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Is anyone Happy in Primary care?

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  • Is anyone Happy in Primary care?

    I’m at a career impasse and trying to decide the best road to take. Was hospitalist for over a decade and relocated for family. Not sure if I want to go back to the 7on/off with working every other weekend. Considering primary care but I hear horror stories of the grind and taking work home so basically working 10 hours a day and feeling like a cog in a wheel. Is anyone happy?

  • #2
    0 responses must mean they all hate it

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    • #3
      There are many aspects of primary care that I like. Some of these same aspects would drive others crazy. But I do not feel that there is inherently anything wrong with primary care. Just like everything there are good jobs and bad jobs.
      I work 4.5 days a week. My computer is shut off at 5 and notes are always done.
      I feel my salary is fair.

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      • #4
        There are some regulars on the forum in primary care and some of them have found ways to be happy. My primary is married to a highly compensated specialist and works half time, seems quite happy.

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        • #5
          From a generalization standpoint, it seems that those who are efficient at their jobs tend to enjoy it more.

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          • #6
            You wont be happy with Primary Care unless you want to be happy with it. There are many enjoyable aspects, we live in a small town , I run into patients all the time. I enjoy this aspect, others may not. I made it work for the last 20+ years, I have a good income , never work nights or weekends. Never missed one of my kids events over the last 20 years due to work. Never have to go to any meetings. I get to be my own boss. The whole insurance and paper work issue , I just consider part of the job, but definitely unenjoyable, you may not have to deal with that in the hospital. Achieving FI at 50, makes it much more enjoyable, because now I consider working a bonus, not a have to any longer.

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            • #7
              I was OB/GYN. I really enjoyed the continuity of care aspect. I also enjoyed running into my patients around town. I still do.

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              • #8
                I'm not very partial to the work but I don't mind it in the you-gotta-do-something-to-make-a-living sort of way. Sometimes I enjoy it, all depends on my attitude, honestly. At the same time, I feel I should continue to work on improving my doctorin skills.

                I work 7 hour days and like Lordosis come 4:15pm my notes are done and I can leave without taking any work home. I also don't have call. And I am fairly compensated. I plan to go to 4 days per week once my loans are paid off.

                On the other hand, I'm peds and I think it's a heck of a lot easier than IM/FP.

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                • #9
                  A lot of specialists here complain of the same long days.

                  You're situation is going to be what you make of it. There are definitely ways to ultimately earn more and work less, but it takes initial investments in time and effort to transition your income from hard earned, active work to more (semi-)passive diversified income streams. As far as I'm concerned, people should be constantly working on this throughout their career. Do you want to be working as hard and long at 60 as you do at 30? The docs that never gave passive income any thought do. Those with business skills and foresight don't, whether primary care or specialty.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                    There are many aspects of primary care that I like. Some of these same aspects would drive others crazy. But I do not feel that there is inherently anything wrong with primary care. Just like everything there are good jobs and bad jobs.
                    I work 4.5 days a week. My computer is shut off at 5 and notes are always done.
                    I feel my salary is fair.
                    1. You gotta love what you do for it to be worthwhile
                    2. You gotta be efficient in doing it to avoid burnout
                    3. the right environment is key - like any other medical specialty -- highly variable and cohort and culture matter.

                    I love PC. Wouldn't trade it for anything else. It CAN be 8-5. If CAN also be 24/7. All depends.
                    --I'm at academic institution and hold leadership role. It's fine. I nearly burned out years ago with letting the leadership role and institution (VA) get in the way of my medicine side. There's a lot of variability out there for PC.

                    --Happy? Yep.

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                    • #11
                      If you don't need to work full time, could you job share and do 7 on, 21 off? That seems very tolerable.

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                      • #12
                        Family Med here, I don’t hate it but definitely don’t love it. Well, that’s not completely true, some days I do hate it! The best part is I work 3 days a week, never bring work home, and rarely leave past 5pm. After doing it for 20+ years, it’s actually can sometimes be kinda boring. I work for a very large hospital group, so sometimes you do feel like a cog in a wheel.

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                        • #13
                          I do inpatient and outpatient and to me outpt is twice as hard. I like to say Docs control the inpatient world but Patients control the outpatient one..

                          If you do outpatient do a 4 day work week.. 4 days with no night and weekends can be tolerable for nearly all of us imo

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                          • #14
                            Whether you like it or hate it depends a lot on whether you get to control your patient load, work flow and avoid unnecessary admin work. If you can do it while being employed and get a fair salary, the enjoyment is as much as being self employed. Maybe even more, as you don't have to wear too many hats.

                            The same issues are applicable to sub specialists too. For most people who grumble and dislike it the reason is primarily because an administrator / hospital system sets the rules and you have to follow it. You might have the same situation with insurance and billing headaches in PP but you complain less because you chose to do it on your own and hence don't vocalize it much.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Drsan1 View Post
                              I’m at a career impasse and trying to decide the best road to take. Was hospitalist for over a decade and relocated for family. Not sure if I want to go back to the 7on/off with working every other weekend. Considering primary care but I hear horror stories of the grind and taking work home so basically working 10 hours a day and feeling like a cog in a wheel. Is anyone happy?
                              I'm Family Medicine. Currently, pretty darned happy, but that probably has something to do with having quit my job a few months ago. Currently in the (seemingly never-ending) process of planning and setting up a private practice DPC launch, but since July 1, I've been able to sleep in some, spend time with my wife, get outdoors, etc. It's been great. The salary has been zero, so that sucks, but overall, leaving that soul-sucking sitting in a cubicle clicking on a computer late into the night was a good move.

                              I've held quite a few jobs in Family Medicine in several states and countries. Some were okay, some pretty well sucked. My last one was in the later group overall. Hope my next one is a good one. Hope yours is too.

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