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Spouses at Pre-Interview Diners

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by dabeags, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. dabeags

    dabeags 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2014
    My wife is going into OBGYN and I plan on attending a few of the pre-interview dinners with her(the places that invited spouses, which was all but one).

    The ones I am attending are the ones we consider to be pre interview top choices in cities where I haven't been before. So our goal is for me to be able to get a feel for the city, establish our strong interest in the program by me traveling to attend the dinner, and also get a feel for the program/people.

    Is it common for residents to bring their spouses and/or families? I would like to meet the husbands/bfs of many of the residents as I am bound to be spending time with them once we get settled into a new city.

    Anyway, for those that have gone any specific tips or advice? Obviously I am well used to hanging with doctors and other academia so I can handle myself if/when the entire conversation devolves into medical talk and most enjoy my company so there is almost no chance of me making a poor impression.
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  3. organdonor

    organdonor 7+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    I brought my wife with me on several interview dinners. Just be sure that you leave the attention where it belongs-on your applicant spouse. Same rules apply to you as to the applicant- appropriate dress is a button down shirt and slacks, no tie. Do not order alcohol unless all the residents have ordered alcohol, and then limit yourself to 1 alcoholic beverage.

    I remember how difficult it was to arrange travel plans with my wife, her job, and the baby so for that I will always recognize the commitment it shows to bring a spouse or child.
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    It's not very common. My personal opinion is fly solo so you can better manage the situation. there will be plenty of opportunities for you and your spouse to meet the coresidents spouses once they are actually coresidents.
  5. gutonc

    gutonc No Meat, No Treat Administrator Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    A fibrotic stroma
    If spouses/partners are explicitly invited then go for it. Behave appropriately, don't steal the focus from your spouse, be interesting and engaging, etc. My wife cam with me to ~1/4 of the dinners and it was fine. It's not as big of a deal as L2D makes it out to be.
  6. atomi

    atomi Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    This might be somewhat field dependent, but it was extremely unusual in my experience. I think of the 10 or so dinners I went to, only a single person brought his wife, and it was very weird. I distinctly remember chatter about it later.

    Again, why risk it?
  7. RangerBob

    RangerBob Not a real ranger... 5+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    I brought my wife to every dinner where spouses were invited--maybe 2-3 total. There were other spouses/significant others present at each of those. I did not ask if she could come to interviews that spouses were not invited to--generally if spouses aren't explicitly invited, then the residents aren't bringing their spouses/kids. If spouses are invited, usually a couple residents at least bring their families.

    My wife did come with me to pretty much every interview, so that she could explore the city while I was busy during the interview day. We tried to turn every interview into a vacation opportunity.
    NMSK89 likes this.
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004

    The couple of times I've seen that people brought spouse to the dinners, the post-dinner discussion amongst the residents tended to be how much more we liked the spouse than the applicant, and as a result the applicant probably dropped a few pegs in our estimation than they might have if they didn't give us the same comparison. I can also envision a spouse behving poorly or saying the wrong things and pulling down an applicant that way. I'm not saying you can't bring a spouse. I'm just saying you are adding another variable to the equation and sometimes you are better off being in control of as many variables as possible in order to put your best food forward. There are probably some great husband and wife team out there that can pull this off effectively. But not enough that I would recommend this as a general rule.

    I also would suggest that every minute spent by residents talking to spouses detracts from time residents can spend talking to you and other applicants, so while spouses are "invited", their presence sometimes detracts from the overall mission of the dinner. And adds to the costs. So even when invited residencies are mostly just doing so to be polite, not because they are really wanted there. Just saying.
    imgtointern, DermViser and southernIM like this.
  9. killerleaf

    killerleaf beware, beyond there be dragons 10+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    dazed and confused
    Some programs, such as ours, do invite the spouses to the pre-interview dinner. We recognize the fact "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". We want them to talk with the other spouses at the dinner, to recognize that we are a good group, and they aren't going to be without support. Also, the spouses usually offer a tour of their own the next day, while the other halves are interviewing. In this way, they get a feel of the town, where the shopping is, where day care may be, where the parks and things are. In this way, they can make a better decision if our area is one they would be comfortable in for the next four years.

    Have we ever dropped an interviewee down a few pegs for the way the spouse acted at the dinner? Yes. I can count the number of applicants this has affected on the fingers of one hand. If your spouse is a complete donkey, then leave them at home. In all three instances, the spouse drank way too much and became obnoxious to their other half. and loud. and rude to the host. So yes, they dropped down a few ranks.

    So, just use common sense. Behave appropriately, and all should be well.
    DermViser likes this.
  10. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    ^^^THIS. All the more reason to keep the spouse at home for this very reason.
  11. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I agree.

    I think it takes a rare spouse who can navigate these dinners effectively.

    I've also seen the "well, we really liked her husband..." conversations happen a few times.

    And the drunk spouse once or twice which is never good.
    Winged Scapula likes this.
  12. dabeags

    dabeags 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2014
    Hmm some interesting responses, I appreciate the input.

    Can't say it ever crossed my mind that the possibility of the residents liking me could be bad for her, in fact, I had assumed the opposite. I'll have to tone it down a bit then because I am quite likeable.

    Most disappointing would be the lack of residents SOs at the events, I had hoped to befriend them over a beer and get the real inside scoop on the program, and allow my wife to work the room with the residents themselves. We are after all evaluating these programs as much as they are evaluating her.

    She has a few more interviews before the ones I am planning to attend so we'll see how how those goes and reevaluate if need be.
  13. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Delayed response...but when I was interviewing I found that when it comes to the resident's SOs at these dinners, one of three things happens:
    1. They don't come
    2. They come, and stick to their resident spouse like glue
    3. They come, and stick to their own wives'/husband's club, with no interest in entertaining or talking to any of the applicants (i.e. they want a free dinner and a chance to hang out with each other).

    I guess in the case of #3 you could try to break into the club, but I'm not sure how welcoming you'd find them...
  14. jakeislove

    jakeislove MS IV 2+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    Upstate, New York
    Love is blind, LOL!

    Traits we've learned to love in our spouses/SOs are generally perceived differently by outsiders.

    ^ The same can be said for our children. :)

    I'm not saying anyone's spouse/SO stinks, LOL! Simply saying that their being nervous, tired, have a headache, etc... may be perceived as awkward, crabby, and high maintenance.
    Winged Scapula and southernIM like this.
  15. dabeags

    dabeags 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2014
    Went to my first dinner last night. Twas a good time, pretty much like most other medical type gatherings I have been too, certainly wasn't awkward at all for me. I scoped out the non medical group of people (conveniently located at the bar) and hung with them most of the night having beers and talking about whatever. Chatted with a few residents about random things here and there but basically just hung out and got to know people.

    One of the spouses I talked to said he went to just about every interview and never had a problem which seems reasonable as he was a good guy. Now just need to decide if it is worth the money to go to some other ones.
  16. ThoracicGuy

    ThoracicGuy Physician 2+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2013
    I personally wouldn't go to any that did not have a spousal invitation included. You don't want your wife to be considered that weird applicant that had to bring their husband to every event. You don't want to be the only spouse there...
  17. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I, on the other hand, got cornered by a spouse at our last interview dinner during cocktail hour. I wouldn't have minded that much, except they were truly just peppering me with minute questions about the program (parking options, insurance plans for spouses, call schedule, etc) - and I really couldn't politely get away for like a solid half hour.

    So as a result I barely got to meet any of our actual applicants.

    Except he doesn't have access to the information needed to determine if there ever was a problem.
  18. dabeags

    dabeags 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2014
    Sure I suppose, but I meant he never said it was awkward or he felt out of place or like he was doing any harm. He seemed to be a likeable socially adept guy so I would guess if he behaved at the dinners as he did last night, a negative impression of him would say more about the program and their residents then it would of him.
  19. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I think you miss the point. Doesn't matter if HE thought it awkward or if HE felt out if place -- the residents are the ones who need to feel like it went well. They are the ones with input here so everything has to be seen from their perspective, not the spouses. I'm sure the spouse that cornered SouthernIM thought things went well, but clearly from the residents perspective we know they didn't. And as mentioned, if the residents in their recap of the night agreed that spouse X was a "likable socially adept guy", but then continued "too bad HE wasn't the applicant", then damage has been done -- your spouse can be that frame of reference you didn't need -- you end up not having to outshine the other applicants but your own spouse too. (I've seen this happen more then once).
    ThoracicGuy and Winged Scapula like this.
  20. Dral

    Dral Physician PhD 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Spouse scratches their nose. Resident sees it out of corner of their eye. At meeting after dinner "Eww, did you see that one applicant's husband pick his nose?"

    It could play out that way. Residents bringing spouses is just kinda weird imo. They are not the ones who will be residents. It makes me think 'clingy couple' which translates into the prospective applicant spending most of their time with SO and not being as social at social events. Not saying that's how it is, but just an impression it could convey.

    Rarely will help, more often hurt.
  21. mvenus929

    mvenus929 Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Just to add another voice to the pool...

    As an applicant, there were dinners where spouses showed up and it was a nice turn of conversation talking to them. At my program, though, our preinterview dinner is a sit down q&a with the residents. I have never seen a spouse at one, and one showing up would be weird. The exception will be next week when the wife of one of our current residents interviews at the program... He has signed up to go to that dinner, and jokes that he's not sure if he'll play the part of the spouse quizzing the residents or a resident talking about the program.

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