14 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Morgan

I'm so glad that Morgan started feeling the pressure to participate in my review posts, because I love her perspective. I'm probably biased, though, because Morgan and I have spent a lot of time together since medical school began. Scott and Morgan's husband, Chase, were roomies during the summer ISAC program in Pomona. So Morgan and I were destined to be besties, especially after I was able to score her a job with me at the Foundation in Corvallis. Carpooling, lunch hours, and games nights with the hubbies have been so great. I'm not evening thinking about how they will move for rotations, because I like to pretend that I will still see Morgan and her adorable baby every week.

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

Unlike the others that have posted so far, my responsibilities have changed from the first year… but not because its year 2 but because we had our first baby.

So I spend my time taking care of Colt and I do most of the shopping and cooking. I would like to say that I am a wonderful housekeeper, but Chase would tell you otherwise. Thankfully I have a husband who likes to wind down after tests by giving the house a good scrubbing.

Chase likes to always go, go, go. So I try to make sure that he has fun and doesn’t get too worn out.

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?

I made sure to stay out of the way during test weekends. Chase loves to hang out with Colt and me, and I noticed one test weekend that I was totally being a distraction. I don’t have the discipline to leave him alone, especially on weekends. So I try and get out more on those weekends and keep myself busy.

The first year of med school I was working full time and also coached cheer a couple nights a week. I cut back from coaching cheer at night. It felt like I was away from the house too much,  and Chase has enjoyed having me home every night even if we were just in the same room while he was studying. I am sure having dinner ready for him doesn’t hurt either.

I try and focus on the end goal more. It helps me to remember what is important and why we have to make sacrifices now. For example, right now when I want to take time away from Chase’s board studies, I remind myself that his board scores will help decide what residency program and what specialties Chase can or cannot get into. If I take away too much from his studies now that could affect his path as a doctor and also our future.

How did you prepare for rotations?

I made sure to talk with Chase and see what his expectations and hopes were for rotations. I tried to stay informed and learn about the process as much as possible. It was kind of difficult to get all of the information when I was looking for it, but it all came eventually. I just needed to be patient.

What did your family consider when participating in the lottery?

Chase went and talked with the rotations director and a few of the teachers at school. He also contacted some residents at different DO schools around the nation and asked what is important for the field of medicine that he is thinking and hoping to go into.

After talking with all of these sources, he decided that he wanted to be in a location that wasn’t too small, but not too big either. Some of the places in the big cities have residents also at the hospitals, so it may be harder to get as much hands on experience. But in larger cities you may have the opportunity to see more rare and interesting cases. Then in smaller hospitals you get more hands on experience, but may miss out on having a variety of cases. Chase wanted his rotation site experience to be the happy medium.

Once we figured this out we looked at our different options and narrowed it down to our top five places. Then we further discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each. Our top two rotations sites ended up being McMinnville and Bend. The school put out a Google doc where people put in their top chooses. When we saw how many people put Bend as their top choice, we decided that we would rather put down McMinnville then end up somewhere further down our priority list.

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

I think the unknown was the hardest part for me also. I feel like the school (and once in a while my husband) could do a better part at informing us of the process.

Another hard part at the end of this year has been finding a place to live in our rotaion site. There isn’t quite as many options in the price range that we are wanting, and since it’s not super close we can’t just make a quick trip to see the places.

I think the next thing that is going to be difficult is moving. Not only because moving just sucks, but because we will really miss our friends and support system that we have in Lebanon. However, it is exciting to move on to the next part of the journey, and Chase is super excited to be out of the classroom and start feeling more like a real doctor.

Any advice for first years?

Stay positive. I think it is easier for you, your medical student, family, and others around you if you stay positive. Yes, medical school is stressful. Yes, we are all poor. And yes, we don’t see our husbands as much as we might like. But this time is precious… and lots of time Chase and I have found ourselves wishing our lives away thinking if only we were in rotations, residency, or if Chase was already a doctor. Enjoy this time because soon you may be leaving your friends and moving on to the next adventure. Plus you want to have a positive effect on those around you!

I will also echo everyone else’s advice… communicate!

Oh and plan lots of parties and get togethers! And take a lot of pictures. It is such a fun time!