from the annual meeting of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma in Pittsburgh
Decreasing numbers of medical school graduates who choose to go into surgery and the impending surgical workforce shortage are famliar laments among surgeons these days. AAST’s outgoing president Dr. Gregory J. Jurkovich’s plenary address this morning was no exception. Surgeons seem to lay alot of the blame on how much weight “controllable lifestyle” plays in a medical graduate’s decision about which specialty to pursue. Specialties like dermatology and psychiatry often are perceived as allowing a great deal of control over the amount of total weekly hours spent at work and the amont of call duty. Surgery…well, not so much.
This idea of “controllable lifestyle” certainly isn’t new to me but Dr. Jurkovich’s talk this morning got me wondering how much of a role lifestyle plays in anyone’s decision about a career. I had always assumed that people ended up in their career path in one of four ways. (a) “I always wanted to be a ——.” (b) “I followed my interests and hoped it would work out.” (c) “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I picked business.” (d) “I just sort of ended up doing this.” [Incidently, I’m an answer D.]
So, I’m asking you physician readers out there (and I know you’re out there): What made you choose medicine in general and your specialty in particular?
—Kerri Wachter, @knwachter on Twitter