Just wondering about 3rd and 4th year roatations. I'm still 3 years or so away from med school, but my kids will be in school by the that time. Anybody who has kids and doing roataions please respond about how you do it. Do you travel alot? Do you live in dorms or commute? Please give any info.
Keep in mind, every school is different. Some med schools will have all hospital rotations done at their own large university medical center. Others (like mine) spread people out among lots of clinical settings. So experiences vary a LOT. Look at OMD, he is not even AT Kirksville for his 3d and 4th years…
My experience: of course I am living at home, I cannot imagine doing anything else! (not that dorms are an option at GWU)
Month 1, PEDS inpatient: about an hour commute each way, leaving at 6am, getting home at 7pm.
Month 2, PEDS outpatient: an office 5 minutes from my house! (that was 100% luck and really nice)
Month 3, gen’l SURG: 1 hour each way commute only departure time is earlier (4:30am) and arrival time at home later (7:30-8:00pm). Good thing surgery was fun!
Month 4, specialty SURG: 2 weeks at a hospital 20 minutes away, leave 6:30am, home 5:30pm; then for the 3-4th weeks, back to the 1-hour commute but reasonable hours, leave 6am, home 6pm
Month 5, PRIMARY CARE: 2 days at an office nearby, leave 8am, home 6:30pm; 2 days at an office 1 hr away, leave 7am, home 7pm
Still to come: the 1-hour commute again in January and February, with early departure times, and the prospects of a snowy winter, yee-haaaa! Should be fun. (that’ll be my medicine rotation)
During psych, I’ll have one month nearby and one month an hour away, probably a more civilized a.m. alarm
same for OB - one month nearby, one an hour away. Definitely not a civilized schedule.
For simplicity’s sake, I haven’t attempted to describe the call schedule. presume that at least every 4-5 nights, you’ll be leaving home one morning and getting back home the following evening.
The commute I’ve gotten used to it. I have a nice stereo in my car and make sure that I have soothing music to listen to, and I try to just suspend any sense of urgency when I am driving - hey, this is some of the worst traffic in the country here in Washington, getting pissed off about it is not going to do me any good! I am definitely envious of my classmates who live close to school, but they have to drive to some of their clinical rotations too - none of us get to spend the whole year at GWU.
Now, if I had read this when I was contemplating medical school, I probably would’ve been terrified to even try and get there. Please keep in mind that you just manage to figure out ways to do it. Initially it’s a real challenge to figure out the schedule, but after awhile you do get the hang of it and so does your family. You CAN do things like switch call nights with your classmates in order to be around for special family stuff. You should NOT expect to be able to do things like leave early except for very very good reasons which only come up every several months. I had a colleague who was able to miss a good part of clinic one day because his wife was having premature contractions, was on bed rest, couldn’t drive, and needed a follow-up appointment at the OB. He got the time off, absolutely no questions. (He would NOT have asked for time to accompany her to a non-eventful OB visit.) Another classmate got YELLED at for showing up for rounds two days after his son had been born - his resident kicked his butt out and told him to get back home where he belonged! Not every resident will be so family-friendly but a lot of them will be sensitive to it.
I would say that one challenge for my family has been the switching gears from ME being the one who keeps track of school stuff to having my husband take on that role. He has done great, but still forgets things like being reach-able by phone. Our daughter’s school actually has my pager number but I wouldn’t expect them to use it except in an emergency.
The other thing is, the far more predictable schedule of years 1 & 2 is a good break-in time for getting used to doing things differently.
It is really hard to know how you are going to deal with this stuff until you know where you are going to be and how things run at a particular school. Hard as this is to do, my advice for right now is not to think about it, to adopt as your mantra, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” Take each step in turn, and let future worries wait for the future.
Although I'm only a first year and don't have kids I just though I'd throw my opinion in. It certainly depends on the school and how 3rd and 4th year will do. I live two and half blocks from the hospital where I will be doing the vast majority of my 3rd and 4th year in-patient rotations. The other hospital I'll be at (for some of surgery and all Obstetrics) is less than 1 mile away. Same goes for the out-patient rotations…the clinic is less than a mile away. The only time I'll be required to be away from my home is a required rural Family Practice rotation. Of course, I can choose to do elective away rotations at the two other Mayo hospitals (in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida) and Mayo pays for the travel and accomodation for those. Other elective away rotations are on my own dime (but I can also opt to do them all here in Rochester).
If being sure you are at home with the kids is an important factor for you during medical school (as it would be for me) just be sure to research that information before you begin applying so that you can find out at which schools it is possible to live nearby the school, teaching hospitals, and clinics to maximize your time at home with the family.
Many of my friends had kids before medical school or had children during medical school. When third and fouth year came up, they made very complex arrangements. If you are on a rotation that requires overnight call, (Senior Medicine, Senior Surgery, Surgery clerkship, OB-Gyn clerkship), you are going to have to make arrangements for someone to be with your kids overnight. For my classmates, it was a spouse or a relative. Still, it was difficult.
All of the people with families lived off campus. There was limited on-campus housing for singles. As Mary stated above, sometimes a commute can be a good un-winding break where you mind can get off the day and onto the mundane tasks of everyday home life. You can listen to soothing music or practice your stand-up comedy routine. For some of my rotations, I was even able to use the subway and enjoy the morning commuters and their activities.
Your kids will adjust to you being away better than you think. You also need to keep in mind that you will be gone more often and for longer periods of time during internship and residency after medical school. I can literally go for days and not speak to my fiance who lives with me. Since I leave the house at 4am and generally do not get back until after 9pm most nights, I get to watch him sleep and do my home bonding with two beagles.
Medical schools nationwide are accepting more non-traditional medical students who have families. The best ones are trying to make sure that you can provide for your family and attend school at the same time. Still a vast majority of your classmates are going to be single without children. They are not going to cover for you or take up the slack when you have a family emergency if you go to the well too often. In another case, when family emergency took another classmate away, he was the first to offer to take an extra weekend or trade when a single classmate needed a break. Get my drift here?
As Mary said, you make the adjustments as they come. Medicine is a very long term project but once you have made that commitment, you can usually work out the details with a little planning and cooperation. Be willing to be adaptable and be ready to adjust your thinking on what constitutes good family life. You will find that your family will totally enjoy good quality time as opposed to bad quantity time.