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#1 Old 10-30-2011, 07:33 PM
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Hi there!

I was recently accepted into a local university's pre-med program. (Really excited about this!!!) I'm a third year college student who is still pretty undecided about what she wants to do with her life. But... I'm thinking I really want to be a family doctor.

For the doctors and nurses on VB, do you really feel like you help people? Or do you feel like every patient is just another chart to complete? Do you feel like it is impossible to make a difference because the health care system in the US is just too far gone, or do you feel like you still get through to people?

I'm scared I'm going to complete medical school and a super-draining residency only to find out that I can't do a damn thing to help people. And that's all I really want to do. I want to educate and help people.

And on a side note, what's up with the lack of nutrition courses in the MD program? I've done nothing but pour over Texas medical college programs this weekend and the lack of nutrition courses is frightening.
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#2 Old 10-31-2011, 07:45 AM
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I'm surprised no one had jumped on this one! yes, you can make a difference in someone's life by giving them your undivided attention, and actually LISTEN to your patients. That's the firstmost complaint a pt has with their provider, is there isn't time to talk to their Dr, and they don't have the time to listen to them wholeheartedly.

Be aware, that more than likely, after you are done with school, and you are out on your own, and working FOR someone else, your scheduling won't allow you to take that time. ALL parts of the medical field are run like a business, and it is about the money, and frankly, when you are dealing with Medicare reimbursement, it has to be about the money. The geriatric population will be the most time consuming aspect of your day, if you're in family medicine, you will be seeing many elder patients. Unfortunately, like I said, the Medicare reimbursement STINKS for medical providers, so it's important to get them in and out while still accomplishing the goal of seeing them....it sounds absolutely horrible, but it's the truth. An office makes money on private insurances and self pay patients. To keep an office afloat with payroll, utilities, Provider salaries and malpractice insurance (which is another crock!), you have to have revenue coming in.

I do think EMR- electronic medical records is the way to go, which also makes those records accessible to other providers and hospitals in case of emergency or transfer in care, vs just pieces of paper in a paper chart in a Dr's office. That's going to save millions of trees too!

Another thing to realize is, pharm reps are going to be knocking on your door to pedal their latest and greatest drug....sometimes it doesn't hurt to stick with the tried and true drugs from the past....I made mention on another thread about how many class action lawsuit ads are on TV right now for drugs that have been on the market, but now they know that they can be very dangerous. DOn't just jump on the bandwagon, because something is new, bright and shiney!

If you're really interested in the nutrition aspect, check into eCornell's online program....that's part of Dr Campbell's program at Cornell University....it will help give you the nutrition component you are looking for. There are a lot of plant based Dr's out there, but I wish there was a master list that could be made and accessed by state. There isn't one yet.

My suggestion to you is, follow your heart....if this is what you want to do, get your education, then make a difference in your patient's lives. You can specialize too don't forget....you can be like the husband and wife Dr's on Fork over Knives, where this is the specialty they've chosen, changing people's lives through Diet, like Hippocrates said 2000+ yrs ago. Just be prepared to buck the system a little, and not participate in all of "traditional" medicine.

Also look up AADP- American Acadamy of Drugfree Providers

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#3 Old 10-31-2011, 07:55 AM
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And Congrats!!!!

also, there is a group on Dr Campbell's site for the eCornell graduates if you want to read through it http://tcolincampbell.ning.com/group/graduates

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#4 Old 11-01-2011, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Photojess View Post

I'm surprised no one had jumped on this one! yes, you can make a difference in someone's life by giving them your undivided attention, and actually LISTEN to your patients. That's the firstmost complaint a pt has with their provider, is there isn't time to talk to their Dr, and they don't have the time to listen to them wholeheartedly.

Be aware, that more than likely, after you are done with school, and you are out on your own, and working FOR someone else, your scheduling won't allow you to take that time. ALL parts of the medical field are run like a business, and it is about the money, and frankly, when you are dealing with Medicare reimbursement, it has to be about the money. The geriatric population will be the most time consuming aspect of your day, if you're in family medicine, you will be seeing many elder patients. Unfortunately, like I said, the Medicare reimbursement STINKS for medical providers, so it's important to get them in and out while still accomplishing the goal of seeing them....it sounds absolutely horrible, but it's the truth. An office makes money on private insurances and self pay patients. To keep an office afloat with payroll, utilities, Provider salaries and malpractice insurance (which is another crock!), you have to have revenue coming in.

I do think EMR- electronic medical records is the way to go, which also makes those records accessible to other providers and hospitals in case of emergency or transfer in care, vs just pieces of paper in a paper chart in a Dr's office. That's going to save millions of trees too!

Another thing to realize is, pharm reps are going to be knocking on your door to pedal their latest and greatest drug....sometimes it doesn't hurt to stick with the tried and true drugs from the past....I made mention on another thread about how many class action lawsuit ads are on TV right now for drugs that have been on the market, but now they know that they can be very dangerous. DOn't just jump on the bandwagon, because something is new, bright and shiney!

If you're really interested in the nutrition aspect, check into eCornell's online program....that's part of Dr Campbell's program at Cornell University....it will help give you the nutrition component you are looking for. There are a lot of plant based Dr's out there, but I wish there was a master list that could be made and accessed by state. There isn't one yet.

My suggestion to you is, follow your heart....if this is what you want to do, get your education, then make a difference in your patient's lives. You can specialize too don't forget....you can be like the husband and wife Dr's on Fork over Knives, where this is the specialty they've chosen, changing people's lives through Diet, like Hippocrates said 2000+ yrs ago. Just be prepared to buck the system a little, and not participate in all of "traditional" medicine.

Also look up AADP- American Acadamy of Drugfree Providers

Thank you so so so so so much for all the wonderful information! I think you are right. If I just stick to my guns I CAN make a difference. I really don't want to ever write a precription, lol. I'm more into homeopathy and diet/lifestyle changes than just handing out pills that are probably doing more harm that good. I should probably keep that opinion to myself during medical school and residency, or I might be stoned to death! My REAL dream is to attend Bastyr University and become a ND, but I will wait until my kids are grown for that one. Goal? MD and ND by the age of 44 with a private practice.

The links are awesome, thank you! I bet you are a fantastic nurse! Your post got me all motivated and made me smile!
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#5 Old 11-01-2011, 10:24 PM
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thanks! I've been a nurse for 22 1/2 yrs, worked med surge, oral surgery, developmental disabilities, chemical dependance (for 12 yrs and loved it!), pain managment and now dialysis.....I have learned so much through the yrs!

It's just like my own job...I have a job to do, but how I treat and interact with my patients is everything! I spend 4+ hours a day with 4 groups of patients, on a M-W-F and T-T-S schedule, and we are family. I'm going to lose one of my fav patients any time soon or this winter due to a massive skin cancer that has encompassed his left side of his scalp, and the tumor has blocked his vision by pushing the eyebrow forward and down.

This is why I'm in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition now....our dialysis patients are still suffering from cancer and HTN and heard disease. We aren't stopping that, even though we're keeping them alive through dialysis

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#6 Old 11-03-2011, 11:41 AM
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It's just like my own job...I have a job to do, but how I treat and interact with my patients is everything! I spend 4+ hours a day with 4 groups of patients, on a M-W-F and T-T-S schedule, and we are family. I'm going to lose one of my fav patients any time soon or this winter due to a massive skin cancer that has encompassed his left side of his scalp, and the tumor has blocked his vision by pushing the eyebrow forward and down.

This is why I'm in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition now....our dialysis patients are still suffering from cancer and HTN and heard disease. We aren't stopping that, even though we're keeping them alive through dialysis

I'm so sorry about your patient. :-( That's got to be one of the truly tough parts of the job. It kills me that people don't have to suffer as much as they do.
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#7 Old 11-03-2011, 10:56 PM
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true, but life is a circle, and my heart has been touched by him, as I have touched him....he looks forward to having me there so we can talk on a daily basis. Like I said, if this is your passion, then run with it, because you will be able to make a difference, but it'll be up to you to do so!

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#8 Old 11-05-2011, 02:30 PM
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Nera, thought you might want to read this....it was posted on Dr Tenpenny's FB page: (about discouraged Drs) http://www.doctorsandpatients.org/oh-doc-survey-results

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#9 Old 11-06-2011, 03:27 AM
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For the doctors and nurses on VB, do you really feel like you help people? Or do you feel like every patient is just another chart to complete?

It depends. Sometimes I think I'm helping other people, sometimes I think I don't. I'm a radiologist in Germany which is quite a difference from being a family physician in the USA.

I have mostly contact with fellow doctors. The majority of X-rays, CTs and MRIs I look at... most of the time I've never seen the patient at all. When I speak to the patient (those who were sent to get an MRI by their ortho or surgeon and don't stay at the hospital) I can offer a diagnosis but not a treatment. I don't know if that ACL lesion you have needs surgery - that's a decision your surgeon or ortho has to make. Then I don't feel so helpful though it's of course helping a fellow doctor to decide what treatment option to choose.

Radiologists also treat patient though. When I do a periradicular therapy the patient usually gets up from the CT table and tells me the pain is gone. That's the moment when I feel I'm helping people.


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And on a side note, what's up with the lack of nutrition courses in the MD program? I've done nothing but pour over Texas medical college programs this weekend and the lack of nutrition courses is frightening.

That's what nutritionists are for. I sometimes think of it as kind of frustrating but on the other hand you usually have enough to do to stay up to date in your own profession.

However, I'm quite sad when performing an angioplasty on someone's leg and see the patient continue smoking and eating poorly. There are a few patients who change their lifestyle but the majority doesn't do it.
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#10 Old 11-06-2011, 03:31 AM
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Mufflon, I'm a hospital-based nurse, and we love our radiologists. You guys look inside and tell us what is going on without having to cut anyone. Awesome job!
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#11 Old 11-06-2011, 05:31 AM
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Haha, thank you.
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#12 Old 11-07-2011, 06:26 PM
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Nera, thought you might want to read this....it was posted on Dr Tenpenny's FB page: (about discouraged Drs) http://www.doctorsandpatients.org/oh-doc-survey-results

Thank you! Yeah, I told one of my good friends I was thinking of med school and his first words were, "With all the obamacare stuff going on right now, I don't think medical school is the best chice." I'm thinking hard about it, trust me. I'm just going to forge ahead with the pre-med chemistry degree and minor in business and psychology too. I could do a lot with that degree if the medical profession takes a big turn for the worst.
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#13 Old 11-07-2011, 06:31 PM
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That's what nutritionists are for. I sometimes think of it as kind of frustrating but on the other hand you usually have enough to do to stay up to date in your own profession.

However, I'm quite sad when performing an angioplasty on someone's leg and see the patient continue smoking and eating poorly. There are a few patients who change their lifestyle but the majority doesn't do it.

Yeah you're right, but it just bothers me. You know doctors can tell when a patient could improve a condition just by changing their diet but most of them just won't go there for some reason. It's bothersome. I'm one of those "foodies" who is really big on nutrition and food as a preventive meausure for health as well.

I checked out the periradicular therapy link. Interesting stuff there! That sounds like it might be fun to do!
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#14 Old 11-07-2011, 07:54 PM
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Thank you so so so so so much for all the wonderful information! I think you are right. If I just stick to my guns I CAN make a difference. I really don't want to ever write a precription, lol. I'm more into homeopathy and diet/lifestyle changes than just handing out pills that are probably doing more harm that good. I should probably keep that opinion to myself during medical school and residency, or I might be stoned to death!

There isn't a lot of point in me discussing either of my nursing jobs as they aren't that relevant to the role of a doctor, but I just wanted to say that if this is the way you feel in your heart about medicine and the writing of prescriptions, then being a family doctor probably isn't the profession for you. By the time a lot of people visit the doctor and have their health issues diagnosed it is often a little too late for lifestyle changes or alternative therapies to correct the immediate problem, and so a large part of your daily practice will involve prescribing the correct medication to "fix" things. That will be your duty of care to your patients. If you aren't comfortable with the idea of doing that you might be better off spending your time and money educating yourself in a different field. Something related perhaps, just not a medical doctor.

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#15 Old 11-07-2011, 10:39 PM
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check out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! I'm enrolled right now, to become a certified health coach. With a degree and holistic health coaching training, you could do a ton of stuff!

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#16 Old 11-08-2011, 11:48 AM
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Yeah you're right, but it just bothers me.

It bothers me, too. However, both doctors and patients are not too fond of a nutritional approach. I can't really blame them. I changed my eating style and there is still a lot I could do better. I try to eat the Eat to Live style (Fuhrman) and I think it's hard. It either takes too much time to prepare or the food doesn't taste good (my opinion).

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I checked out the periradicular therapy link. Interesting stuff there! That sounds like it might be fun to do!

Yes, I like doing it. It's fairly easy to do (usually).
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#17 Old 11-08-2011, 01:14 PM
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Yeah you're right, but it just bothers me. You know doctors can tell when a patient could improve a condition just by changing their diet but most of them just won't go there for some reason. It's bothersome. I'm one of those "foodies" who is really big on nutrition and food as a preventive meausure for health as well.

I checked out the periradicular therapy link. Interesting stuff there! That sounds like it might be fun to do!

I encourage you to become an MD!
I think that your way of thinking is becoming more mainstream, and I think you could have a practice you'd be proud of. An ex-OB I know is now concentrating on family holistic medicine. He uses nutrition, supplements, meditation, and works closely with chiropractors, acupunturists. More and more preventive stuff is being covered by insurance, which is of course key.
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#18 Old 11-08-2011, 05:39 PM
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ledboots....that's so good to hear about that md. wish them the best

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#19 Old 11-13-2011, 02:49 PM
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Mufflon, i'm actually an RT in the US. It's good to hear a radiologist's perspective on this issue, especially one that's interested in nutrition! Working in the radiology department in the hospital, and now in a general practitioner's office, i've gotten very frustrated with both patients and physicians when it comes to healthcare. Primarily, how little diet and exercise are stressed to patients. I see so many physicians (i'm primarily speaking about GP's, since that's who I work with now as well as them being the #1 person who initially treats patients with issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.) who tell patients to pop a pill or go under the knife, instead of eating right and using exercise and/or natural remedies such as massage to take care of their diseases or ailments. I am also a licensed massage therapist, so I see it from multiple standpoints I guess you could say.

To answer Nera's question: Although I am a little less hands-on than an RN would be, I still feel like I am helping and get a sense of satisfaction in that. Being in a private practice now instead of the hospital I get this even more so. I no have repeat patients that I get to work with on a regular basis and grow a rapport with, and it is very fufilling. I sometimes feel that I am limited in how much I can help them though, being a radiographer and not being able to give suggestions or advice to patients when it is obvious a better diet and lifestyle would make all the difference. I do a lot of Bone Density scans for diagnosis of osteoporosis, and I get a little more out of that because i'm able to discuss ways to strengthen your bones (both diet and exercise) and let them know the right questions to ask the physician so they can fully answer the questions they have. It has become a passion of mine.

I am considering getting a degree in something like nutrition so I can share my passion for health.
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#20 Old 11-13-2011, 04:27 PM
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^^ it takes more and more people who give a darn to make changes....I think mainstream medicine is still like mainstream SAD eating, but changes are out there and more are coming. The more people who are willing to go outside the box, the better!

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#21 Old 11-13-2011, 04:51 PM
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^^ it takes more and more people who give a darn to make changes....I think mainstream medicine is still like mainstream SAD eating, but changes are out there and more are coming. The more people who are willing to go outside the box, the better!

Absolutely agree! Although i've seen a lot of progress in alternative medicine in modern medicine, it seems like I've seen just as many steps backwards. It's very frustrating!
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#22 Old 11-13-2011, 07:48 PM
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there are also no incentives for physicians or HCWs to go outside the box...it all has to be self driven. There are no pharma kickbacks, or really even support for those who practice outside what's considered the norm. Health Ins companies dictate treatment, reimbursements stinks, so physicians have to be content with knowing they are doing the right thing for the right reasons......

why else recommend eating vegetables...the Drs aren't going to get anything out of that! LOL.....except healthier and happier patients!

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#23 Old 11-13-2011, 08:37 PM
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there are also no incentives for physicians or HCWs to go outside the box...it all has to be self driven. There are no pharma kickbacks, or really even support for those who practice outside what's considered the norm. Health Ins companies dictate treatment, reimbursements stinks, so physicians have to be content with knowing they are doing the right thing for the right reasons......

why else recommend eating vegetables...the Drs aren't going to get anything out of that! LOL.....except healthier and happier patients!

Medicine is turning into a political driven field, and it makes me nauseous. All this, plus the lack of nutritional education physicians get, there's no hope for most to not turn to pills or going under the knife. Sure, they tell cholesterol and high blood pressure patients to exercise and "eat better", but go in to it no further than that. And of course, the patients want the easy way out, take a pill and still eat all the crap they want. There are some who take it upon themselves to get educated on diet and exercise, but you have to weed thru the crappy doctors to get to them! My sister had a physician ask her about 15 years ago "If you're a vegetarian then what do you eat?". Things like that still shock me, even though I know it's still out there!
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#24 Old 11-13-2011, 09:03 PM
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I used to work for a Dr that thought taking his statin drug gave him permission to have those cheeseburgers and fries....used to drive me nuts, trying to talk some sense into him! didnt' work though.

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#25 Old 11-16-2011, 11:15 AM
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There isn't a lot of point in me discussing either of my nursing jobs as they aren't that relevant to the role of a doctor, but I just wanted to say that if this is the way you feel in your heart about medicine and the writing of prescriptions, then being a family doctor probably isn't the profession for you. By the time a lot of people visit the doctor and have their health issues diagnosed it is often a little too late for lifestyle changes or alternative therapies to correct the immediate problem, and so a large part of your daily practice will involve prescribing the correct medication to "fix" things. That will be your duty of care to your patients. If you aren't comfortable with the idea of doing that you might be better off spending your time and money educating yourself in a different field. Something related perhaps, just not a medical doctor.

I've thought about what you said and it makes sense. I'm still thinking along the lines of a family practice, just with a focus on peds and ob/gyn. I feel like these two catagories could give me a "blank canvas" with patients and it would be there that I could make the most difference.
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#26 Old 11-16-2011, 11:19 AM
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I encourage you to become an MD!
I think that your way of thinking is becoming more mainstream, and I think you could have a practice you'd be proud of. An ex-OB I know is now concentrating on family holistic medicine. He uses nutrition, supplements, meditation, and works closely with chiropractors, acupunturists. More and more preventive stuff is being covered by insurance, which is of course key.

Hey, thanks! I do believe I could make a difference in some way.
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#27 Old 11-16-2011, 11:21 AM
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there are also no incentives for physicians or HCWs to go outside the box...it all has to be self driven. There are no pharma kickbacks, or really even support for those who practice outside what's considered the norm. Health Ins companies dictate treatment, reimbursements stinks, so physicians have to be content with knowing they are doing the right thing for the right reasons......

Agree with all this! I know I won't make as much money running a "natural medicine" practice. But it will be much more rewarding to me and money isn't really all that important to me anyways. I want to see people more active, healthy, and happy.
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#28 Old 11-17-2011, 12:34 AM
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I have no advice, just want to say good luck. We could use a few more docs with some vaccine and nutrition sense!
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