For a physician about to finish residency or fellowship, the differences in practice types may seem unclear. Each type of practice has its own positives and negatives, and some may be a better fit for your career needs.
If you are starting your job search, or at least thinking about your future practice options, you should be weighing the pros and cons of each practice type. Keep reading to see the upsides and downsides of each and how they differ from a residency or fellowship training environment.
Javier La Fontaine, DPM, MS, is a professor in the Plastic Surgery Department at UT Southwestern and an attending physician at Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, TX. He specializes in limb salvage, using his surgical and wound healing expertise to help patients—especially those with diabetes—who have been told that amputation is the only course of action available to them.
Originally hailing from Puerto Rico, Dr. La Fontaine earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. He earned DPM degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in 1995 and completed his residency in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1999. He has been widely published, holds leadership roles in multiple professional societies—including the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, where he serves as a regional president, and the American Podiatric Medical Association—and has been named one of the “Most Influential 175 Podiatrists in the US” by Podiatry Magazine.
The doctor business is win-win: doctor wins, patient wins. In sharp contrast, the legal profession is a win-lose dichotomy. That is one reason why we choose medicine. It is a huge difference in psychology that gets into our very bones. Becoming a doctor is a highly noble pursuit. Being a doctor is fun, exciting, worthwhile, productive and assuredly positive. Doctors create wealth in the world by increasing the ability of people to pursue their happiness. What in the physical realm could be more worthwhile than that?
But medicine can be an all-consuming life choice. Before embarking on it, ask yourself if you can tolerate sacrificing a large percentage of everything else you enjoy to do, and everyone you like to be with, for a long time. The job is great. No doubt about it. But don’t naively minimize the sacrifices. Is it worth the sacrifice? Don’t let anyone other than you decide that.