In your opinion, do surgeons really have great lifestyles???

  1. Hi - I am just curious about this because I know of someone who is a surgeon and really thinks something of himself. I've heard from a nurse friend that she would never want to be married to a surgeon because of the lifestyle but what do you guys see at work...

    So, from your perspective:
    1 - Do you think surgeons lives are stressful?
    2 - Is the money really worth all the time and stress of work?
    3 - Why the chip on their shoulder?
    4 - Do they spend a lot of time at work?
    5 - Does home life (wife and kids) suffer?

    Or, are they just in cloud 9 all the time because life is so great being a surgeon???????
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   EmmaG
    No idea. I'm not a surgeon.
  4. by   nurz2be
    Quote from Jiggles123
    Hi - I am just curious about this because I know of someone who is a surgeon and really thinks something of himself. I've heard from a nurse friend that she would never want to be married to a surgeon because of the lifestyle but what do you guys see at work...

    So, from your perspective:
    1 - Do you think surgeons lives are stressful?
    2 - Is the money really worth all the time and stress of work?
    3 - Why the chip on their shoulder?
    4 - Do they spend a lot of time at work?
    5 - Does home life (wife and kids) suffer?

    Or, are they just in cloud 9 all the time because life is so great being a surgeon???????
    I am the daughter of a father who was a physician and a mother who was a nurse. I can answer this as the daughter of 2 very different lifestyles.
    My father, not a surgeon but a physician, was always stressed. He always had patients in his mind at home and at work. He was in his office with books, internet, studying learning, attending seminars.
    My father made very good money, we lived more than comfortable for the area I grew up in.
    My father's best friend was a cardiac surgeon. He definitely had a chip as you call it, on his shoulder but I think that came from knowing that he knew and could do what others would not or could not do.
    My father spent I would say 80-90 hours a week at the clinic, hospital, and other areas for his work.
    Did we "suffer" no. Did we miss him being around, ABSOLUTELY. Mom, as I said was a nurse, RN. She would work 3-4 days a week and was with us the rest of the time. Dad, however, was more absent than present. He took care of us the way he knew how and took care of others the way he felt he needed to. Financially our life was great, emotionally I missed my dad and now that he is gone I realize just how much I really did miss out on with him. I am also VERY proud of the work he did, the lives he saved, and that he did what his heart told him to do.
    Our whole family sacrificed for his work, but it was his. He felt called or lead if you will, to care for the sick. The older I get, and now as a nursing student myself, I realize just how important his work, and the work of all caregivers is.
    If you do a little research you will see the the divorce rate in the medical community, especially where 1 spouse is in the medical field and the other is not, is extremely high. It takes a special understanding of the time, effort, dedication, and sacrifice it takes to do what these men and women do.
  5. by   rph3664
    I know a woman whose husband is an ophthalmologist. She said there were several specialties where people should not have children, and the main one was cardiology. She had never heard of a cardiologist who had a happy home life; the job takes so much out of them, they have nothing to give their families. Their divorce rates are astronomical; they have incredibly high rates of suicide, alcoholism, and domestic violence and they do not appear to have normal life expectancies; and their children, whether biological or purchased (don't kid yourself, a lot of people do this), are usually physically attractive and high achievers but we all know that "trophy children" are quite dysfunctional on many levels. The men are the kind who trade in their decent, respectable wife for a drug-addicted stripper, you know?

    She added that the ophthalmologists she knows appear to have the same rate of personal and family dysfunction as the general population. Ditto family practice, pediatrics, dermatology, and oddly, OB/GYN.
  6. by   NurseCard
    Quote from rph3664
    ... and they do not appear to have normal life expectancies; and their children, whether biological or purchased (don't kid yourself, a lot of people do this), are usually physically attractive and high achievers but we all know that "trophy children" are quite dysfunctional on many levels.
    Whoa, a lot of people have "black market" babies? I never knew!

    Seriously, I think you're a bit off the mark. I think it is probably common for physicians to have high expectations of their children; both because they were high acheivers themselves, but also because doctors are prominent in the community and so it is important to them that they have kids who are successful and popular. But to say all physicians have good looking kids? That's a bit strange. To say that docs are going out and purchasing black market babies... that's just bizarre.

    I know of a prominent doctor that I used to work closely with, and his daughter. Both of them could house entire homeless families in their noses.
  7. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from RealNurseWitch
    To say that docs are going out and purchasing black market babies... that's just bizarre.
    Black market babies?

    I think that when the previous poster refers to "purchased children," he/she is indicating children who were obtained by spending a great deal of money (adoption, in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood, etc.). I could deduce nothing regarding the so-called "black market" when I read the previous poster's post.

    My friend spent a total of $40,000 throughout the years to finally become pregnant. In my eyes, her daughter was purchased through blood, sweat, tears, prayers (and money).
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Dec 5, '07
  8. by   Scrubby
    I work with surgeons every day and i can only go by my observations....

    I think that they are under a great deal of physical and emotional stress, especially the junior surgeons who tend to put up with abuse from the consultants a lot. They have to operate for long hours and i really don't envy what they have to do. They do have a great responsibility and one mistake could potentially kill a person. At least we nurses can alternate scrubbing for each case, they can't. Of couse i don't put up with rudeness from any surgeon because i don't fear them like most nurses at my work, but i do understand that they are under immense pressure.

    I can't answer the second question because i'm not a surgeon.

    As for them having a chip on their shoulder i think it all comes down to how they deal with stress. I work with a few surgeons who just seem to crack when everything isn't perfect and i think that it's mainly stress related.

    The surgeons at my work seem to spend very long hours working and are often on call. A vascular registrar at my work is going to be on call for thirteen days straight over the holidays which i think may potentially put patients at risk.

    I"m not really sure about their home lives at all. I don't ask personal questions like that. But IMHO the long hours would be likely to cause some probs at home.
  9. by   anonymurse
    Great? If their taste in neckties is any indicator, how much enjoyment could they be getting out of life regardless of income?
  10. by   vamedic4
    Quote from jiggles123
    hi - i am just curious about this because i know of someone who is a surgeon and really thinks something of himself. i've heard from a nurse friend that she would never want to be married to a surgeon because of the lifestyle but what do you guys see at work...

    so, from your perspective:
    1 - do you think surgeons lives are stressful? i'm sure it is. they are under a time crunch to get things done just like everyone else, and as others have said - the responsibility they have is enormous. and if you're a trauma surgeon? omg i don't know how they do it. here we're pretty lucky, our attending trauma surgeon is a very personable man, one i've never seen lose his cool...ever. and the same can be said of our attending ct surgeons. always willing to answer questions and discuss patients with the nurses and staff. i know it's not like that at other facilities so i'm glad we have it the way we do.

    2 - is the money really worth all the time and stress of work? i think it's all about perspective. if you have no other obligations (ie: you're "single") and you enjoy your work - then it may be. but i don't think i could do it, given the time investment necessary to be good at it. not now, anyway...once the kids are grown? perhaps. but it's too important to me to be there for them while they're growing up. sure, they have big houses, nice cars, send their kids to private schools...but when do they ever get to know them??

    3 - why the chip on their shoulder? maybe it's because they have seen things and can perform procedures that no one else can. surgeons save lives, they correct problems, they research new procedures. heck, i'd have a chip on my shoulder after completing my surgery residency, too. at my facility it's incredibly difficult to even be accepted into one. some do carry it to extremes, though...and those are usually the one's that are really difficult to get along with. i think they suffer with craniorectal inversion disorder.

    4 - do they spend a lot of time at work? yes, they do. and when they're not at work, they're taking call. eighty hours a week is not even the upper limit of normal somtimes.


    5 - does home life (wife and kids) suffer? given that physicians have some of the highest divorce rates of any profession? that's a huge yes.

    or, are they just in cloud 9 all the time because life is so great being a surgeon???????

    my uncle was a physician in private practice before taking a position with the ama.

    vamedic4
    Last edit by vamedic4 on Dec 6, '07 : Reason: Changed color of responses so they can be distinguished from the questions.
  11. by   Katnip
    My uncle was a cardio-vascular surgeon.

    He was constantly under stress and worked 80-90 hour weeks. Patients, as they are everywhere, expected miracles.

    His family rarely saw him.

    He paid a fortune in liability insurance.

    I never saw him with a chip on his shoulder, but then people rarely did get to see much of him, so who knows?

    He decided it just wasn't worth it, and one day, he turned in his scrubs. He downsized his house and cars and he and his wife bought a small jewelry store. (Go figure.) He says he doesn't make nearly as much as he used to, but they're comfortable. He sees his wife and kids every day, and he's much happier.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    in u.s. society, success is defined by how much $$ one makes.
    to onlookers, owning a gorgeous house and fancy car, are impressive and enviable.

    it has been my experience, however, those who consider themselves truly successful, are those who live a simple life, surrounded by loved ones, solid support systems, and staying true to oneself.

    this seems to be universal, and not just in our country.
    when our core needs are fulfilled, everything else inevitably renders trivial or meaningless.

    leslie
  13. by   OgopogoLPN
    I worked for a fabulous and wonderful plastic surgeon for a year. He did mostly regular plastic and reconstructive surgery, but also did some cosmetic surgery.

    He has an EXTREMELY supportive wife who looked after the house and children. From my prospective, he had a great family life, but I was only his secretary and sure didn't know everything that went on.

    BUT, he worked LONG, LONG hours. He was on-call every 3rd of 4th day and every 3rd or 4th weekend. Getting a full week off seemed nearly impossible. His surgical waiting list was 4 years for elective surgeries.

    His family probably sees a lot less of him than a regular non doctor dad/husband.

    He did though own a very huge and beautiful house, expensive cars, kids in private school etc.

    I have no idea if it's "all worth it" to him. He is an extremely dedicated and caring surgeon though, with no arrogance or chip on his shoulder.

    Oh, and as for a stressful life---you bet. How could it not be? He has people's lives and future functioning in his hands. Constantly being asked to see "just one more consult", surgical complications and follow-ups, paperwork galore, etc. VERY STRESSFUL!!!
    Last edit by OgopogoLPN on Dec 5, '07
  14. by   HeyJude
    I don't think you could pay me enough money to be a surgeon, or any other sort of MD.

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