neurosurgeon as a mother?

Discussion in 'Spouses and Partners' started by gallahan, 07.30.12.

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  1. gallahan

    gallahan

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    My wife is in her 3rd year of med school. She's seriously considering becoming a neurological surgeon, but we both really want kids. We'll obviously have to wait until she's practicing, but even then, would it be possible for her/us to handle the stress of kids with her incredibly demanding job? (I work regular hours at a much less demanding job, but I wouldn't be able to be a stay-at-home-dad.) We're worried about the stress on our marriage, and our kids never getting to see her. Is there any way this could work?
     
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  3. UES Girl

    UES Girl Banned 5+ Year Member

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    Did she have a neurosurgery rotation ? If no, she should take it as one of her electives to get a taste of it.

    I did a neurosurgery rotation with a neurosurgery pharmacist for 6 weeks and frankly I am a pharmacy student not a medical student so I wasn't in the OR, just management of neurosurgical patients pre- and post operatively - but even then I easily pulled between 70-90 hrs a week on most weeks.

    My days were between 12-16 hours and when I was leaving for the day the residents were still there for hours to come. I obviously imagine attending's schedules were different but still very intense. I can't imagine having kids under these circumstances - our hospital is a tertiary level care hospital so the work load was intense and I was dead when I got home and could barely fend for myself.

    Definitely encourage her to either get a mentorship by a neurosurgeon or direct experience like a rotation to get a fairly good idea of comittments required.
     
  4. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ 10+ Year Member

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    It is impossible for two people to work intense full time jobs - especially one of them as a neurosurgeon - and to also simultaneously raise children.

    Sure, you can outsource childrearing to nannies, daycare, the grandparents, etc. but if your wife wants to actually be a mother - and not just a uterus - she should strongly consider against something as demanding as neurosurgery.

    Isn't there anything else that interests her? Neurology would have MUCH better lifestyle. Anesthesia is also a neuroscience-oriented specialty and has excellent lifestyle (in comparison to neurosurgery). Neuropathology is another possibility.

    This is not a light decision. She should coordinate this with you. It's not just her career aspirations that are on the line: it's also your marriage, your kids, and what happens to your career (i.e. the OP's), as well.
     
  5. gallahan

    gallahan

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    She did a rotation and loved it. The only thing keeping her from neurosurgery would be the hours and workload for attending and the effect on our future family. I've heard that due to the high demand for the specialty it's possible to get an attending position with far fewer hours though, maybe not working a full week? Is this true?
     
  6. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ 10+ Year Member

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    I suggest you post some of these questions on the surgery/neurosurgery subforum on SDN. They will better be able to address these questions. Unless your wife would be part of a large neurosurgical practice (I'm not sure these exist), I doubt she can secure a part time position. More likely, she would work long hours but make a very good salary. However, I could be totally wrong on this, so better to check with residents and attendings who know better.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=126
     
  7. wholeheartedly

    wholeheartedly SDN Administrator 7+ Year Member

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    Definitely check out the neurosurgery forum here, there seems to be some real variety in practice setups but the consensus is you do need to put in enough hours to keep your skills up. Also have her check out the mothers in medicine blog if she hasn't seen it already. There is a neurosurgeon/mom who posts there on occasion along with numerous other posters discussing the challenges of medicine and motherhood. Uncle Harvey is a site for all things neurosurgery but it fluctuates in activity levels and I'm not sure there's a lot of female representation on there.
     
  8. dozitgetchahi

    dozitgetchahi 7+ Year Member

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    Is she heavily focused on neurosurgery only? Or is she one of those types who enjoys surgery in general and could be satisfied focusing on another surgical specialty? Gen surg has some subspecialty options that are much more conducive to having a family (breast surgery is one that stands out).
     
  9. Paddington

    Paddington SDN Lifetime Donor Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Going into something because you did a one month rotation and "loved it" is the stupidest reason to go into it.
     
  10. FirstAndFinal

    FirstAndFinal

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    I'm a bit surprised that so many people are trying to get this guy to discourage his wife from neurosurgery. That's the field she really wants to go into but because she also wants kids she should give it up for some less satisfying specialty? It's not like you're asking what the husband does for a living and telling him to cut back because he wants to be a father (he seems to have a 9-5 and if his wife were a neurosurgeon they could survive on her salary alone and have him be a stay at home dad, which he decidedly said he doesn't want to do and none of you gave him grief for).

    Anyway, I conquer with looking into the neurosurgery threads. I've read several posts and it is possible to have 50-60 hour weeks with certain positions.
     
  11. WhtsThFrequency

    WhtsThFrequency walk like a monkey, kick like a mule 10+ Year Member

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    I'm not usually one to be bothered by this but...seriously dude? Seriously?
     
  12. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ 10+ Year Member

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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
  13. Samoa

    Samoa 10+ Year Member

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    I know a number of women who've had children during surgical residencies. In fact, I know two who did so as neurosurgery residents (one had the children during residency, the other switched from surgery to neurosurgery after having children). Both were married to residents in other fields.

    They both probably had help at home. But frankly, duty hours apply just as much to neurosurgery as to other fields. So she'll have time to see her kids AND be a mom. Not much, but more than you expect, particularly if it's a priority. Even so, expect to need a nanny. It's not the end of the world, and it doesn't mean you've outsourced parenting your own child. But it's up to you to ensure your own involvement. It's like hiring a mid-level in a residency program. They don't hinder the residents' learning, or take away from their opportunities unless you allow it to happen.

    What you won't be able to expect is for her to be able to commit to picking them up from school, driving them to afterschool activities, staying home with them when they're sick, etc. You will have to do those things, for at least the 6-7 years of residency. After that, it gets better.
     
  14. Samoa

    Samoa 10+ Year Member

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    It's no stupider than any other I've heard. And better that you go into it for love than money. It's a tiny bit easier down the road when you realize how godawfully painful it is to be a neurosurgeon.
     
  15. Groove

    Groove Member 10+ Year Member

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    Ask a neurosurgeon, but off the top of my head... impossible. Not improbable, simply impossible. Prepare to be a stay at home dad if she pursues that route. That's the only way it will work.
     
  16. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It 7+ Year Member

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  17. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Only she can decide if she wants to give up on being a mom or a Neurosurgeon.

    She can be in two places at once.

    She can have the kids and have someone else raise them. Either yourself or family or hired help.

    IF you stop her and she really wants if then she will resent you and the family.

    Let her make her decision and see if you can live with it.
     
  18. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It 7+ Year Member

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    /reads response

    /looks at who actually wrote the response

    /is confused
     
  19. penguin24

    penguin24 Don 7+ Year Member

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    Somebody saying that they love neurosurgery but dislike the long hours, is like saying you love being married but dislike being faithful to one woman (i.e. they go hand in hand).

    In the words of Dr Polk, who wrote The Medical Student's Survival Guide:

    "If you rotated in pediatrics and had the time of your life, then great! Take those memories and cherish them, but don't make the mistake of actually going into that specialty because you had a good time rotating in it as a med student. Instead, choose the lifestyle that you want to live, and then pick a specialty that will allow you to live that lifestyle."
     
  20. dynx

    dynx Yankee Imperialist 10+ Year Member

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    Dude. You absolutely CAN be a stay at home dad. My god man, stay at home and don't work and when you guys divorce in a few years ride the gravy train. Trust me.

    And... To the person that said duty hours still apply, not for sure, a lot of the programs that have exceptions are neurosurg programs. And ask them if they really go by the duty hours... They'll laugh in your face.
     
  21. basupran

    basupran ortho, study, cars, lift 10+ Year Member

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    Surgery residency is difficult, and I can't imagine how anyone can be a mother or pregnant during residency. I knew of an ortho resident who was pregnant during residency and it was not a good combination. She would not scrub into joints because of the bone cement, she would not scrub into cases with fluoro, she had to take time off during residency, she had to take maternity leave, etc... This put a lot of stress on her co-residents as they had to cover her cases and calls....difficult when residents are spread so thin.

    Also, remember that as a resident, her day will not end after leaving the hospital. She will have to go home and read....


    That being said, it is certainly possible, but it requires heavy planning and research. She would have to find a program that was supportive.
     
  22. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory. 10+ Year Member

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    Dunno my neurosurgeons appear to do less work than the cafeteria staff...seems pretty cushy to me.

    I would guess though there is a 0% chance your marriage would survive residency.

    I would hit the gym and get some new threads etc. Prepare for the worst. Lots of fish in the sea and all that.
     
  23. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory. 10+ Year Member

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    Polk is one of the most sage writers in modern medical history. Not just for that comment, but his book and his personal musings are LEGENDARY.

    They are a must read. I cant stress that enough.
     

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