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I'm interested in becoming a surgeon, but I'm feeling a little intimidated by the intense hours required of surgical fellows. Is it possible to balance work life with a family life in this setting?

I am approaching my senior year of high school. I am planning to #major in #biology and continue on to get my MD. I am considering the possibility of becoming a #surgeon, but I want to have a better understanding of the #work-life balance of #surgical #fellows. #doctor #surgery #pediatrics #neurosurgeon


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David’s Answer

My friend....
When you are looking for a surgeon to help you or your family member, do you want the physician that is punching the time clock or does what ever it takes to save the life of your loved one. Yes this is an extreme example and a bit over stated. But medicine is hard work. Docs get some time off, especially in a group practice. But to be great at anything, you have to put in the work and the time. Sports, accounting, Medicine, Artist ---all have to put in the work. Being a surgeon requires both incredible thought and technical skill. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Now...on the other hand...helping people, saving lives ....is incredibly rewarding. Great physicians love their jobs, like great entrepreneurs love their businesses etc...So they are not looking for work/life balance. All of it is LIFE.
I hope that helps
Dr B

Sorry, I'm slightly confused by your answer. Do you think that it is possible for a physician to excel in their field while also maintaining a healthy family life? Benjamin V.

Medicine for the most part is not a 9-5 job Monday thru Friday. Medical school is a 60-80 hour week job. Residency - is at least 60 prob more if you count studying time As a general pediatrician I spent 60-70 hours per week - working and studying The quality of your life will be defined by you and the expectations you set. So what I am saying is that work/life balance is a state of mind you and your family will determine. There is no correct amount of time to spend at home or work. If you have a calling and passion for your occupation, you never work another day in your life. Find that passion! David Brottman

Now I understand much better! Thank you so much! Benjamin V.

Excellent answer. Michael Law

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Estelle’s Answer

I have been practicing gynecologic surgery for that past 30 years, and I have raised four children. The key, in my opinion, is to set limits. You must commit wholeheartedly through medical school and residency, but then setting your schedule will be in your control. Surgeons may join a large practice to limit their after hours calls and work. In addition, they can limit their scope of practice (e.g. general, vascular, colorectal, oncology specialties.) I love my job, and family has always been my top priority. This balance of work and family is not unique to the practice of medicine. All adults need to find the balance between work, personal life, and their own health no matter their field of work. I am sure you will find that balance.

Thank you! Benjamin V.

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Marc’s Answer

Unfortunately, most surgeons do not report that they have a great life-work balance. This is not the experience of everyone, but surgery does involve a lot of hours in the hospital and it is a high-stress career.

Thank you! Benjamin V.

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Wojciech’s Answer

Yes people are doing it. You will have to be very disciplined and make daily routines and follow them. It will be hard by rewords when you graduate and become surgeon are fantastic way to push for it.

Thanks for your answer! This was very helpful! Benjamin V.

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