Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why I do ER medicine

The question of why I do ER medicine was brought up in one of my recent, frustration venting posts. So, I will attempt to answer that here.

First and foremost, I really do love the challenge that ER medicine presents. Every day, I see cases running the gamut from totally mundane (a broken toenail) to immediately life-threatening (my recent anaphylaxis patient) and everything in between. ER is rarely boring. This couples well with my desire to be challenged, to be forced to think on my feet, multi-task, and stay on top of current medical diagnostics, treatments, and new diseases.

Secondly, I absolutely hate dermatology. Unfortunately, the vast majority of day practice is dermatology. There is no expressing how much I loathed that rotation in school. I loathe it still. The minute that something presents for "itching," I want to run out the back door. We were told as veterinary students that 80% of our cases as GPs would be for skin issues. That in and of itself is enough of a deterrent.

Thirdly, ER medicine has significant benefits including significantly higher pay than my GP counterparts and long stretches of time off.

Does it have its downsides? Oh yes. Angry clients with no money, injured and ill animals that no amount of money and trying can fix, long, long hours, not sleeping in my own bed with my husband several nights a week, and having to answer to referring veterinarians who weren't there and didn't see/treat the patient.

My personal satisfaction with the job currently outweighs my frustrations. Will that always be so? I'm not sure. It's possible that I will always love and stay in ER medicine. It is equally possible that one day, I will move onto something else. Teaching is in my blood. My father, grandmother, grandfather, husband, aunts, uncles, and even cousins are all teachers - so one day, perhaps I will teach, too.

My rule is this: the minute I stop being truly happy doing what I'm doing, it's time to move on - either to a new job, a new career, or a new place. Making that promise to myself keeps me sane.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Great post and I love the last line. Finding a job that you love is so important. We all spend too much time earning a living to not enjoy it.

And I second your hatred of dermatology. No I'm not a vet, but I've spent the last 3 months trying to figure out an ongoing but mild skin issue with one of my foster cats. It was probably the most frustrating thing I've gone through in a long time.