quitting medicine

Doctor Achieves Lifelong Dream of Quitting Medicine Forever

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“Finally!” he exclaimed, throwing his white coat, scrubs, and stethoscope onto a pile of logs. “I can’t believe I made it!”

Meet Hunter McCutchen.  He is 39 years of age.  He is a physician and he has never been more excited in his life.  You might be asking why.  You see, Hunter just achieved his lifelong dream.  It’s a dream many doctors envision as they embark upon the long arduous journey of becoming a physician.  That’s right, after all the years of studying, training, calls, sleepless nights, last-minute presentations, and missed get-togethers with family and friends, Hunter McCutchen is quitting medicine forever.

quitting medicineAnd he’s never, ever coming back.

“I think I’m gonna do a happy dance,” added McCutchen while pouring lighter fluid over his old belongings in what he envisions to be a spectacular bonfire.  And it indeed becomes a spectacular bonfire when he lights it up.  Hunter begins an excruciatingly spastic but still joyful dance.  You can’t blame him.  He’s never going to see patients and their families ever again.

McCutchen knew very early on in childhood that he wanted to help people by being a doctor, becoming jaded, burning out, and leaving the profession entirely.

People suck sometimes,” McCutchen said, shoveling no less than fifty medical textbooks onto the growing fire.  “I was trained to diagnose and treat diseases.  But you know what I did half of the time?  I said, ‘No, I won’t give you Dilaudid’ or ‘No, I won’t write for IV Benadryl’ before getting yelled at promptly.  They don’t teach you in med school how to call security or have a patient leave against medical advice.  And what’s with those patients who throw their feces?  Never again.”

The feeling and urge to help people persisted in college, before it was gradually and atrociously beat of out him during medical school and residency training.  Hunter best describes medical school as a four-year process of giving you the tools you don’t need to survive in residency.  He describes residency as a three-year process of learning the skills you wished you had learned in medical school while trying not to fall asleep when driving.  It was during this period of learning how to not kill people while minimally conscious – residency training – that Hunter realized what was his true calling in life: to not be in medicine ever again, ever.

“I was at the peak of medical knowledge when I graduated residency and took my boards,” said McCutchen, toasting marshmallows over the medical bonfire.  “So how did I get to apply my knowledge?  I didn’t.  I dealt with drug-seekers, noncompliant folks, insurance forms, disability paperwork, pre-authorizations, and litigation.”

His several years in private practice and academic medicine taught him several important skills, such as how to personally cope with dissatisfaction, insomnia, and depression.  It taught him the numerous ways you can be unappreciated and overworked.  More importantly, it reinforced the feeling he knew he had all along: that becoming a doctor was absolutely a huge, awful mistake, and that he desperately needed to get out, get out for good.  It was six months ago to this day that he realized that his goal was in sight and possibly attainable.

Today, Hunter is euphoric.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for years,” McCutchen said with a smirk.  He spit at his pager and crushed it with one overhead swing of his sledgehammer.  He kicked the remnants into the fire.  “You have no idea how much I hated this [several expletives] thing.”

Hunter is one of an increasing number of health care workers – not only doctors but nurses too – who are realizing their lifelong dreams of health, happiness, and helping people by getting the hell out of medicine entirely and doing something else, anything else, not remotely related to health care.  And you know what?  These former doctors and nurses have never been better.

“Yeah, get out of medicine,” said Carol Hozier, a friend of McCutchen and ex-nurse, who now happily works nights at a gas station.  “I learned to smile again, I’m a better person, and heck, I’m no longer on blood pressure meds or antidepressants.  Best decision ever!”

For McCutchen, the future is unknown and he likes it that way.

“What am I going to do?” asked McCutchen, folding his medical diploma into a paper airplane.  “I don’t know.  I have former colleagues who love their new jobs in retail, coal mining, or cleaning hotel rooms.  Honestly, I’d like to do something that has nothing to do with medicine.  Maybe something like being a park ranger, a musician, or a hospital administrator.”

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  • Show Comments

  • Avatar
    shaffaq

    oh i am dying to do this…searching for resouces to quit

  • Avatar
    Shelli Dill

    An OB I worked for in the 90’s now sells nutritional supplements, lol.

  • Avatar
    Don Stewart

    Me, too!

  • Avatar
    Don Stewart

    Satire, imitating life. I thought this was going to be the story of another doc who bailed (It sure worked for me!)

  • Avatar
    JJ Lee

    Lmfao, that’s why you don’t go into ‘medicine’!

  • Avatar
    Karen Toribio

    Lol

  • Avatar
    Michelle Schrage

    Sahara… Interesting read.

  • Avatar
    Nancy Wick

    Waiting to find a wealthy husband then I will quit

  • Avatar
    Katy Haldiman

    And I thought Gomerblog was supposed to be satire…lmao!!!

  • Avatar
    Laurel Ries

    “You have no idea how much I hated this [several expletives] thing.”

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Wise

    It’s satire and humor regarding many healthcare workers frustration with the current state of the industry

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Wise

    It’s satire and humor regarding many healthcare workers frustration with the current state of the industry

  • Avatar
    Charlotte Bell

    Laura Lynn Esther Smaill Ira Baimatova

  • Avatar
    Christine May

    I’ve been a nurse for 42 years, nurse practitioner for 12 of those . Every job has its challenges, its good days and bad days, but I’ve changed jobs, not given up the profession. Sounds like maybe this guy picked the wrong profession, or waited too long to get out.

  • Avatar
    Mark Topping

    Works for bankers too.

  • Avatar
    Carole Bryant

    Yeah you guys are right! You can TOTALLY get shot or stabbed @work, in a hospital. I’ve worked nocs at several big city hospitals where staff were stabbed (Psychiatrist in Cincinnati), raped and killed, (chicago, an MD), raped in the hospital basement, ( bakersfield…didn’t hear who). Maybe a gas station isn’t much different actually….

  • Avatar
    Staci Holles Sobota

    Right or wrong, I think about this often as well.

  • Avatar
    Corinna Muller

    “He spit at his pager and crushed it with one overhead swing of his sledgehammer”

  • Avatar
    Robin Fahringer Mitchell Machajewski

    Oooohhh…. Unfortunately, I think he isn’t qualified for administration. From what I have seen, you need a lot of letters after your name and prime ass-kissing skills. However, actual experience with patients? I think that automatically disqualifies a person for management. Hope one of those other jobs pans out! ;-)

  • Avatar
    Briana Calore

    brought a great smile to my face! so dark! so clever!

  • Avatar
    Casca

    We had a recent survey where they asked us docs ” Would you retire today if you were financially able to?” and the result was over 95% said yes

  • Avatar
    Jean Manseau

    very true

  • Avatar
    Beth Lowe

    This is amazingly accurate!

  • Avatar
    Jessica Williamson

    Same here Brittany Leigh Crandell!!

  • Avatar
    Terri Alford

    You can totally get shot at for being a doctor. And if you work in an emergency room you’re constantly subjected to out of control people. Unlike police officers who are trained to defend themselves physicians know little about that.

  • Avatar
    Terri Alford

    You can totally get shot at for being a doctor. And if you work in an emergency room you’re constantly subjected to out of control people. Unlike police officers who are trained to defend themselves physicians know little about that.

  • Avatar
    Brittany Leigh Crandell

    It’s nice to hear you enjoy it. I’m still trying to decide on NP vs. DO/MD. It’s so hard to choose when seeing all the great people on studentdoctor.net succeed.

  • Avatar
    Brittany Leigh Crandell

    It’s nice to hear you enjoy it. I’m still trying to decide on NP vs. DO/MD. It’s so hard to choose when seeing all the great people on studentdoctor.net succeed.

  • Avatar
    Brittany Leigh Crandell

    The last line was gold

  • Avatar
    Brittany Leigh Crandell

    The last line was gold

  • Avatar
    Lora Ann Cullipher

    Become a Starbucks barista…absolutely zero responsibility, and you make people happy.

  • Avatar
    Lora Ann Cullipher

    Become a Starbucks barista…absolutely zero responsibility, and you make people happy.

  • Avatar
    Carole Neff

    Alice Alice Weidner

  • Avatar
    Carole Neff

    Alice Alice Weidner

  • Avatar
    Matthew T. Eaton

    I always question why people say the pursuit of their career caused them to waste their 20s and 30s. Honestly, what stuff that you “missed” during that time are you prevented from doing in your 40s and 50s? I can’t think of anything except maybe being in a Greek organization.

  • Avatar
    Tommy Weesner

    I like being a nurse minus dealing with the assholes that think we are wait staff at a hotel

  • Avatar
    Samir Mukherjee

    Damn straight. Can’t wait Daniela Janelle!

  • Avatar
    Tommy Weesner

    U can get shot in the Hospital no problem u ever worked it

  • Avatar
    Pat Lorimer

    I think that any physician feels some of this at least some of the time. There are plenty of nights I’d love to smash the pager. If this is actually real, I feel bad for him. There will be good days and bad–as a park ranger, gas station attendant, or physician. I thoroughly enjoy being a doctor

  • Avatar
    Pat Lorimer

    I think that any physician feels some of this at least some of the time. There are plenty of nights I’d love to smash the pager. If this is actually real, I feel bad for him. There will be good days and bad–as a park ranger, gas station attendant, or physician. I thoroughly enjoy being a doctor

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    A few years ago, I was at a meetup with a woman who was an assistant manager at Steak & Shake, and she said, “How do you know so much about fast food? I thought you were a pharmacist.” I replied, “I am, but I haven’t always been, and the jobs are not as different as you might think they are.”

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    A few years ago, I was at a meetup with a woman who was an assistant manager at Steak & Shake, and she said, “How do you know so much about fast food? I thought you were a pharmacist.” I replied, “I am, but I haven’t always been, and the jobs are not as different as you might think they are.”

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    I saw a news story a while back about a woman who left her practice to be a long-haul truck driver. If she was in a state where she was licensed, she would sometimes treat other truckers at the walk-in clinics that some big truck stops have.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    I saw a news story a while back about a woman who left her practice to be a long-haul truck driver. If she was in a state where she was licensed, she would sometimes treat other truckers at the walk-in clinics that some big truck stops have.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    I loved being a pharmacist too, but it’s not the profession I trained for and I’ve gotten 100% support for my decision to leave the profession. I am still licensed, however, and plan to stay that way because Ya Never Know.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    I loved being a pharmacist too, but it’s not the profession I trained for and I’ve gotten 100% support for my decision to leave the profession. I am still licensed, however, and plan to stay that way because Ya Never Know.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    I know a woman whose (now ex-) husband used to be a wedding photographer, and he gave that up to work as a security guard at their county jail. Guess which job he said was less stressful, and honestly, less dangerous too.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    I know a woman whose (now ex-) husband used to be a wedding photographer, and he gave that up to work as a security guard at their county jail. Guess which job he said was less stressful, and honestly, less dangerous too.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    That’s what Michelle Obama used to do.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    That’s what Michelle Obama used to do.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    My doctor wants to, but he’s got 5 kids to put through college.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Rushton

    My doctor wants to, but he’s got 5 kids to put through college.

  • Avatar
    Jeanne Shreffler Brees

    Did it!

  • Avatar
    Jeanne Shreffler Brees

    Did it!

  • Avatar
    Aimie Whatcha Gonna Do

    I dig on that last line!

  • Avatar
    Aimie Whatcha Gonna Do

    I dig on that last line!

  • Avatar
    Hazanne Hetzler Kompelien

    Last line is the best line!

  • Avatar
    Hazanne Hetzler Kompelien

    Last line is the best line!

  • Avatar
    Kay Suddeth

    sounds like research might be a better place for him

  • Avatar
    Kay Suddeth

    sounds like research might be a better place for him

  • Avatar
    Diane Seaton Racht

    I don’t know. I’m thinking Starbucks barista and handwoven love beads entrepreneur has some appeal for my next move.

  • Avatar
    Diane Seaton Racht

    I don’t know. I’m thinking Starbucks barista and handwoven love beads entrepreneur has some appeal for my next move.

  • Avatar
    Claire Diane Colette

    We all feel this way now and then. “Burnout”

  • Avatar
    Claire Diane Colette

    We all feel this way now and then. “Burnout”

  • Avatar
    Emily Capt

    1. This can’t be real
    2. This

  • Avatar
    Carole Bryant

    I liked the nurses new stress free job of working nights at a gas station. ..where all she has to worry about NOW is getting held up and/or shot. Big improvement. Lol!

  • Avatar
    Terri Alford

    There is a lot of truth in satire. Yes, hospital administrators might as well be running hotels. That job has nothing to do with healthcare.

  • Avatar
    Terri Alford

    There is a lot of truth in satire. Yes, hospital administrators might as well be running hotels. That job has nothing to do with healthcare.

  • Avatar
    Aoife O’Sullivan

    Hang on, isn’t Gomerblog supposed to be a satire?

  • Avatar
    Aoife O’Sullivan

    Hang on, isn’t Gomerblog supposed to be a satire?

  • Avatar
    Kristen Wagner

    Dark

  • Avatar
    Kristen Wagner

    Dark

  • Avatar
    Terri Hope Carron

    I know a couple doctors like this! You know it’s bad when the answer to what is the worst decision you’ve ever made comes up and 2 of your colleagues instantly say “becoming a doctor”

  • Avatar
    Terri Hope Carron

    I know a couple doctors like this! You know it’s bad when the answer to what is the worst decision you’ve ever made comes up and 2 of your colleagues instantly say “becoming a doctor”

  • Avatar
    Helen Aanstoos

    Throw the administrators into the fire?

  • Avatar
    Helen Aanstoos

    Throw the administrators into the fire?

  • Avatar
    Jen Colucci

    I wish i could too!!! Have to pay the bills though

  • Avatar
    Jen Colucci

    I wish i could too!!! Have to pay the bills though

  • Avatar
    Janet McCluskey

    Love the very last sentence

  • Avatar
    Thom Miller

    Funny, but a bummer. I actually like being a doctor. That’s what I get for choosing Pediatrics :-)

  • Avatar
    Thom Miller

    Funny, but a bummer. I actually like being a doctor. That’s what I get for choosing Pediatrics :-)

  • Avatar
    Leanne Petropulos

    Brenton Tenaglia

  • Avatar
    Leanne Petropulos

    Brenton Tenaglia

  • Avatar
    Iyad Isseh

    Moral of the story? Waste your 20s and 30s by relentlessly studying and training to be a doctor only to quit when you can finally enjoy a good life. Hmm..

  • Avatar
    Iyad Isseh

    Moral of the story? Waste your 20s and 30s by relentlessly studying and training to be a doctor only to quit when you can finally enjoy a good life. Hmm..

  • Avatar
    Caleb John

    Wow, this is exactly what I dream about these days haha. As soon as I can pay off all these student loans, maybe I can realize my real lifelong dream!

  • Avatar
    Caleb John

    Wow, this is exactly what I dream about these days haha. As soon as I can pay off all these student loans, maybe I can realize my real lifelong dream!

  • Avatar
    Christina Holzwarth

    Hilarious!

  • Avatar
    Christina Holzwarth

    Hilarious!

  • Avatar
    Natalie Hap Nin

    Funny.. I’m planning when I’ll be able to quit medicine to go be a park ranger..

  • Avatar
    Natalie Hap Nin

    Funny.. I’m planning when I’ll be able to quit medicine to go be a park ranger..

  • Avatar
    Daniela Janelle

    Samir Mukherjee

  • Avatar
    Keri Wenker

    Me three!!!

  • Avatar
    Gomerblog

    That was my favorite part too!

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    An administrator! BAHAHAHA!

  • Avatar
    Todd Nicholas Badenov

    Amazing!

  • Avatar
    Shaam Mahasneh

    Gregory Nicholas Wallingford Jr.

  • Avatar
    Mickey Adams

    Omg yes!!!!! Me too.

  • Avatar
    Elise Peterson

    Ha!

  • Avatar
    Stella Fitzgibbons

    And people wonder why doctors are going to boutique medicine and leaving hospital practice.

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