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  • Deciding on a specialty

    Hi everyone! I hope this is the right place for this question. I'm an M2, soon to be M3 starting rotations in July. I've come to realize that medicine, while I enjoy it, is mostly just going to be a job for me. I have a big family with lots of dependents, and I really just want to maximize the amount of money I can make without burning myself out (during the rest of medical school and my career). What's a good specialty to look at? A couple people have mentioned subacute PM&R, but all the financial data I see on PM&R puts it below 300k. Is it just a hidden gem that's not properly reported? Are there other things like that?

  • #2
    You can make a lot of money in a any specialty if you are able to make any business decisions, work hard. pick the right location, etc.

    but you have to be good at what you do. You will have to find out what you can excel at.

    Comment


    • #3
      Not burning out = do something you love, even if it's a job.

      That's priority #1 to a successful career. You'll get paid plenty in any physician field.

      You'll also want to consider lifestyle too as you mentioned large family, so want to be looking at typical 8-5 job?

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      • #4
        Just suck it up and do neurosurgery-take one for the team.
        you’ll make plenty of money and your family will have a good life

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        • #5
          Anesthesia

          Comment


          • #6
            I doubt there are many docs working 3-4 days a week with 12 weeks vacation and pulling in over $500k. if you want a huge check, you are probably going to have to work a lot.

            How much money do you think you need to support your boatload of dependents?

            Comment


            • #7
              This is a marathon and not a sprint. If at M2 you’re already focused on money and think medicine is just a job you’re burned out before you started. I remember M3 as exiting and after two years in class the start of becoming a “real” doctor. It took me many years of practice to get to where you sound like you are now. You’ve got several years of commitment ahead before you start making hay. Maybe this isn’t your path, if it’s about money I can assure you there are much easier ways.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all your responses! It's definitely not JUST about money--I'm just saying I am realizing that I also really care about other things in life, and that medicine (while amazing) is a job. I'm not looking to work 3 days a week to make over 500k, just wondering what specialties you guys think have a decent balance of attainability, low burn out, and decent compensation. I'm actually not sure how much these dependents will end up costing, it's mostly my husband's family who will eventually become dependent on us and I'm just trying to think ahead.

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                • #9
                  Every specialty has its things that are not fun or oven mildly gross/annoying

                  GI: Feces
                  Cardiology: Elderly people with pitting edema flaky skin
                  Radiology: dark rooms and less patient interaction
                  Urology/OB: Constantly in the private region
                  Pulm/ENT/anesthesia: Snot/spit and trachs
                  Ortho: Sound of crushing bones people complaining of pain
                  Plastics: non healing wounds annoying patients
                  Psychiatry: Dealing with Irrational behavior
                  the list goes on and you get the idea....

                  My advice is:
                  1. Peds vs adults (or specialties that allow both)
                  2. OR vs No OR
                  3. Hospital or outpatient
                  4. Which of the things above do you find least annoying/gross

                  This will narrow your field way down. If money is important then pick the one that makes the most out of your narrow list.
                  You want a job you can be agreeable in so start there first, then use money as narrowing factor.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Derm

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Otolith View Post
                      Every specialty has its things that are not fun or oven mildly gross/annoying

                      GI: Feces
                      Cardiology: Elderly people with pitting edema flaky skin
                      Radiology: dark rooms and less patient interaction
                      Urology/OB: Constantly in the private region
                      Pulm/ENT/anesthesia: Snot/spit and trachs
                      Ortho: Sound of crushing bones people complaining of pain
                      Plastics: non healing wounds annoying patients
                      Psychiatry: Dealing with Irrational behavior
                      the list goes on and you get the idea....

                      .
                      And PM&R has all of these wrapped up in one, minus the dark room without patient interaction.

                      It’s a great specialty and I know physiatrists who make in the 400k range (some who make more but they work a lot for it) but it has plenty of downsides too. It can offer a great lifestyle combined with a chance to really be involved in patient’s lives/recovery but it is definitely not for everyone.

                      i think it’s premature to feel the way you do as an M2. Either you made the wrong choice going to medical school, or you are looking through a very narrow lens of your limited experiences to date. I think you should enter M3 with an open mind, experience as much as possible, and do a lot of work on yourself regarding what you want your life to look like. And maybe also spend some time setting expectations and boundaries with family members about how dependent they can be on your income.

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                      • #12
                        Once you finish residency, always make sure you are continuing to learn so you can do right by your patients. Even if you feel like it's just another job, make sure you are still really good at that job.

                        I would try to find something that pays wells and that you can see yourself doing long term. Don't go for the specialties with the highest salaries if you think you're going to burn out fast. Having a middle of the road paying job and being able to do that job for a long term will benefit you (and your future dependents, I guess) the most.

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                        • #13
                          if you are purely looking to trade time and flexibility for money then the answer is probably to end up in an "undesirable" area during one of 3 things:
                          1. anesthesia-->interventional pain
                          2. psych w/ focus on med management
                          3. surgical subspecialty

                          i also caution strongly against factoring in money too much
                          better to make $200k for 35 years than $500k for 12.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Otolith View Post
                            Every specialty has its things that are not fun or oven mildly gross/annoying

                            GI: Feces
                            Cardiology: Elderly people with pitting edema flaky skin
                            Radiology: dark rooms and less patient interaction
                            Urology/OB: Constantly in the private region
                            Pulm/ENT/anesthesia: Snot/spit and trachs
                            Ortho: Sound of crushing bones people complaining of pain
                            Plastics: non healing wounds annoying patients
                            Psychiatry: Dealing with Irrational behavior
                            the list goes on and you get the idea....

                            My advice is:
                            1. Peds vs adults (or specialties that allow both)
                            2. OR vs No OR
                            3. Hospital or outpatient
                            4. Which of the things above do you find least annoying/gross

                            This will narrow your field way down. If money is important then pick the one that makes the most out of your narrow list.
                            You want a job you can be agreeable in so start there first, then use money as narrowing factor.
                            I thought we were doing negatives?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As others have said, find something you like/love while taking lifestyle and salary into account.

                              Do your rotations. See what you like/will be sustainable for you. Know that within a specialty choosing to work less:take less call will usually mean less pay.

                              Comment

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