Sunday, August 30, 2009

Should you quit residency?

I get this question all the time: "I hate residency. I know that I want to pursue a non-clinical career in medicine. Should I quit residency?"

I always try to encourage people to endure the hardships of residency and persevere until completion. Of course, at the end of the day, I know that some people quit and drop out of residency programs. As a result, they burden their colleagues to cover their call schedules and this becomes especially problematic when you're in a small program.

My wife was a chief resident and she used to tell me all sorts of stories when her residents would quit. She was in a small program, so the impact was significant on the other residents. Fortunately, they didn't seem to have problems filling those vacant spots.

If you're thinking about a non-clinical career in medicine, remember that you'll have many more opportunities if you complete a residency. It's not essential for your success, but it will definitely open up many more doors for you if you're board certified in a recognized specialty.

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