Another OB in town announced his retirement. Our hospital can (based on deliveries and population of service area) support 10 OB-Gyns. With this retirement, we'll be down to 4. Just 4. When I arrived 3 years ago, I was the 7th doc. We're dropping like flies here!
Rural areas are drowning. I'm on track to do 350 deliveries in 2009. A busy practice in the city would do 150-175. There are always more patients, more people who need help. Those of us who remain are hustling fast and hard. And there is no relief in sight...I am booked months out for new patients, for surgeries, for anything! Good luck getting a pap smear booked!
We're a small and close-knit department. We all have the haggard look in our eyes, the perpetual fatigue in our bones. Other docs look at us with pity, knowing that you can almost always see an OB's car in the doc's parking lot. I know what call rooms get cell reception and what ones don't. I'm interviewing for someone to join me, but it's a tough sell. Rural, work hard, call Q2, interesting patient population. Sounds like a great life, eh?
Of course, if I had been smart, I would have done a cushier specialty. But I wouldn't love my work if I had...