Posts by felix405

Living it up in the metropolis of Shreveport, LA; being a cat tuna feeding apologist and nerite snail activist

Depressing Day.

Today was awful. My bank account is miserably low. I owe on last month’s rent – but don’t really have the money for this month’s right now. I’m sick to my stomach. I look back on the poor choices I have made (like not finishing my residency) and think God must really hate me or something. I just need a really good job right now – I need so much more than just that, really. God – just a good job which will pay the bills, get us out of the dump we live in, and get us a good vehicle.

I look at my younger daughter and literally cry because I can’t afford even school supplies for her. I hate that I have made such bad decisions and my kids have to suffer for it. I wish I had a good job.

“This, too, shall pass.” Oh, I hope so, Solomon.

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Things to do with your MD…

First, I’d like to address any other poor schmuck in the same boat as I: Not all hope is lost (yet). Just because you were stupid enough not to finish a residency doesn’t mean your MD can now represent “Most Dumb.” (Mine just currently stands for “Majorly Desperate” – the acronym’s meaning changes as my circumstances do.)

I found a few websites which offer alternatives to a clinical career in medicine, and some strategies on how to get to one’s newly desired career goal. Most of the time these new options require money (of which I have none at the moment) for continuing education and/or accreditations. Nonclinicaldoctors.com has so much information on its site that it can initially be overwhelming. The major problem I found with the site, however, was some of the options listed (like becoming a genetic counselor) require you to have a great deal of additional training (such as an MS in genetics counseling plus getting the credentials). If you are anything like me, you are up for some additional training, but not to go back to school for another degree – yet.

University of Colorado School of Medicine put up a nice site which gives general information and then specifics on medical writing, public health administration, and a few other fields which are open to the MD without a residency.

I did come across a bitter and interesting article in Physician’s Weekly about a new Missouri law which enables MD’s to practice without training right out of med school. I don’t know if one could pursue this option years out of medical school sans any hospital experience in the mean time or not. I would love to go and set up my own practice, but being as though I’ve not touched a patient clinically in 14 years, this might not be very good for said patient (or my malpractice insurance rates).

Non-clinical career information can also be found on SEAK’s website. If you register with them you also get a brochure mailed to you detailing SEAK’s upcoming conferences (way out of my personal budget currently). This is an incredibly great site; if I had unlimited funds, I’d immediately register for an upcoming conference, as they have great mentors and job opportunities at each one. One day, perhaps….

Whatever you do decide to do, stick with it. Not all hope is lost, my dear doctor friend. Don’t get overwhelmed and just try to get one step closer to your new goal each day. MOOCs are an excellent way of gaining new skills and getting certified in your own time. Open Culture has so many various links to universities and courses (plus free movies and books) it is ricockulous.

To become a medical writer

In the case (Heaven forfend) there is someone out there in the same situation I am, I’m writing this post to provide some answers about where to get some needed credentials and contacts.  Yes, you (like me) may possess an advanced degree, but you will still need additional letters after your name in order to be taken seriously (and also to be paid seriously).

The American Medical Writers Association  offers online credentialing courses for a fee, as well as membership.  The perks of membership bring networking, discounts on the great variety of continuing educational materials offered, and employment opportunities.  The AMWA hosts conferences in addition to its online resources and materials where not only more learning but networking is available.  You can follow AMWA on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The National Association of Science Writers is an incredible site!  I love the deep discounts available for student memberships (only $33) and the low cost of regular membership (a mere $).  Online discussion forums, sponsorships, and the ability to post your work are available on the NASW site.  I particularly love that this site lets you create your own website free of charge with membership.  As above, you can follow NASW on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

LinkedIn is another networking tool.  LinkedIn is more than just a networking site, however:  you can search for jobs in a meaningful way with this site.  When one of your contacts has a birthday or other reason to celebrate, take a moment to send him/her a meaningful, cogent, short message.  This simple action could get you a (dream) job opportunity.  You will never know until you try.

I know I need credentials.  In the meantime, I am stuck looking for a “mean-time” job.  My concern is my “mean-time” jobs are in danger of becoming my real job.  I am determined not to give up: I am determined to make good use of my hard-earned Medical Doctorate.  I want to make my teachers, classmates, family, and friends proud of me.  I want to earn a good living.  I want to help others.

Persistence is the key.

Why NOT to go to Med School

I get sick and tired of having to explain to family members, friends, co-workers on the varied and many jobs I’ve held over the years why it is I don’t simply waltz into a hospital or medical school with my lovely MD draped over my porcelain shoulders, bat my eyes, and announce, “I’m here, you may begin now.” I swear that is how simple many people assume life is once you’ve earned your MD. Let me tell you the “other side” of the story: unless you commit to training right out of medical school, your chances of ever getting to use your (in all likelihood) expensive, fancy MD go down exponentially every day.

I’ve been out of medical school now seventeen years. I never completed a residency, as I apparently saw fit to complete rehab for a prescription drug issue instead. It’s all wonderful to write I’m clean and sober, but living the reality of being broke with an awesome education really sucks!

I wish I could find an internship, residency, something, but for those few crazy med students out there toying with the idea of not going full through with at least three years of a residency program, plus the rest of the board examinations, and getting board certified in your particular specialty, your options are slim. If anyone ever tells you you can come back anytime, he or she is lying to you. I mean lying like a wet rug. I heard this from at least 2 residency coordinators. When I was ready, apparently their programs weren’t.
In order to get licensure, a student has to take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Exams. There are three parts to this exam, although really four exams (Step 1, Step2 Clinical Knowledge, Step 2 Clinical Practice, and Step 3). The total for just taking them (not prepping for them) is currently $3,335 (it will be an additional $70 if you need a 3- month extension for any exam).

Fees for membership in organizations such as the American Pediatric Association, American Medical Association, American Family Medicine Physician Association, state medical associations, alumni associations, and city medical clubs can take quite a toll on one’s wallet. In addition, a physician has to maintain current licensure in the state(s) s/he wishes to practice. Each state’s fees are different, and it costs just to apply.
When one is ready to apply for a residency, there is one central program for this ERAS. ERAS stands for Electronic Residency Application System. ERAS has its own fees, and of course, there is a fee to apply for residencies with no guarantee of so much as an interview. It is theoretically possible to spend thousands of dollars applying for a residency and never get as much as an interview.
Multiple businesses have sprung up to take even more advantage of the physician’s wallet. American College of Physicians, a great resource, and the well-respected organization has substantial fees for membership and services, such as the Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Kit, something more and more residencies and academic positions like to see on a cv. This is just one.

Kaplan, an exam-prepping business, is famous for its guarantee the partaker of its programs will pass whichever test. Of course, they don’t offer to pay for you to retake the examination, nor can they erase your poor score from USMLE transcripts. On top of these fees go school loans and interest on these loans, unless one was lucky enough to have the money to pay for her/his education. This, unfortunately, was NOT my case, so – lucky me- I am paying back school loans to a degree I’ve found almost useless.

Having an MD without taking the Step 2 of your boards, as in my case, is almost fatal. I could get back, but I’d need a lot of financial support. Wonderful reentry programs actually exist for physicians in my exact situation (or similar). I am extremely grateful to the helpful and caring institutions which have them in place. May they be blessed a million times over! The programs do cost money, however, and I’m a single mother barely making rent. I’m currently unemployed and am stuck desperately trying to make use of this damned MD again.

When I was interviewing for medical school, two sophomores stopped in the large room in which we interviewees were nervously sitting. One of the sophomores told us all to leave, not to go on; it was too expensive and the degree, in the end, wasn’t worth it. It would be better, he offered, for us to apply for business school. (Of course, HE wasn’t actively fleeing, dropping his books and running out with his resignation flailing behind him, either.) Today I almost wish I’d taken his advice.

If I had to do it all over again, would I get my MD? I love the practice of medicine, I loved my patients. I keep current through continuing medical education hours in some chimeric hope a fellowship, internship, or research position will fall from the sky. In the meantime, the only other thing I can say about my MD is “would you like fries with that?”

First blog post

Welcome to my site. I am on a journey to make my life better so I can provide better for my family and finally do something useful with my MD. If you have any good suggestions, I will take them. Also, any ideas to better this site or my writing style will greatly be appreciated. I love criticism – it is the only way to get better – just as long as it is constructive, not destructive.

Thanks.