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Needing_helppls

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Thank you in advance for your advice. I’m having trouble in residency and thinking of trying to find an alternative. I will try to stay vague so my PD doesn’t learn about this from SDN somehow.

I matched into my top choice and I’m loving the program. It’s a very poor hospital system with tons of problems but I do like my actual program and it has a great reputation. I’m also preforming well. The problem is my spouse lives >5 hours away, won’t move, and living apart no longer seems worth it.

He lives in a city with only a pathology residency where he has a once in a lifetime job that he loves. He makes ~$100,000, works WAY less hours than I do, and enjoys his job more than I enjoy being a doctor. So, during the match we were planning on being long distance.

Now it’s a year later and I regret this choice. Even if I “stick it out” and finish residency the medical job market back home is rough. He absolutely will not quit his job to move here which I find reasonable. I’m not happy and despite doing well this just wasn’t the right fit for me and I regret it. So, what do I do?

I’m in >$200,000 debt and not a rich kid. My spouse is willing to help me pay that down but it seems risky to bank on that. I don’t have some awesome skill set or employment history that would move me into a good career. I’m open to changing programs including pathology or literally anything in order to move home. A job is just a job at this point.

My current plan is to approach my PD and just let them know what I’m going through. I’m just worried what they will think. How would you approach this lose-lose gridlock?
 

MoBunny

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Sounds like a tough situation. I think sticking it out might be the best choice or look for other residency options near your family. Having an MD doesn’t open a lot of job opportunities up. I’m not sure what specialty you are in but it might be worth looking into the pathology program. Are there any other programs near your husband?
 

Needing_helppls

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Sounds like a tough situation. I think sticking it out might be the best choice or look for other residency options near your family. Having an MD doesn’t open a lot of job opportunities up. I’m not sure what specialty you are in but it might be worth looking into the pathology program. Are there any other programs near your husband?

I think pathology would be a tough job for me, I really like working with patients. There are a few family medicine programs nearby, the closest one being an hour away. However that program had a caviot in their contracts that they may shut down due to funding problems (per my buddy who matched there). The next closest is a new psych program but is not yet accredideted. I’m not sure what that really means to not have accreditation but at this point I’m open to that.
 

IMrad

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Stick it out. Most places need generalists if you’re in a field to accommodate that and I would be surprised if you can’t find a job in your home town (depending on your speciality). As a board certified physician you will be guaranteed to make more than your spouse at 100k. I would hope they would realize that. I would not sacrifice your career for your spouses given the situation you describe.
 
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Piebaldi

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Thank you in advance for your advice. I’m having trouble in residency and thinking of trying to find an alternative. I will try to stay vague so my PD doesn’t learn about this from SDN somehow.

I matched into my top choice and I’m loving the program. It’s a very poor hospital system with tons of problems but I do like my actual program and it has a great reputation. I’m also preforming well. The problem is my spouse lives >5 hours away, won’t move, and living apart no longer seems worth it.

He lives in a city with only a pathology residency where he has a once in a lifetime job that he loves. He makes ~$100,000, works WAY less hours than I do, and enjoys his job more than I enjoy being a doctor. So, during the match we were planning on being long distance.

Now it’s a year later and I regret this choice. Even if I “stick it out” and finish residency the medical job market back home is rough. He absolutely will not quit his job to move here which I find reasonable. I’m not happy and despite doing well this just wasn’t the right fit for me and I regret it. So, what do I do?

I’m in >$200,000 debt and not a rich kid. My spouse is willing to help me pay that down but it seems risky to bank on that. I don’t have some awesome skill set or employment history that would move me into a good career. I’m open to changing programs including pathology or literally anything in order to move home. A job is just a job at this point.

My current plan is to approach my PD and just let them know what I’m going through. I’m just worried what they will think. How would you approach this lose-lose gridlock?

Well I would stick it out - how long is the residency - path? 4years? so 3 to go. Can you transfer to the path program where your husband lives? it's tough being apart for so long but your choices are sticking it out or divorce and i ceratinly would not divorce if your relationship is good. it's tough to ask a partner to give up their profession. many times in MD/non MD couples the MD feels they have the "better" profession - but realistically the other prson also needs to feel that their career matters.
 

Needing_helppls

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Stick it out. Most places need generalists if you’re in a field to accommodate that and I would be surprised if you can’t find a job in your home town (depending on your speciality). As a board certified physician you will be guaranteed to make more than your spouse at 100k. I would hope they would realize that. I would not sacrifice your career for your spouses given the situation you describe.

Thanks for the input. I think the dilemma about it is that he’s happier in his job. He won’t leave it and is willing to be long distance for his job whereas I am no longer willing to be long distance for mine. I don’t think I can be a happy person sticking it out as is. I’m hoping my PD has some other less darastic soultions but switching programs is not out of the question. I’m just so nervous to bring it up, I’m not sure how the PD will react.
 

Needing_helppls

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Well I would stick it out - how long is the residency - path? 4years? so 3 to go. Can you transfer to the path program where your husband lives? it's tough being apart for so long but your choices are sticking it out or divorce and i ceratinly would not divorce if your relationship is good. it's tough to ask a partner to give up their profession. many times in MD/non MD couples the MD feels they have the "better" profession - but realistically the other prson also needs to feel that their career matters.

I think you might be my new best friend! A lot of people decide my career is more important than his and it’s made it difficult to brainstorm under that pretense. We have a really good relationship so I’d chose a career change over a divorce any day.

I think where I’m stuck is I want to email hometown or near hometown programs to ask about spots before approaching my PD about a switch. Based on prior SDN posts they have all recomended talking to the PD first, but I’d hate to ruin a good thing if other spots don’t even exist.
 
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MoBunny

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Well I would stick it out - how long is the residency - path? 4years? so 3 to go. Can you transfer to the path program where your husband lives? it's tough being apart for so long but your choices are sticking it out or divorce and i ceratinly would not divorce if your relationship is good. it's tough to ask a partner to give up their profession. many times in MD/non MD couples the MD feels they have the "better" profession - but realistically the other prson also needs to feel that their career matters.

I agree. I think I too would chose keeping my family intact over sticking it out if it came to that. I’m not sure if you and your spouse are at a point where divorce has even come up but residency has been known to ruin relationships. I also agree that a many times my MD career has been valued above my souses non MD career and that has frequently caused tension for us.
 

Needing_helppls

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The other piece of this is that not only do I miss my spouse but I miss my entire family. I have missed so much living this far apart from my mom, brother, my in-laws, and all my friends. I fit in here and I’ve made new friends but I think I miss my family more than I would ultimately miss anything here.
 

MoBunny

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The other piece of this is that not only do I miss my spouse but I miss my entire family. I have missed so much living this far apart from my mom, brother, my in-laws, and all my friends. I fit in here and I’ve made new friends but I think I miss my family more than I would ultimately miss anything here.

That’s fair, residency is a tough time and most interns are going through their own kind of struggle. Most of the posts I have seen regarding changing residency programs have been motivated by being closer to family so you are not alone. I hope you can figure something out.
 

rokshana

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It is not unusual at this time of the year for people to feel this way in their intern year. Are you a USMD ? DO? I/FMG? all of those things will make a difference in what you should or could do...there is the potential that if you leave this residency that you will never get another spot...you have to ask yourself is it worth never being a practicing physician to go back home...and only you can answer that question. With a year under your belt you may be able to get an unrestricted license but even then will be difficult to find work.

2nd and 3rd year will have more elective time and freedom to visit home...and cannot your spouse and family come visit? If he is working fewer hours, he could have the flexibility to come visit you.
 

Carlin

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Hi there, I can relate to you. I matched into a residency program three time zones away from my husband six years ago. My program was 5 years, and my husband really didn’t want to leave his job because he loved it so much, so we planned to stick out the 5 years apart, and then I was able to find a job in his town after I finished residency. It was VERY tough being apart for so long, but I am very glad now looking back that we made it work. I was able to get trained in my first choice speciality in a very good program. I made great friends with other residents at the hospital who I still consider some of my closest friends. Sometimes the time passed so slowly, but other times I really found I loved my life. We visited each other as much as possible— usually saw each other at least once per month. We talked on the phone EVERYDAY without fail. I think our communication skills really improved during that time.

I think you should stick it out. It sounds like you like your program and are in the speciality of your choice. You should be very employable when you finish an ER residency and I bet you’ll be able to find a job back in your hometown. Start networking now. Talk to local ER docs and find out what hospitals and groups are in the area. This is just a few years. You can do it!
 
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