Living In The Unknown: Part of Life As A Med Spouse

Medical Spouse

Can you recall moments in your adolescence when you were completely living in the moment, not caring or thinking much about the future? The future seemed, like, forever away. Plus, you just wanted to enjoy life as it was in that very moment. Ahh…if we could find just a bit of that carefree attitude we used to have, minus the naiveté, even for a moment. Well, my fellow medical spouse, I challenge you to do just that. What is something all us medical spouses have in common? We have NO idea what the future will look like for us, and we also have very little control over it! 

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How To Manage A Cross-Country Move

Medical Spouse

The medical journey offers many opportunities to make some big moves, whether it’s to start medical school, residency, fellowship, or for that first “real” job. A move, especially one across the country, requires a good deal of planning. You will undoubtedly have many questions. How do I move my stuff? How do I find a place to live? What about my cars? The list goes on and on.

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Division of Labor: How to Keep a Household Running While Your Spouse is In Training

Medical Spouse

By Amy Rakowczyk, SDN Staff Writer

One of the biggest challenges that arises during medical school is actually all of the non-medical school “stuff”: namely, household duties and chores. How much help can you expect from your spouse in this regard, and how will you divide up the duties?

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How To Make New Friends and Find A Community

Medical Spouse

If your spouse’s medical studies have recently brought you to a new city, or to a new community within a familiar city, you will need to search for new friends and support groups. Medical school is not about being “strong” and pushing through all the hard stuff. It’s about having people to lean on when the going gets tough.
Building yourself a new community and finding friends, especially those that you hope to be able to share your delightful, as well as dark moments with, is not an easy task. However, it is a necessary one!

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Residency: The Interview and Selection Process

Medical Spouse

Residency applications! The light at the end of the tunnel, and the process that will chart the course for the next 3+ years of your life and your spouse’s medical career. No big deal, or anything! It is an incredibly exciting time, while also being quite unsettling. Here’s what to expect and how to make it as joyful of a process as possible.

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What to Expect as a Med School Spouse: Years 3 and 4

Medical Spouse

By Amy Rakowczyk, SDN Staff Writer

With Step 1 completed, and hopefully after a little R&R, your spouse is ready to get out there and try their hard-won knowledge in the clinics! Also coming up, your spouse will be selecting a specialty and starting the process of researching residency programs. They will put their application package together, go through the interview process, rank the programs, and wait for the much anticipated Match Day, then graduation! It will be a lot in a short amount of time, so here’s your breakdown of what to expect!

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You and Your Spouse: A Financial Team

Medical Spouse

Aside from long hours and lots of studying, the other guarantee in medical school is financial stress. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a spouse whose medical education is paid for and you have funds from family or a job that will cover both of your living expenses, you’ll be on a tight budget and accumulating massive amounts of debt. That debt will be large enough to change your financial planning and lifestyle both now and for years to come.

So how do we put ourselves in the best financial position now and plan for the future? And how do we still enjoy life now during these lean years? It’s worth it to start talking about finances now!

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Not “Ours” Anymore: Sharing Our Doctor Spouses

Medical Spouse

By Amy Rakowczyk

One thing is certain during medical school: your medical spouse is going to study and work a lot of hours. This is a necessary part of becoming a doctor. They need years of studying, preparing, and training in order to be able to perform the job. The time required means that you, the medical student spouse/partner, will have less time with them. There will be fewer hours when they are available. That is the hard reality.

It’s easy to start thinking about how unfair this is. You are left with gaping holes of time and are by default in charge of all the non-medical school items. You are working harder too, with less support. The unfairness of it can quickly turn into resentment and bitterness.

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Searching for Your Dumbledore: Finding a Mentor

Where would Harry be without Dumbledore? We all need mentors, and they can be critical throughout your career development. Whether you are an undergraduate thinking about applying to graduate or professional school, a medical student wading through residency options or a post-doc looking for faculty positions, the relationships you develop with your mentors can be invaluable. Mentors can give advice, provide encouragement or a reality check, offer insight from their experience, and expand your network by connecting you with their own friends and colleagues. The ideal mentoring relationship is one that evolves over time where the mentor takes a genuine interest in the success of the mentee. We all recognize that mentors are important. But how do you find them? And, once you have, how do you nurture the relationship so it can thrive?

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20 Questions: Brian Walcott, MD, Neurosurgery

Dr. Brian Walcott, MD is a chief resident in neurosurgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he specializes in the care of patients suffering from diseases of the brain, cerebral blood vessels, skull base, and spine.  He is training to become a subspecialist in neurovascular disease, with an active research interest in vascular biology.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and biology from Seton Hall University where he was also a Division I NCAA track athlete.  Afterwards, he went on to medical school at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and was admitted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
​During residency, he has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is an ad hoc reviewer for JAMA Surgery, Neurology, and the Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery, among others. His research is supported by grants from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, the American Medical Association, and the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies.  He was awarded the resident teacher of the year award from the Harvard Medical School class of 2012.  He is also the co-founder of AdmissionsMentor.com, a consulting service for graduate school and medical residency applicants.

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Studying Medicine in Europe

With centuries-old medical schools and worldwide-accredited programs for general medicine, dentistry, veterinary and pharmacology studies, Central and Eastern European medical schools are becoming more and more popular among students in North America. According to an article published by the New York Times in August 2013, “The number of foreign university students in Hungary rose 21 percent from 2005 to 2011 — to 16,465 from 13,601”. Many of these students come from the United States and Canada in search for more affordable options for medical studies.
Yet there are several issues with choosing these schools. First, despite the quality of the medical education, the challenge of returning to the U.S. or Canada and practicing medicine is still significant. Students returning from European medical schools must compete with med students and doctors who have studied in the US and Canada in schools which are more known and respected thus leading to an advantage over students who studied in Europe. Moreover, in many cases, med schools in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe are perceived as “second world” schools which do not represent the most modern of medical studies.
Even though European medical schools must adhere to the European Union standards and have long proved to have excellent medical degree programs, often on par with those found in the leading medical schools in North America (such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, etc.), the perceptions bear great weight on the mobility and ability of new doctors to practice in the leading hospitals and clinics. After all, if we are being honest, would you prefer to see a doctor who studied in Boston or one who studied in Zagreb?

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The Big Question: What Specialty Should I Choose?

 
 
It is Match Week and Jennie, a third year medical student, is starting to panic. She has talked to many of the fourth years as they chose where to apply for residency, went on interviews and decided how to rank the programs. They all seemed to be so sure of their specialties.
Jennie, however, is not at all sure. Pediatrics, psychiatry, and family medicine all seem intriguing. But, how to make a decision? She is worried that she won’t select the specialty that will be satisfying for her.

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20 Questions: Sandeep Jauhar, MD

Dr . Sandeep Jauhar

 
Sandeep Jauhar, MD, director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Medical Center, is author of Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation. Dr. Jauhar’s route to medicine was not entirely direct, as he earned a bachelor’s degree (‘89), master’s degree (‘91) and PhD (‘95) in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, before graduating from Washington University School of Medicine (‘98).

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20 Questions: Richard A. Sheff, MD, Author

Richard A. Sheff, author of Doctor Confidential: Secrets Behind the Veil, is a Rhode Island family physician with over 30 years of experience in medicine. Dr. Sheff received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine before serving his residency with Brown University Division of Family Medicine at The Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
After practicing family medicine in Massachusetts for 12 years and teaching at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston for a decade, Dr. Sheff launched a company, CommonWell, with the goal of helping the healthcare system integrate the best of complementary and alternative medicine with the best of conventional medicine. He also began consulting with hospitals and physician organizations in the U.S. and internationally.

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The Successful Match: Getting into Pediatrics

 
We recently discussed the pediatric residency selection process with Dr. Su-Ting Li, program director of the University of California Davis pediatrics residency program and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Pediatrics. After graduating from the UCLA School of Medicine, she completed her pediatrics residency at the University of Washington. Following this, she remained at UW as a National Service Research Award Fellow in General Academic Pediatrics and pursued a MPH in epidemiology. She then joined the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California Davis where she has also held the title of Clerkship Director.
Dr. Li has been heavily involved in medical student and resident education on local, regional, and national levels. She has also been recognized for her research contributions. In 2008, her paper “Primary Operative Management for Pediatric Empyema” was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Articles in Pediatric Hospital Medicine.” She has been highly sought after as a journal reviewer, and is currently a reviewer for 12 prestigious publications, including Academic Medicine and Pediatrics.

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All About Competency: Part 2

Part 2: Identifying and Evaluating Your Strengths and Weaknesses

What is your biggest weakness?  What is your greatest strength?

Ever been stumped by these questions on an interview?  Who hasn’t?  I assure you the range of answers given to these questions should be a subcategory in the LOLcats website.  I’ve heard way too many “I focus a lot on my studies” as answers to both questions.  Nevertheless, most companies and professional school admissions committees cite these questions (or similar variations) among their many sample interview questions.
Some of my advice on this topic can be found on the Kaplan Medical School Insider webinar [free pre-registration required], using the analogy that an applicant’s biggest weakness was (noting the pun) being overweight.  While that particular example is quite valid, this article focuses on helping you identify a weakness that answers this question honestly.

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