October 15, 2002 at 6:50 pm #86306
I just discovered this site two days ago and was so relieved to realize that I am not completely insane for contemplating med school at this stage of my life. Or at least, I’m not alone in my insanity!
I’m 34, currently a professional musician working in Spain with my husband, also a musician. When I was in college I got a Double Degree in Biology and Music (a BA and a BM). I had thought I’d go to med school, but at the time I felt totally unprepared to handle the incredible demands med school puts on one. I also decided I had to do music. So here I am.
My husband and I have gone through the fairly traumatic experience of nearly three years of infertility. We feel like our lives have been on hold this whole time, and now we’ve reached a point where we feel like it’s time to get on with the rest of our lives. It’s a real crossroads for us. We want to come home, and we want something more meaningful from our existence.
I am not sure if med school is the correct choice for me. The long hours M-F of med school, followed by endless nights of studying, followed by, etc. etc. etc. while very appealing in a weird sort of way, are also very daunting. My husband and I have a very good, stable, loving relationship, but we fear what effect med school might have on our closeness. How on earth will I tolerate being up for 36 hours straight during residencies? What if by some miracle we do get pregnant while I’m in med school? Will I be a good doctor? Will I be a good Mom? Why do I really want to be a doctor? So many questions, so little time.
Well, that’s why I’m here. I can’t wait to continue reading everyone else’s entries, because they are really helping me and in many cases inspiring me beyond belief.
Best wishes to all,
NickiOctober 16, 2002 at 2:50 am #86308
Welcome to mommd. I’m an American also living in Europe right now and thinking along the same lines about going back to the US to do my MD.
I think you’ll get alot of information and inspiration from these forums, and there are plenty of people here who are contemplating changing directions.
I minored in music in college along with majoring in Chem and Biology – but I’m afraid I let my music slide. I can see my cello propped up in the corner of the room as I write, but between work and my 6 year old I never seem to have time to pick it up anymore. (I was never professional level anyway) What kind of music have you been doing?
Good luck with your explorations and decision making.(You might also want to check out http://www.oldpremeds.net)
LMOctober 16, 2002 at 11:05 am #86309
Thanks so much for responding. It sounds like we have a bit in common! My husband and I are orchestra musicians – in June, when we hope to leave, we’ll have been here nearly six years, something I find hard to believe! In a way we both feel insane for leaving. Have a beautiful house and lots of security and a considerable amount of time off. My problem is that while I love playing the violin still, I can’t stand the job any more and feel like I’m wasting my life.
That being said, I have to add that if I was daunted yesterday when I made my first post, I am just about convinced today that starting down this road to being a doctor could be about the stupidest thing I could ever contemplate! I spent a couple of hours yesterday reading people’s stories about residency. We want so badly to have kids, and I want to be a doctor, but how will I feel during residency when I just about never see them or my husband? I am also determined to be an OB/Gyn which is supposedly among the top least family-friendly residencies.
So what do you do here in Europe? 🙂 How is it that you wound up here? I’d really love to know what has made you steer yourself towards medicine, and what are your thoughts about the time commitment to med school and residency?
NickiOctober 16, 2002 at 2:52 pm #86311elisemomof3Participant
I thought I should mention that the residency rules have changed now to protect the residents and the patients. This means that a resident can only work a maximum of 80 hrs/week. Also, a shift can last no longer than 24 hours, with a rare 30 hour shift when the need (care for a particular patient) warrants it. To see the new residency rules go to http://www.aamc.org . The residencies will become much, much more bearable when the new rules take place in 2003.
Anyone else have any more info on the new residency limitations?
Med 1October 16, 2002 at 4:21 pm #86312
I am hoping that by the time I get to residency, in 2007, when my daughter will be 12 years old; that the new hours will be well-established and that it will be easier to find a family-friendly residency. Do you think this is realistic?
LMOctober 16, 2002 at 4:36 pm #86314
I came over here after my PhD to work in a research institute and ended up staying much longer than the 2 years I originally expected to stay. There are certainly a lot of financial arguments against doing this, so I know what you mean – definitely. And I like living in Europe – my job here is probably as stressful as working in the US and I have had to work quite long hours even after my baby was born. But the lifestyle is not so stressful so this helps alot(except for the stress of conducting daily activities in a foreign language). E.g. I can walk to work so I don’t have such a big commute (leaving more time with my daughter), all my shopping is a few blocks from my house and I have very professional & stable daycare (practically no caregiver turnover in 6 years). I am worried that it will not be easy to find this in the states. I hear that the turnover in daycare centers is really high because the staff are so underpaid and that they are not always so well trained. (I hope I am wrong about this – maybe someone can enlighten me about their daycare situations) And everytime I am in the states I feel like I am constantly in the car – nothing is walking distance anymore in all these spread out cities.
LMOctober 16, 2002 at 10:41 pm #86315su4n2Participant
i don’t know, here in new york the new rules have been in effect for a few years. the Libby Zion Law passed after a famous columnists daughter was not proprly treated for some weird ear infection. she died and it was determined that the person taking care of her had been on for more than 24 hours, so they passed a law that would make that illegal. (may be missing a few details as Sydney Zion came to speak at my school many years ago) anyway, some of my friends in residency have said that programs constatntly cheat and figure out how tobeat the system. residents don’t report problems because they fear being blacklisted and fear their program being shut down. susanOctober 17, 2002 at 6:49 pm #86317
I am sort of hoping the same thing. It’ll be seven years before I would start a residency, and with any luck this battle will be sorted out already, or well on the way. I have already heard a few stories of women who found flexible residencies that didn’t require them to be gone constantly from their families. My impression is that if they want you, they will find a way to accomodate you. I also found the AMA site for how to find the residency that is right for you; it mentions such factors as family needs, school systems, daycare facilities and the like. Obviously this is an issue for most residents, male or female. Here’s the link:
I know what you mean about life in Europe. Here daycare seems to be no problem and does not put you in the poorhouse. Socialized medicine is a very nice safety net as well, although I have my doubts about the level of care I receive. I love the food, the wine, the relaxed way of living. Could do without the insane driving habits of most people here, and we’re getting increasingly frustrated with the relaxation factor in general! I’ve got too much time on my hands. You can’t get people to do what they say they will do when they say they will do it. That sort of thing.
And yes, I hear you about the daily stress of the foreign language. Spanish is not incredibly hard, although there are a lot of verb tenses! I am really grateful for the opportunity to learn it, although I always wish it were better.
NickiOctober 18, 2002 at 6:11 am #86319psychParticipant
I’m skeptical about how well the residency programs will implement the rules. If the ACGME really cracks down, that should help. But if you are willing to look around and talk to the residents when you interview in GORY DETAIL, that should help you find a more reasonable residency. That being said, my son was ages 1-4 when I was a psych resident. I went to a tough program but psychiatry is definitely one of the more reasonable residencies out there, and it worked because my husband took over as primary parent for the first year and a half. Is your husband on board with taking the main part of the parenting responsibility if you do have kids during residency? I think that’s the biggest factor in making or breaking families in residency, and probably afterwards too if you want to be in OB/Gyn and deliver babies. (Fertility is a good option if you want a more reasonable life, but you have to do a fellowship.)October 20, 2002 at 3:27 am #86321
My husband has stated that he will be totally supportive, although admittedly we both have concerns about the feasibilitty of us both carrying on our careers with kids.
As it happens, I am very interested in Fertility and I have read that it requires a fellowship to get the additional training for RE. Is a fellowship like an extension of a residency, in terms of hours and pay? Or is it more reasonable?
Sometimes it really seems like I’m about to embark on a lifetime career of schooling! I’m calculating that I will be pushing about 57 by the time I can open my own practice! :confused:
Hope everyone’s having a nice weekend.
NickiOctober 22, 2002 at 5:54 am #86323psychParticipant
It depends on the residency, and I don’t know about Ob/Gyn fellowships. In some fellowships they assume you are going to make lots of money when you finish so they barely pay you anything ($15-30K) ie some dermatology and ophthalmology fellowships. My husband made less during his 2 year fellowship in neurology than I did as a resident at the same place. Usually the hours are better though, unless you’re in GI or Cardiology or surgical subspecialties. Here’s where we really need to hear from some people who are done!
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