant." Unfortunately, while academics were questionably less rigorous, familiarity breeds contempt. I had no idea how bad residency truly was until I got out! The worst thing about my program, looking back now, was the people and how they treated me and one another. Ironic, since I ranked the program first because everyone seemed "so close." I experienced exile and ridicule rivaling the most extreme of middle school cliques when I dared to get pregnant in residency, and, horror of horrors, have a complicated pregnancy! I had hyperemesis (vomiting every day until 37 weeks), pre-term contractions, and pre-ecclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension). My OB took me out of work when I started contracting at 32 weeks, and my "friends" and fellow residents accused me of TRYING TO GET OUT OF WORK! Residency truly warps your brain. These trained OB residents, who would pull their patients from their 40-hour-a-week jobs for less than what I endured, had no empathy for me. I was the pariah who didn't want to work. Even my "dear" friend, BH (see 1st post). My friendship with her did not survive my pregnancy. I was likely clinically depressed for the majority of the remainder of my residency.

Let me encourage anyone who is in residency at this moment and feeling as though they cannot possibly continue, life after residency is SO WORTH IT. I came out of residency training into a hospital-employed practice. They paid 200K of my student loans, and they pay my malpractice. They hire and fire office staff, and take care of billing. I get to take care of patients. I have office 2 half days and 2 full days a week. I have surgery one day a week. I have no one telling me what I have to do. I can round on my patients at nine, noon, or five if I choose. If I have complicated patients, there is a large University hospital 30 minutes north (with residents, heh heh) to which to send them. I'm still working on the call sharing, this is my only complaint. I see my family almost every night. Nurses handle the majority of normal laboring patients, I need only show up when the baby is ready to be delivered. ( I LOVE MY NURSES!!! NURSES ROCK!) No more q 2 hour labor notes. No more 4 hour magnesium notes. No staffing triage for every woman who decides she wants ultrasound pictures of her baby at 3 am. I handle most orders from home. I am so glad that I went through the hell of residency, so that I can appreciate how good life in the private sector truly is. Now if we could just work on the patients calling at 12 am to tell me that they started their period (!) life would be perfect.


Sid Schwab said...

Congrats on getting through and on setting up practice. I recall the very same feelings myself, lo these many years ago (general surgery, but still...) And whereas I can't imagine ever having been able to do it, I agree that residency in all its gruelling, frustrating, and incomparably exhilarating splendor was way worth it. And practice is better still. And remains so.

dr. whoo? said...

Thank you, Sid! You write beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your story.
I'm trying to keep going.

Anonymous said...

This is my fear of the whole Ob/Gyn application process. At almost every interview the residents seem and claim to be "so close," but it's impossible for all of these people to really be that happy. It's all a show it seems for that interview day. I'm trying to pick up on the "red flags" so to speak, where despite them all being BFF, they have lost a resident every year. That's really all that I judge about whether or not they are truly happy.

Anyhow, glad you survived it and that it's better once you are out of residency!