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Hi all!

I've seen a few posts on the forum hinting at the benefits of working in addiction medicine, but I wanted to formally ask if any of you have worked or currently work in addiction med, what has your experience been?

I have worked in psychiatry for the last two years since graduating, and while I find it interesting in theory, practice has been unfulfilling. I had a rotation in a dual diagnosis facility, and it was easily the best clinical experience I've had to date. I'd love to transition into addiction med but would first like to hear some pros and cons from fellow PAs who have significant experience in this specialty.

What is your facility like? How is the patient population? What is your typical patient load each day?

What training did you receive and did you have prior experience?

Do you feel more or less stress/burnout than other specialties you've practiced in?

Is the pay competitive?

If some of you could help answer any of these questions, I'd be quite grateful.

 

Thank you!

Edited by pa-wannabe
Typos

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Worked in FM for too many years so got my X waiver in 2017, which required 24 hours of on line training, and attend CME as my time and funding allows.

I work in outpatient Medication Assisted Treatment clinic seeing 15-20 patients daily. Patients are generally thankful for our care here, and we don't see the "entitlement" issue as in FM or UC, I believe in part because their self esteem is basically in the toilet from being stigmatized by other health care providers.  (Which is a bad thing) .

I find the work extremely rewarding and would rather leave medicine altogether before I ever went back to FM.  This switch was my answer to burnout, and I'd recommend it.

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4 hours ago, PAinPenna said:

 

Worked in FM for too many years so got my X waiver in 2017, which required 24 hours of on line training, and attend CME as my time and funding allows.

I work in outpatient Medication Assisted Treatment clinic seeing 15-20 patients daily. Patients are generally thankful for our care here, and we don't see the "entitlement" issue as in FM or UC, I believe in part because their self esteem is basically in the toilet from being stigmatized by other health care providers.  (Which is a bad thing) .

I find the work extremely rewarding and would rather leave medicine altogether before I ever went back to FM.  This switch was my answer to burnout, and I'd recommend it.

Thank you very much for your reply! I'm glad to hear you've found the transition refreshing and rewarding.

 

I never expect patients to be grateful, but boy would it help.

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I've worked in emergency medicine and  part time in addiction medicine for 8 years. I trained for 6 months at an opioid treatment program and then did a post graduate emergency medicine residency. I currently work at an opioid treatment program managing patients on Medication Assisted Treatment. I find it very rewarding and a great change of pace from my EM job. Relatively low stress with competitive pay...my hourly addiction medicine rate is higher than my EM pay. Much of the clinical work is protocol driven. Individuals with substance use disorders are very underserved and appreciate being treated like a patient and not a drug seeker. It can be frustrating at times (i.e. relapses) but this fits into what we know about addiciton being a chronic brain disease. Addiction medicine is highly regulated by the state/feds so I've run into state and federal laws that limit my scope of practice. Hope this helps!

Pro: pay, low stress level, appreciative patients

Cons: protocol driven = boring and redundant at times, meddling government

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12 minutes ago, spensj said:

I've worked in emergency medicine and  part time in addiction medicine for 8 years. I trained for 6 months at an opioid treatment program and then did a post graduate emergency medicine residency. I currently work at an opioid treatment program managing patients on Medication Assisted Treatment. I find it very rewarding and a great change of pace from my EM job. Relatively low stress with competitive pay...my hourly addiction medicine rate is higher than my EM pay. Much of the clinical work is protocol driven. Individuals with substance use disorders are very underserved and appreciate being treated like a patient and not a drug seeker. It can be frustrating at times (i.e. relapses) but this fits into what we know about addiciton being a chronic brain disease. Addiction medicine is highly regulated by the state/feds so I've run into state and federal laws that limit my scope of practice. Hope this helps!

Pro: pay, low stress level, appreciative patients

Cons: protocol driven = boring and redundant at times, meddling government

Thank you for your thorough response. I was expecting a decent amount of government oversight to be a con, so that does not come as a surprise.

If you don't mind me asking, how did you go about finding the treatment program where you trained for six months? Was it meant to be a training program? I'd love to find something similar. 

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10 hours ago, PAinPenna said:

 

 

I find the work extremely rewarding and would rather leave medicine altogether before I ever went back to FM.  This switch was my answer to burnout, and I'd recommend it.

This!

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