Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Wednesday, June 01, 2011
    Gonna Stay Where I Am

    As is the standard after any vacation, I had a small mountain of mail piled on my desk to greet me when I came back. Sorting through it I found a pamphlet entitled "Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians: Your Action Plan for the Future." Good Lord, I thought. Are there that many cranky docs out there fantasizing about never seeing patients again?

    Apparently there are. The inside cover pitches this seminar as follows:

    This course is designed for physicians who:
      Don't enjoy going to work anymore
      Are interested in making more money than what clinical medicine provides
      Want to explore their options
      [the world's biggest cop-out line - Ed.]
      Are frustrated and dissatisfied with their current career

    And many other reasons listed, but I think you get the idea.

    The seminar includes meetings with employers and recruiters, lectures and 'breakout sessions' on topics like "The Physician Inventor" (OK, that one intrigues me), "Communicate and Network Your Way to a New Career," "Opportunities for Physicians in the Biopharmaceutical Industry" [and in other fields: disability insurance, consulting firms, medical device companies and so forth]. All of this in two days for only $1295 US!

    At this point my inner red flag started waving. This sounds like a ripoff. Not in the sense that it's illegal at all, just that any doc who knows how to network could probably figure out a lot of this stuff by asking around. Specialists, drug reps, insurance company staff, talking to their medical school's alumni association... you know, what people who aren't doctors do when they look for jobs.

    More to the point, none of these career options sound interesting to me. I do not want an administrative job. I like primary care and interacting with patients, and through good fortune I belong to a stable medical group which pays me a salary. My checks don't bounce; I don't have to worry about paying the office rent. I know not all doctors can say the same. But if I were in that position and money was tight I might moonlight somewhere or (as above) would try a spot of networking on my own first.

    The back of the pamphlet offered a fiction writing seminar for physicians later in the year. Now that I may find harder to resist! I've got this idea. There's this primary care doctor, see, who uncovers a bioterrorism plot in between filling out disability forms and fighting drug plans for authorizing medications. It's guaranteed to be a bestseller... if I can just sit down and write it...

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    Well I know what book I'LL be taking be taking to the beach next summer. (I'm hoping it builds to a lengthy action set-piece in a nursing home.)

    By Blogger Scott, at June 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM  

    Scott, that's brilliant. It would work as a satire of medical thrillers. The 85-year-old "demented" patient suddenly whips out a scalpel and goes after the doctor!

    By Blogger Dr. Alice, at June 1, 2011 at 3:10 PM  

    There was a demented eightysome-year old Russian who shared my grandpa's room in the last nursing home he stayed at, and every time we'd visit he would try to block the door with his wheelchair, convinced that we were going to steal his mattress.

    It would have made those Sunday SO MUCH COOLER if he'd actually been a KGB sleeper assassin. So he whips out the scalpel, and ironically, the doctor DOES steal his mattress, dragging it off his bed and using it as a shield as she races across the room and dives through the window!

    I see a brisk bidding war for the movie rights.

    By Blogger Scott, at June 1, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

    I met a vet who got sick of being a GP because of too many crazy clients. He had this one lady who would show up for her appointments with a cat carrier, but it was always a crapshoot if this would actually contain the cat. He now works for Pfizer. The End.

    By Blogger Pisser, at June 25, 2011 at 3:58 PM  

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