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For you physicians out there...

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  • For you physicians out there...

    How hard is it to mange being an MD with horses. Do you find that finances make it more feasible to pay for your horsey passion but you don't have enough time to ride? What about juggling family, horses, and your profession? I'm an undergraduate trying to decide between PT, MD or a PhD program. Any insight would be appreciated!

  • #2
    I am not an MD... but have worked in medicine (on the business end of things) for many years. I think the answer to your question depends a great deal on what type of doctor you are talking about.

    For instance, I work in radiology. The MDs in my practice put in quite a few years of additional schooling, but also have salaries that are well above what the typical primary care doctor receives. They also get quite a bit of time off - 12 weeks a year is not uncommon - which would provide quite a lot of time for riding, showing, etc.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina

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    • #3
      Good thread!

      I knew I wanted to return to riding once I finished school - and I knew a doctoral program (I went the clinical psychology route) would garner me a good enough paycheck to afford riding the way I wanted to.

      I struggled with the MD/PhD thing, and ultimately chose the PhD route because it was what I wanted to do. I train medical residents now, and they have a pretty tough go of it, but life settles down for them, too. PT school seems to be pretty saturated right now (I work in neuro rehab, so I see a lot of PTs fresh from school). PA school may be similar.

      I think it depends largely on what scenario you choose. You need to think through the demands of the particular specialty you want (e.g., surgery versus dermatology or private practice verusus a hospital based practice). Unless you have amazing circumstances (i.e., living rent free while you go to school, and have access to low cost horse opportunities) I wouldn't see riding while you went to grad school. You may also wish to consider the debt you would incur in securing one of these degrees. Often, individuals going to private schools have anywhere from 100K for a PhD to 300K for MD. That is something to think about when you consider the cost-benefit ratio of what expenses you will have after school is over.

      I wound up choosing full time employment in a hospital setting (after trying private practice on for size...yuck...), with set hours and no nights, no weekends and no on-call and paid vacation/sick days that I can actually take because I have coverage. It's a dream job - I'm compensated well, and I can afford ONE horse, and some training and showing, on top of my living expenses (owning a car and a home after some pretty serious saving...). It's very hard work, but it can be done. Of course, my friends who got MBAs all started earning great salaries three years out of college as opposed to my eight, but whatever. Instead of being Ms. Broke, I'm Dr. Broke. Ha.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks for the supplies. Sarafina- what PhD program did you do? I want to do neuro rehab no matter what path I choose. I work in a research lab right now that is part of a neuroscience PhD program. Right now PT seems the most appealing to me all-around, but I feel like I could be an MD and I might have more freedom after being out of school awhile and getting some experience. My boss's wife is an MD and she has a horse but she hardly ever rides, but I think she's more into it as a status symbol rather than pursuing riding goals.

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        • #5
          BF had originally planned on med school and worked at the Cleveland Clinic for awhile. He said that med school and residency is really tough. He said the residents he knew (not sure if they were from the Clinic or elsewhere) would often work a lot more hours than were actually scheduled due to paperwork and the like. After getting through all the schooling (including residency, fellowships, etc...) it calms down a bit, especially depending on what area you go into.

          From what I understand, most graduate programs take a lot of time and work and don't give you a lot of free time. My Dad went to law school after he married my Mom and she says they were like two ships passing in the night. I've also had numerous professors discuss how time consuming their PhD program was.

          I think it depends on what you want to do. If you have a true passion and aren't just doing it for the money then I bet people are willing to stick it out more.

          Anyways, not a physician but thought I'd add my two cents anyways
          No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
          For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
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          • #6
            Originally posted by sarafina View Post
            I think it depends largely on what scenario you choose. You need to think through the demands of the particular specialty you want (e.g., surgery versus dermatology or private practice verusus a hospital based practice). Unless you have amazing circumstances (i.e., living rent free while you go to school, and have access to low cost horse opportunities) I wouldn't see riding while you went to grad school. You may also wish to consider the debt you would incur in securing one of these degrees. Often, individuals going to private schools have anywhere from 100K for a PhD to 300K for MD. That is something to think about when you consider the cost-benefit ratio of what expenses you will have after school is over.


            I wanted to chime in here. I'm in my 5th-year of a Psych PhD program (the end is in sight!), and I took up riding again while in grad school! I personally know it can be done - but, like sarafina said, it largely depends on your scenario.

            In my case, I went to a well-funded PhD program in a very low cost-of-living town, which has enabled me to support my horsey habit and still afford to eat (most of the time). I feel very, very lucky to be where I am right now. While I am in debt, it's a manageable amount.

            Time is the toughest thing for me. I also work in a neuropsych/rehab setting, in addition to other prac sites, tons of research, etc... which doesn't leave much time for horses, unless I make it a priority. In my case, it is worth scrimping an hour away from sleep here or there to get the amazing experience of hanging out with horses a few times per week. Some weeks, I can't make it out to the barn much, but I'd say I ride maybe 2-3 times per week on average.

            As an aside, sarafina's job situation is exactly what I'm looking for, post-school, post-internship, possibly post-post-doc. That's only, oh, several years away at this point.

            There is a lot to consider when choosing a grad program - much more than just the type of degree or area of study. If I had chosen an identical program, but with less funding OR in an expensive area, I guarantee I would not have been able to ride. That's not to say don't choose those programs if that works for you, but to consider every side of your life in the programs you're looking at - in grad school and a million years later, when you've graduated.

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            • #7
              There are many options depending on what specialty you want to go into. I know several pediatricians and GPs that job share and one of my best friends works part time in a pediatric clinic, conducts research, has three children and rides (so do two of her three kids).

              It is a matter of finding a balance among all of the things that life will bring your way. It is also one skill that you will learn very well in Med School!!

              Good Luck to you.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you everyone. I have made it work thus far, and I know that it will get harder, but I have always made horses a priority in life- it would be that or therapy! I'm willing to cut back during graduate or medical school as I know the schedule will be crazy, but I'm thinking more long term- after residency and all.

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                • #9
                  I am a Physician Assistant. I am an allergist working in a large group. My own office days, and schedules just as MD does.
                  The money lets me enjoy leasing a horse for myself and my daughter and do lessons and some showing.
                  The time constraints of hospital checks and on call, as well as office hours, keep us leasing as opposed to owning, and lessons and shows not as often as we like.
                  I have friends who are also professionals who "make " more time to be with their horses...but, I seem to be only able to be there twice a week....so we do a part lease.
                  In ANY situation...time management is key, and what you and your family are willing to do for barn time.

                  PS - when we do go to the barn on our two days, we spend the whole day..clean out own stalls, ride, groom, clean tack and play wth the other horses and people.

                  Wouldnt trade it

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm 11 months from being a full-fledged anesthesiologist. In other words, I'm still in my last year of training, but I've made it through college, med school, and 3 years of residency.

                    For med school, I made it to a lesson barn once a week. During the tough exam times or clinical stretches, I probably went about 6-8 weeks without riding.

                    For residency, I work an average 70 hours a week. On my "lighter" rotations, I could ride 3-4 times a week. On tough rotations, I might get to groom my horse once or twice a month. I chose my residency location based on cost of living and such, so I have had a horse with me the past 3 years. I have gotten to about 3 shows a year (sometimes only for one day). On some days, even if I manage to get out to the barn, I'll be too exhausted to ride.

                    You really have to love what you do, otherwise you will be miserable.

                    If you decide to go into medicine, it is about the patient. . . always.

                    I have cancelled numerous dentist and doctor appointments. I get my hair cut about every 12 weeks. My car gets an oil change twice a year (usually).

                    So, residency will be tough. I have 3 weeks vacation that I have to plan out from the beginning of the year. I also have to study for my annual exam and boards.

                    Keep in mind that Obama-care might change the salaries of physicians. Anesthesiologists might get 30% of the compensation they are currently getting if everything gets tied to a public health plan.

                    Is it worth it? I love what I do, so I think it is.
                    Ride on!

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                    • #11
                      PA school!! 2 years and out. You can basically pick your job. I just graduated in May. I should be making low 6 figures by next year. I work 7 12-hour shifts every 2 weeks. I get overtime, weekend differential (30%), and 20 days paid time off first year. Don't do much with the horses on the days I work (Maybe a lunge or hack if I'm motivated), but I have 7 days out of 14 free to do whatever I want, lesson, trail ride, show, etc. You can easily find jobs that are conventional 9-5 or 7-3 M-F.

                      During the first year of school it was hard to do much at the barn. I was in class 9 hours/day, 2 hours of driving, not to mention studying. 2nd year depended on the rotation. Some rotations I did 3 12's a week which left me lots of time for the horses.

                      AND, at least 1/2 the residents I'm working with tell me they wish they had done PA school instead.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Part-time - great now, and can ride! Did not ride for 10 years though, during the last two years of med school and five years of residency/fellowship training and having three babies.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by InstigatorKate View Post
                          PA school!! 2 years and out. You can basically pick your job. I just graduated in May. I should be making low 6 figures by next year. I work 7 12-hour shifts every 2 weeks. I get overtime, weekend differential (30%), and 20 days paid time off first year. Don't do much with the horses on the days I work (Maybe a lunge or hack if I'm motivated), but I have 7 days out of 14 free to do whatever I want, lesson, trail ride, show, etc. You can easily find jobs that are conventional 9-5 or 7-3 M-F.

                          During the first year of school it was hard to do much at the barn. I was in class 9 hours/day, 2 hours of driving, not to mention studying. 2nd year depended on the rotation. Some rotations I did 3 12's a week which left me lots of time for the horses.

                          AND, at least 1/2 the residents I'm working with tell me they wish they had done PA school instead.
                          I've definitely thought about this, but don't most programs require almost 1,000 hours direct healthcare experience before you can be accepted? Did you take a year off between undergrad and PA school??

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by case solved View Post
                            I've definitely thought about this, but don't most programs require almost 1,000 hours direct healthcare experience before you can be accepted? Did you take a year off between undergrad and PA school??
                            My school required 400--I think, which was pretty easy to get doing EMT shifts. If you're going into your senior year, it shouldn't be too hard to get that many doing something like EMT or even ambulance attendent if you don't want to get your EMT. You can also do stuff like CNA, but that never appealed to me.

                            I actually had several years off between undergrad and grad--running a boarding, lesson, and training business, but about 50% of my classmates went straight from undergrad. Thank god I'm out of the horse business and into something more reliable!

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