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Career Story: Staff Physician At A Large Teaching Hospital

Staff Physician At A Large Teaching Hospital

Job Title: Staff Physicians

Type of Company: I work for a large academic teaching hospital.

Education: BA in History, Yale University •• MD (Medicine), Tufts University •• Masters in Public Health, Tufts University •• Masters in Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health

Previous Experience: I entered medical school after two years of teaching English to college students in China. After medical school, I was employed as a resident and then a clinical fellow, both post-graduate medical training positions.

Job Tasks: I am an attending physician in a large academic teaching hospital. My main responsibilities are taking care of children with multiple medical problems as well as teaching medical students and doctors-in-training (residents, fellows).

During a typical day, I get to the hospital around 7:30 am and round with the team. Rounding means that as a group, we review and examine each child who is staying in the hospital and is under my care. I will ask the medical students and residents to update me on events from overnight, and together we will examine the child, make a plan for the day, including diagnostic tests and treatments.

After we finishing rounding on each child, I will spend some additional time talking to the parents each child. I answer their questions as best I can. By mid-day, I am usually done with this, and begin teaching sessions with members of the team. If a particular question came up during rounds, I will focus on that in the teaching session.

Throughout the day, I am asked to see new patients by other people in the hospital, emergency room, or pediatricians in the community. Typically, I see a new patient in 45-60 minutes, and make a plan, if needed, for evaluation. At the end of the day, I return to hospital to check up on the patients I saw in the morning to see if the plans have been followed through on and if anyone can go home.

During the evening and night, I field phone calls and pages from the staff inside the hospital who have questions about the patients. If there is something that is very confusing or serious, I often will come in to the hospital at night to evaluate patients myself.

I enjoy this job very much and highly recommend it to anyone.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I help children and their families through a very difficult time in their lives. I can watch children get better because of decisions I make for them. Often when children are sick, it is like a puzzle, trying to find out what the cause of the illness is, and then working together with a team to find an appropriate solution.

The worst part of the job is when the children don't get better, or if you find that a child has a disease that has no treatment.

Job Tips:
1. Be prepared for a long time in training. It takes many many years to become a doctor, and even more years to become a good one.

2. Not all doctors make a lot of money -- in fact, many have lots of debt from medical school loans. If you're looking for a quick way to be rich, this is not it.

3. Spend time early in your career following shadowing doctors to see what they actually do.

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