Saturday, November 1, 2008

Med Student Blues

I came across an article written in the New York Times a couple days ago that looked at burnout among medical students.  I found it a little disconcerting since I start applying this spring, and with an extra year tacked on for my masters, I'm apparently looking at five years ripe with primo burnout potential.

The discussion about losing empathy especially peaked my interest.  Obviously the ER is not a hand-holding, pillow-fluffing environment, but I wonder if starting out here puts me on a fast track to cynicism?  I love working in the ER, and right now can't see myself doing anything but Emergency Medicine.  I enjoy the unpredictability, I'm excited to be part of the fast saves, and I love (no matter how much I complain here) the wide variety of people that pass through.  But at the same time, you can only take care of so many drunks and manipulative drug addicts before you start to get jaded.

Still, my focus will be on getting into a school before I start worrying about burning out.  In the meantime, however, it's stories like these that make me pretty sure it's going to be worth it. 

2 comments:

boredmedstudent said...

Don't worry about it too much.. I worked in an ER for a year and a half before starting med school. I was jaded and cynical from my experiences too. I'm now in my second year, and my previous experiences have given me the ability to remain realistic (they teach you a bunch of idealistic crap in school). I have become much more compassionate because I understand much more about what is going on and the complexitites of medical decision making. Even though school is a huge pain in the ass sometimes its totally worth it. You gotta do what you love, even if its a long and tough road. Good luck in your med school application process. Great blog. :)

Second Shift said...

Thanks for the encouragement! It's great to hear from someone on "the other side."