Choosing a Family-Friendly Medical School
Regardless of where you attend medical school, you will be expected to learn the same basic information and go through the same essential rotations. That being said, if you are considering having children during medical school, keep in mind that some programs are more family-friendly than others.
Selectively applying to family-friendly schools may prevent you from dealing with unnecessary obstacles later on. Here are two features to keep in mind that are a good indication of how family-friendly a particular school is.
Flexibility. Is there a parental leave policy? Would you have the option of taking a research year or a year off to spend time with your newborn? Is it possible to extend your classroom or clinical years? And can you choose to do all of your clinical rotations in the town where your school is located?
Many schools have adopted policies to allow for time off or more flexible scheduling under the right circumstances. A few, such as the Ohio State University, even provide the option to take classes from home during the first two years, giving students complete control over their schedules.
Family resources. Is there an organization of medical student parents at the school? These organizations can provide student-parents with an understanding support group. They also open the door to a pool of childcare resources and a simple helping hand when times get rough.
In addition to student groups, some programs, such as the University of Massachusetts Medical School, provide on-campus Child Care Centers and even “Mothers’ Rooms” where breastfeeding moms can go feed their babies or pump.
Attending to family needs while tackling medical school is never going to be easy, but choosing a particular school can at least make things easier. Having flexible options and family resources, and being surrounded by supportive staff and colleagues, can really help you get the most out of your professional and personal life. Good luck!
More on motherhood and medicine
Having, Raising Kids During Medical School, Part 1
Having, Raising Kids During Medical School, Part 2
Choosing a Family-Friendly Residency
Having a Baby During Residency
Raising Children During Medical Residency