Work Load?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by ninja250nate, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. ninja250nate

    ninja250nate New Member

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    My wife to be will be probably going into the medical field.

    Tell me, how much time is medical school going to take up?

    Should I prepare for 4 years of rarely seeing her, and having her always be too tired to spend time with me or enjoy ourselves?

    Or, should I prepare for 3-6 days a week of her working hard, and 1-2 days a week she can relax, and spend some time with me?

    I'm just trying to get an idea of how much of a burden this will be on her, me, and our relationship. I want to know what I can/should expect.

    I understand certain times may be worse than others, but, overall, what can I expect?

    For those of you who maintain relationships and/or marriages while in med school, how is school affecting that?

    ----Future Husband of a Medical Examiner,
    ---Nate
     
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  3. shorrin

    shorrin the ninth doctor

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    Nate,

    As a current M1 at the univ of illinois at chicago I can only give you my perspective. Please take what I say with a HUGE grain of salt as this is only MY experience.

    I'm not married but I can tell you that I have seen my S.O. about once a week, which we both like. Your luckier in that you'll able to see her more but mostly perhaps while she's reading her books... or asleep on them ;).

    The first year is incredibly stressfull at my school and most other students I know involved in a relationship did great until about week 4 or 5 when the non-medstudent partner started to express grievances.

    It's all SO personal though and depends too much on the two of you for these generalities to help you much.

    I'll just say this. She'll be stressed, because of school and because she wants to spend time with you. Keep an open dialogue going between you both. Don't let things build up until you are unhappy. Try and work out ways to max the most out of the time you have together. If she likes to study at a coffee shop take a book and go with her. Things will definately be different and no one will be able to guess how it will be different for you both. There will be ups and downs, so just try to roll with them.

    Remember to be supportive, but don't be a doormat either. You are still important but realize that this is an investment you are BOTH making even if only one of you is doing it.
     
  4. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Although med school can be time consuming, most people I know that were in relationships were able to maintain them and spend adequate time with their significant other. I just wanted to prepare you, however, for the fact that the 4 years of medical schhool are actually much less time consuming for the most part than the 3-7 years of residency afterwards (depedending on the specialty). It still possible to have a healthy relationship during residency but I just want to make sure you are aware of this fact.
     
  5. paean

    paean Senior Member

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    It depends a lot on the school she attends. Right now I have less time for my partner than in the past (although more than when I was studying for the MCAT), but we still have dinner together a few times a week, and so far I have been able to take one day off each weekend, and sometimes the whole weekend (Friday isn't weekend for me, or if it is, then Sunday isn't, so we're talking about 2 days, not 2.5 or 3).

    I hear that it's helpful if the non-med student partner uses these years to develop their own interests. Assuming that you will be working a 40/hr a week job, and she will be doing a 40-100 hr a week thing, plan to develop outside interests. Join an adult sports league, take art classes, start working on a master's degree part-time, join a book club. Notice that all of these are structured activities. I think that doing something that demands your attention at specific times, rather than just deciding that you will work on your model train collection or read all the Penguin Classics, helps balance the relationship. If would be nice if you can plan your schedules together, and if her's isn't flexible, try to sign up for activities when she will need to be occupied. That way you are more likely to see each other.

    Another thing that helps is to plan time (put it in her Palm Pilot, and make it non-negotiable) every week for you to be a couple. Some make it a regular thing like go out to dinner every Wednesday night, or set aside every Sunday morning/afternoon for brunch and a matinee. My partner and I usually make plans about a week in advance, and have started to go on dates, which is a nice change from the settled couple habits we've fallen into in the 4 years we've lived together.

    This is somewhat obvious, but good communication about what you want and expect is really important. When my partner and I are busy, sometimes we forget to communicate, and things happen like they did for this weekend. I thought we were going to spend some together time on Friday night, but he made plans otherwise, thinking that we were planning on Saturday. Saturday, I made plans with some friends, because I thought he would be busy with the plans he actually made for Friday. So now he is going to join me and my friends on Saturday, but it's not quite what either of us wanted. Sunday was the only day we made similar assumptions about (study time). Usually we're better than this, but poor communication happens when we make assumptions. More dire than messing up plans for our date this weekend, however, is if you don't address issues about how you feel, and she feels, as you transition into medical school.

    As to the previous poster, at USCF, we've been in school longer than 5 weeks, and I don't know of anyone having problems in their relationship because if it. So it's not inevitable.

    Also, don't forget to check the partners and spouses forum for lots of good advice and support.
     
  6. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    The first 2 years of medical school are not the problem. Years 3-4 will be the clinical years, and she'll get a taste of what it will be like as a resident. Depending on the clinical rotation, you may not see her very much.

    The years you need to worry about are during residency. Residency can take 3-7 years depending on the speciality and will be VERY time consuming. Although I'm in a less time intensive field (~60 hour work weeks), my wife struggles greatly with the time constraints we must deal with. The average resident in internal medicine and surgery will devote 80+ hours per work while in the inpatient months.

    This is a vague answer, but there are so many variables. The time constraints will greatly depend on her speciality and where she matches for residency.
     
  7. vietcongs

    vietcongs Senior Member

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    I'm a MS II, I was married right before starting med school. Being married and in med school can be difficult. There have been many nights where my husband has had to sleep alone while I'm up studying all night. It has put some stress on our marriage at times, but we try to spend some time together everyday. We eat dinner together every night and go to the gym to work out 3-4 times a week, and we go dancing at least once a week. So you wont go days without seeing your wife. But you have to make time for each other (very important).

    You wife will be stressed most of the time, and my advice to you is DONT expect her to have dinner ready every night when you come home from work, DONT expect her to have the place cleaned and organized at all times, DONT expect your laundry cleaned and clothes ironed, etc...because it WONT happen. She'll get to it when she has a break, but for you to have such expectations is unreasonable. Youre going to have to find something to do with your extra time when she's studying. I agree with the other poster who advised taking extra classes or picking up a hobby (such as cleaning, dishes and laundry would be nice). One thing that peeves me about my husband is that he thinks if I have no class scheduled, I'm not doing anything and I could be running errands and cleaning..and doing housewife sorts of things. I also have to study 4+ hrs a day, and more before exams. Be very lenient on what you expect of her.

    Overall, just be nice to her and dont expect too much . Try not to come home from work stressed because when you get two stressed ppl together, there's going to be an explosion! Have fun with her and make sure that she's getting everything that she needs-love, attention, food, exercise, fun. Nice surprises are also a good stress reliever (flowers, jewelry, new cars-- :) ! Take her shopping and buy her some new shoes if shes in a bad mood, that'll make any bad day better.

    Spouses can make the medschool experience much easier if they are supportive and caring. They can also make life very stressful and miserable if they are too demanding. My husband does a little of both. Try to keep your wife happy, it will keep her focused and improve her performance in school, it'll also keep the tension in your relationship down.
     
  8. MAWille

    MAWille New Member

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    I'm an MSII, have a significant other, and we're able to see each other every day for at least a couple of hours. You can do anything in medical school -- it's all about time management. We've never encountered a problem due to school.
     
  9. shag

    shag Supreme Procrastinator

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    From the medical student perspective, being married is the best and worst thing about medical school.

    It is the best, b/c you have a built in support network. Spouses also help with things that you just don't have time for as a medical student (bank deposits, cleaning, etc)

    It is the worst b/c you are so busy that you can't always devote the time to your s.o. that she/he deserves. Also, an arguement with my wife is MUCH more stressful than any systemic path test I survived :).

    I made time for my wife every day, even if it was just stopping by our apartment for a hug while traveling b/t the library and coffee house I studied at. Sometimes, time with loved ones is extremely restricted. For example, I'm currently a MS-III on a forced away rotation at a branch campus 2 hrs away from home. I am physically at the hospital or clinic 90 - 110 hrs/wk depending on how the call schedule falls, and am expected to read (i.e. study) during my "free time". This makes finding time to visit/talk to my wife difficult. Admittedly, this is harder on her than me because I'm usually so overwhelmed with work that I don't have time to ponder missing her. She works 40 hrs/wk, and has every evening off to sit alone in our apartment and be bored. Occasionally we argue because I don't have time to talk in the afternoon. I also need any off day I have to put together the 5 lectures/wk I 'm expected to give, which makes driving home almost impossible.

    The point of that b1tching session above is that you should make sure you know ahead of time what you (and your significant other) are getting into. Please be supportive, even when your wife is stressed out and not her usual loving self... Also, if you do need to talk about things that may lead to an arguement, it would be thoughtful not to bring it up on the day before a test. She'll be stressed enough without the adding the stress an arguement causes.
     
  10. Hercules

    Hercules Son of Zeus

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    As yet another married med student, I would like to say ditto to everything shag said especially the part I quoted. No matter how important the issue may seem at the time, I can almost guarantee it will not be worth bringing it up on either the day before or day of a test.
     
  11. I agree with what most of vietcongs posted... If you are willing to help your wife out with some things around the house so that she doesn't feel overwhelmed; she will really appreciate that. I'm not married, but that's been a source of tension between my parents (dad a workahollic scientist, mom a retired librarian with 2 MA degrees who maintains and keeps the house/apt) for years. I also agree that the first 2 years are not horrible and that if the two of you can work together to organize your time so that she is not staying up studying every night it should be manageable.

    I think another important thing for couples of all types (having been in a few relationships myself and observing those around me) is to understand that your partner is going to need some friends other than you during med school, possibly friends/study buddies of the opposite sex. Please don't see these people as threats to your relationship (unless you can tell that they are not nice to your partner or have definite evidence that an MOS is clearly hitting on or sexually harrassing your sig. other); everyone needs to bond with their classmates and co-workers a little and commiserate. One guy in my class is in an LDR with his girlfriend in another state; when she graduated college after his first year of med school she got a job as a teacher in her home state even though the teaching jobs available in Massachusetts are great and her home state is having money problems. Rumor has it that she will not "allow" him to talk to any females at school except to ask academically relevant questions. Because he only gets to see her a few days a month and thus has very infrequent sex, he pretty much hangs out around his apartment watching porn (apparently he has a large porno video collection that is kept secret from the gf) and studying all by himself. Although I have no objection to guys watching a bit of porn on their own time, this does not seem like a healthy relationship to me...well good luck to you and your wife.
     

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