When I was trying to decide which residency to go in, I took a pragmatic approach which leads to #2 on my list of best pieces of advice for a fruitful career in medicine. Narrow your choices to a few fields that you enjoyed the most during your clinical rotations. Then…
Figure out what the three most common conditions you’ll see in that field of medicine. If you’re happy with seeing these 3 conditions 90% of the time, then go for it.
As a retinal surgeon, I’m rarely bored at work. The three most common conditions I see are diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and retinal tears or detachments.
In each of these conditions, I am able to offer very effective treatments that can restore vision and in general, my patients are seem very happy with their outcomes. I get to do technically challenging microsurgery when necessary, and a few times a day, I get to fire laser beams from my forehead. What a life!
In our field, clinical research has exploded over the last decade, and as a principal investigator for about a dozen of clinical trial, I feel fortunate to be able to help discover the newest treatments for my patients.
With remote patient monitoring and telemedicine making inroads into healthcare, I think our specialty is ripe for evolution.
Physician burnout may occur for many reasons: reduced reimbursements, increasing government mandates, pointless hours not doing doctor stuff, and boredom. No matter which it is, find a field that will keep you intellectually stimulated so that you can push through a lot of the BS you'll encouter along the way. Do this and you’ll likely be happy with your career for many years to come.
As a retinal surgeon in academic, private practice for nearly 7 years, I still get out of bed excited to see my patients each and every day.