Dr. Jason Williams shares his experiences in emergency and sports medicine, & financial advice for med students and physicians.
[01:40] Why Emergency Medicine? [02:39] Experience as an Emergency Doctor [04:52] Landscape & Business Aspect of Emergency Medicine [09:14] The Role of Finances in Choosing a Specialization [12:12] Tips for Building Good Financial Habits [16:19] Advice to Aspiring Medical Students [17:45] Suggested Reading for Personal Finance
Why Emergency Medicine?
Growing up, Dr. Williams was surrounded by family members who worked in the hospital’s ER department. This familiarity helped develop a favorable bias towards emergency medicine.
His personality was also a better fit for the hectic lifestyle of an emergency doctor. Being confined to a clinic all day long didn’t suit him. But more than that, he enjoyed helping people in their darkest times.
Experience as an Emergency Doctor
For his first job after residency, Dr. Williams worked for a large healthcare system in Texas. This meant working at 3-4 different hospitals, with a regular number of shifts per month. After a while, he moved to a tertiary hospital with academic programs. Teaching residents and students was enjoyable. He was also exposed to many interesting emergency cases. A good portion of his career was spent in a similar setting.
An opportunity arose for him to be a director of the event medicine department in a health care system. The role put him in charge of taking care of people during sporting events. More recently, he is back to working at a tertiary hospital and a few freestanding emergency medicine departments.
Landscape & Business Aspect of Emergency Medicine
Emergency doctors can choose to work in rural hospitals, big hospitals, or free standing emergency departments Each workplace has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Modest, democratic ER departments usually consist of locals who work with a hospital or community. In these rural hospitals, you have to be comfortable handling all kinds of patients. There won’t as many supporting clinicians to help. Most of the time, you will be on your own.
If you work for larger entities such as health care systems or big hospitals, you will be taking in a lot of patients. There are many clinicians you can work and consult with. Severe cases are more common. Majority of emergency doctors work with large health contractors.
The Role of Finances in Choosing a Specialization
Aspiring doctors should first determine what field they are most drawn to and how they want to interact with patients. Choosing a medical specialization based solely on compensation can lead to burnout. The key to a long and sustainable career in medicine is doing what you love. Once you’ve figured out your interests, it’s time to consider your financial situation.
Build Good Financial Habits
If you can't pay for medical school, loans are understandable. However, don’t borrow more than what you need. Always keep in mind that the money you loaned is not yours, so don’t spend it needlessly. Good financial habits early on will help you down the road. If you learn to budget money early on, you don't have to worry about it later.
Advice to Aspiring Med Students
Medicine is a lifelong learning experience. It’s important to do well in school and to maintain good relationships with mentors. Don’t neglect developing good financial habits early on. This will make you a better physician because you won’t be preoccupied with small things. As a student, it can’t hurt to earn a little bit of side income. Learn new skills outside of medicine which can help set you up for your future.
Suggested Reading for Personal Finance
Dr. Williams recommends “The White Coat Investor” by Dr. Jim Dahle. The author is a practicing emergency medicine physician who started his blog and p