Hi All :)
I know I'm a day late (seems to be the trend lately), but I love this week of the month specifically in the blogging world, thanks to Medical Mondays. So, I couldn't let this week slip away from me without stopping in to just wave and say Hello!
If you are in anyway connected to the medical world, link up or blog hop around to meet so many amazing people who blog about this bubble. I always find it encouraging, and I hope that you do too. You can link here.
I always feel pressure to come up with something super interesting or witty in honor of Medical Mondays. But, this week was very timely as I was recently working through organizing pictures from the past few years. And, of course- I came across many from exactly two years ago - aka, Interview Season! I know that many of you may be switching pages from searching the internet or reading this blog in order to book flights for interviews - a feeling that is so fresh and familiar.
I have this distinct memory cemented into my mind of having 18 different tabs opened on my computer screen (I remember counting them in disbelief) as I went between my email, my husbands, every airline website, Google maps, car rental locations and various hotels within walking distance to hospitals. 4 hours later, I had three weeks worth of travel plans set. A perfect representation of the entire 3 months of interview season: chaos, confusion and the great unknown.
That season was the worst game of what-ifs I've ever played.
People gave us all sorts of advice during interview season, some better than others. But, the reality was we were in completely uncharted territory.
With only one and a half years of residency under our belts, interview season looks very different! Of course, it's easy for me to say because we are set in our place for residency. But, that feeling of uncertainty doesn't find itself too far removed. After all, in a few short years we will be repeating this glorious process for fellowship. ( <---- does this ever end?!)
If you are finding yourself deep in the trenches of interview season (or any big decision in life!), as the spouse, here's what I'd suggest to help ease the chaos and confusion that ensues:
Research, but don't obsess.
I'll openly admit that I spent way too much time on zillow.com. If a house was on the market in a town that we ranked, I knew about it. Seriously. Looking back, I think it was the one thing I could be prepared for, so I was (that planner in me!). I was a little obsessed with planning what I could, just trying to control something in a situation where control was completely out of our hands.
It is, however, necessary to research things such as the cost of living, locations, job opportunities, education opportunities, etc. The last thing you want is to not have a clue where you are moving to, only to discover there is little there for you. Kyle interviewed at one location (to be left nameless) and every person was married, had children and not one spouse worked. Partly it was the culture, but partly it was that there was no opportunity for people outside of the hospital. He liked the program, but it was obvious that it would be a challenge for me to thrive there.
If you are able, jump on the plane with your spouse and head to the interview. You'll most likely end up walking around a city by yourself a day, but you will start to get a feel for the area and culture. Better yet, you could network with potential employers or connect with old friends. Meet people who live there and ask them questions. Some of our favorite memories are the nights after interviews, sitting in a random restaurant in a new city, just taking it in and chatting about the future.
Ask Questions. A lot of questions.
As the spouse, things look a lot different for you than for your other half. Residency can be (and sometimes is) all-consuming, but programs vary across the country - drastically. Get an idea of what you're getting into at each location.
Does the program have a spouse/SO/family support group or network?
What benefits does the program offer? (Educational credits, cost of health care, extended sick leave, retirement packages, etc)
How far are the locations from grandma's house or your favorite vacation spot?
What is the cost of living? Can you afford rent and still eat?
What's the culture like? In the hospital and town.
What's the call schedule? At home or in-house? (<--- this makes a huge difference!)
Does the program seem to support healthy families and marriages? (This tends to be obvious within a few conversations with current residents)
Are there required meetings each week or month? (Trust me, with how much time your spouse/SO spends in the hospital, it's like twisting the knife to have them be there extra time for meetings! Is it obvious that this grinds my gears ;)
Is the resident required to do research? What does that actually mean? What's the time commitment, what are the research opportunities, is there time set aside for it, etc?
How much vacation time do they give residents each year?
Most of all, trust each other and communicate openly about your excitements and fears. There's no denying this a pivotal time and a lot of change is ahead. The best part? You're in it together!
Anyone else have advice for 4th years? I know I barely scratched the surface.
Happy Medical Mondays Week :)