US Govt’s Answer to Primary Care Shortage: Increase Residency Slots!
A regular reader, Cryn, whose blog I highly recommend checking out here, tweeted me and pointed out this article from the Wall Street Journal regarding our govt’s answer to addressing the Primary Care Shortage.
How about addressing the core of the problem why primary care is such an unpopular choice among med students? Increasing the number of residency slots is only going to entrap more poor souls into such a thankless overworked specialty. How about doing something about the out of control student loan debt levels and workloads? I recently wrote how an entering med student at Tufts University Med School in 2009 will graduate in 2013 owing $315,000! And that doesn’t include the interest! Payed out over 30 years at 7.5% interest and that is 3/4 of a million!!! Throwing a 50K pittance to defray these costs is utterly insulting for the immense importance of such a job. Leaving primary care after my internship and going into another specialty was a decision I don’t regret in the least. I don’t miss for a NANOsecond the days where I would preround on 15-20 very sick inpatients starting at 6AM, collecting critical lab values and reports, requesting endless consults from irritated fellows…an old lady moaning is rolling down the hallway in a stretcher…who is that????…..going to morning report, rounding again with the attending for another 3-4 hours till noon, getting pimped, not knowing the answer and getting assigned a presentation for the following day, devouring down lunch while attending an “educational noon conference”, co-intern is now in clinic so now I get to cover 25 patients! YAY for me! …..back to the floors to follow up on ordered tests and consults, discharging patients, discharge paperwork, medical student ran away- “where did he go? dammit!….does this mean i now have to draw blood from the IVDA whose veins the nurse can’t find?”, Ms. Clark’s husband wants to know why “nothing is being done”, finishing 15-20 daily progress notes, admitting new patients, ………Mr. Smith pulled his NG tube out!…..transferring one of my sicker patients who is suddenly crumping to the ICU, Mr. Jones is constipated…oh and by the way that old lady fell in the bathroom and you have to fill out an incident report, being dumped a new patient from Ortho whose problems are now considered more “medical”, Mr Smith’s IV is out too and he needs his afternoon IV ABX!!!, answering pages every 10-15 minutes from nurses, ortho patient is now having chest pain! IS IT TIME TO GO HOME YET? Not tonight because you are on call!!!! Hey Hippocrates, give me that gun so I can shoot myself before you do.