What's a Doctor's Lifestyle Like?
For family doctors, hours of work are similar to regular offices with some taking night calls or day house calls from their patients. Clinics also run regular hours but some offer extended hours by having their doctors work a rotating shift. In a hospital, care must be provided around the clock. So specialists work on an on-call system: every four days work a regular work day, through the night, and then through the next day again with two or three hours sleep, then resuming work the next morning for a half to full day and regular working hours the next two days and repeat. This of course is very taxing on the lifestyles of these doctors and can result in social and home issues.
For all doctors, after the 'trauma' of medical school, a period of internship is required. This a time of supervised clinical training with a steep learning curve. Many clinical skills are developed for cases of future emergency, some of which a doctor may never use again but should know in case of disasters or freak accidents. Typically the degree of hands-on experience a doctor is involved in decreases as they get older, and more time is spent on direction of younger doctors. Unlike many other industries, doctors actually becomes more valuable the older they get as their experience and therefore clinical judgement becomes more refined.
As many more physicians are needed in communities than are trained, doctors seldom experience the turbulence of market layoffs and unemployment.
Graduation from medical school does not guarantee lifetime practice. To protect the public, medical cases with unusual or unexpectedly poor outcomes are reviewed by medical boards. If the attending physician is repeatedly found erring s/he is deemed unfit to practice and their license is revoked. For a few of the oldest physicians today, there were no CT scans, MRI, computers and many common drugs around when they graduated. So part of a doctors lifestyle is keeping up with changes in the field.
The day to day experience of a doctor at work is typically spent hurriedly, with a high degree of concentration and rapid decision making based on their lifetime of experience. It is generally a stressful but morally rewarding lifestyle.