Sunday, July 27, 2008

And Off Come the Shackles...

I really have no idea if anyone will wind up reading this. Honestly, I don't care. But I've found Medical Blogs to be a catharctic experience in my darkest of days, so if a disillusioned medical student/resident/hospital-employed primary care slave finds some solace in my words... fantastic. The pain of outpatient primary care wasn't something I could find an empathetic ear for. My friends were either not physicians (a good thing, by the way) or free to explore the lucrative subspecialist/shift-work fields in medicine. They weren't stupid enough to whore themselves out to their state for "underserved primary care" work, or to be born into a family that couldn't write a check for their medical education. Bastards.

Then I fell into a hospitalist position in a town desperate enough to take my state-owned slave-chains off, and snap on a shiny new pair (owned by the hospital, of course). But I'm okay with it because, presumably, gone are my days of outpatient indentured servitude. Goodbye to the countless hours of uncompensated call. Hasta la pasta to trying to field phonecalls from the ER and floor nurses while perpetually running behind on the always-late 40 patients scheduled in clinic. I don't have to be forced to be a bad doctor anymore.

I feel like I've been escorted off the battlefield just as the Medicare airstrike is about to obliterate the remaining stockpiles of food that already malnourish American primary care. Granted, once they've completed their destruction of outpatient medicine, I think they'll focus their full efforts on my new-found refuge. At which point I'm sure our government will put Medicare/Medicaid out of its misery and replace it with something equally inadequate. But whatever.

For now, I can spend an appropriate amount of time with my patients, be relatively shielded from the mountains of bullshit paperwork from corporate/government healthcare, get paid a somewhere-close-to-respectable wage for my expertise, and still be allowed to live a chunk of my life off the pager. It only took slightly over a decade of paying my dues to get here.

I suppose I see this blog as more of a journal. Am I going to be as happy to be a hospitalist in 3 years? Or will I find other ways to be unhappy? Is it just the nature of being in healthcare? Is it just my nature? Or have I finally found a way to be happy practicing medicine for the foreseeable future? I have no idea.

I guess I'm about to find out.

5 comments:

The Happy Hospitalist said...

I loved it. Welcome to both.

Tigermom said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!

I am an out of network psychiatrist so here's hoping we can all get off the grid.

Doctor T said...

I did 3 years in primary care IM before selling my soul to a community hospital. The toughest transition was learning to be an employee (a small but aggravating part of any hospitalist job). But once I got past that... the 40% overnight pay raise, the long, uninterupted restfull nights, the 15 to 17 shifts per month and the 30 to 40 minutes per encounter I have to see my patients: priceless. I will never look back. And after one year of this I am even starting to feel like a bona-fide memeber of the medical community here (PCP's and consultants now address me by my first name, and are interested in my opinions). You made the right choice. Welcome!

free.99/lb said...

welcome to the shit.

/bipolar hospitalist
//we call our group "fight club"
///your nightmare with suits has just begun young jedi...

JunkMD said...

Welcome! I envy your jump. Trying to find the right place to jump out of my outpatient incarceration myself!