I’ve had a great summer spending more time with my wife and kids. Uncertainty is poking its little head in like crazy. My children are 6 months, 5 yrs., and 6 yrs. I’m 32 and will not be finished with undergrad pre-med until I’m 34 or possibly 35 depending on the number of classes I’m able to take while working over the next couple of years. My interest is in OB, ER, and Radiology. I’m seriously considering just broadening my scope as a rad tech to a more specialized field like interventional or MRI and not pursuing med school. The motivation behind this is of course to have more time with the fam. But, after each day of work and throughout the workday I find myself thinking about how satisfied I would be to be in the shoes of a physician. Need someone to tell me that I will not miss out on too much with my children if I continue to pursue medicine. Help me please!!!
I am not in medical school yet, but I think I can safely advise you that, undoubtedly, you will miss some time with your family.
I have been married for almost 17 years. I was in the US Army for 5 years. At one point, I was stationed away from my family for a year. I can honestly say it was one of the loneliest times of my life. Unfortunately, it was a necessary part of my career.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I certainly missed my family, but I had an amazing experience. I was stationed in Panama and was fortunate to observe some native cultures and work with some pretty spectacular people.
No one can tell you whether or not it will be worth spending time away from your family. It’s such a subjective experience. Your family dynamic is possibly distinctly different than mine or any other OPM member.
Something made you want to choose to become a physician. Is it enough to carry you through medical school and residency? Does your family support you? If so, buckle up and enjoy the ride. If not, the ride will be much bumpier.
First thing you need to do is relax. Take a deep breath and exhale. Good.
I started medical school with 3 kids and ended with 4 so I am talking from experience. If you actually look at the forum from this year’s conference you will see my slide show and I actually touch upon this very subject.
In a nutshell, you will miss some things but if you are careful and anal about your schedule you will not miss much. What do I mean? Well, if you set a schedule, say Mon-Fri study from 6p-9p then you have the weekend off, you have plenty of time for family. If there are things that come up during the week then you have the choice to either miss it, or sacrifice a weekend day. Let me give you an example.
My schedule was as follows:
Sun 1p-?? Study on Campus.
Mon-Thurs. 5:30-7pm family dinner.
7pm-9pm study at the library.
9pm-?? study at home.
Fri 5:30-Sunday 1pm: family time.
Were there times that I took extra time during the week for something? of course. Life does not stop. But I also added to my study time. I missed family gatherings, my wife went to them and brought me back some food or cake, but it was expected and understood. And if the person did not understand then oh well.
With my kids, I started special time with each one. We would go to the mall and walk around or we would go to the diner for some coffee and warm milk. It was about an hour but they did not care because I was 100% theirs and we talked about anything they wanted. At times, we did not even talk. She would just color and show me her progress.
IT is doable, hard but doable.
There are two quotes that I think are appropriate to this question
“what are you willing to give up” Wally Newkirk (at 50 years old, sold his house, move to Caribbean, and went to school. Is now medical director of VA clinic in eastern Washington State
“You can have anything you want, but you canâ€™t have everything you want.” unknown attribution.
Thanks for the feedback. This is something that has been on my mind since considering med school. I have the full support of my wife. She’s very supportive with me pursuing medicine. My little girls are as well, although they have no idea of the long road ahead.
I helped coach their tee-ball team back in the spring and what I thought was going to be an absolute headache turned out to be a great time. I also take them to jiu-jitsu practice twice a week and they have a great time with me at the gym. Maybe I’ll be able to find time for these types of things if I can stick to a schedule similar to what you laid out gabelerman.
Did you relocate for residency or med school gabelerman? That’s another concern of mine. I would definitely be willing to relocate, but I would rather it be a one time move and be settled.
relocated for school, not residency. boss said we are only moving once
- RT2MD Said:
How many times would you have to move is something that really depends on what kind of time frame you're specifically referring to.
If you're thinking of some kind of support position (aka, a tech), then there's only two times you would have to move: to the program you get into, and then to where you take your job.
If you're doing medical school, there are more times you may have to move:
-getting to the school where you're doing your pre-req work
-getting to the MD/DO school you get into
-to the hospital where you're doing internship/residency
-any moves thereafter for jobs you accept
Of course, I'm not saying you WILL make all those moves. I'm a grad student in Philadelphia. Theoretically, the options exist in Philly that I could do all the steps of my career listed above without ever leaving the city limits. However, this assumes that I get accepted to a program in Philly for ALL of the subsequent steps (which is far from guaranteed, especially for an applicant whose metrics are less than stellar).
If you're determined to move once and only once, then consider moving now to a major metropolitan area that has lots and lots of academic medicine programs covering the entire spectrum of medical training and start the process. If you're going to limit how many doors are in front of you by virtue of proximity, then it makes sense to me to live somewhere with as many doors as possible nearby. More doors means more chances one will open. In my part of the country, Philadelphia and Boston immediately come to mind. I'm sure there are more cities elsewhere if you start searching. Pick up a copy of the MSAR (available online from AMCAS, for a fee) and start perusing. See what cities have a lot of medical programs, and see if they're based at large academic medical centers (implying non-MD/DO options as well). If you keep getting hits for certain cities, run a google search for that city and medical profession programs and see what pops up.
I have done some minor research into this. I’ve noticed that California seems to be bombarded with large programs. We did live in Northern California for a couple of years where my wife has family. The programs there seem to have more positions for residency as well.
I’m not trying to lighten my work in research, but all of you seem to have researched this in more depth than I have to this point. So, that being said I have another question. It seems to me from what I’ve gathered that it would be my best bet to finish undergrad here in Georgia and apply for med school in a place like California or possibly Florida. We would all like to be closer to the coast and these states have plenty to choose from in terms of residency programs. Does this make sense to you guys?
- gabelerman Said:
What he said, LOL!!!
I actually think that with some careful planning, it's possible to ONLY move once.
- RT2MD Said:
Interesting you're thinking of moving away from Georgia, when we're seriously considering moving to Georgia for the reasons you plan to leave.
IMHO, Cali isn't as realistic a choice as either Texas or Florida, with ease of admittance to a school/schools from all 3 "tiers", cost of living, and residency options being at the top of why I'd relocate to another area with med school in mind.
I gather from your name that you are planning on a career in pathology. Are you looking to go into forensic pathology? I shadowed for a day at the medical examiners office in Atlanta. It’s actually the GBI crime lab and it was very interesting. I originally had an interest in that field. After my day over there in the morgue I wasn’t quite as eager to pursue forensic pathology as my chosen career path. Way too many cut and dry cases throughout the day. A whole lot of prescription drug overdoses is mostly what I experienced and that seemed to be the norm from what I was told by several of the doctors. I can still say that I find the field to be very interesting regardless of this.
I recommend against Cali as well. The competition is stiff for med school seats there. Even though there are a lot of schools, the number of seats per applicant is less than in a lot of other areas. I went to med school in Ohio and we had tons of applicants from California whose only reason for applying in Ohio was because there was a better chance of getting accepted to a school there than in a lot of other places.
- RT2MD Said:
Not if it means applying to med school in California if you are not a California resident or a resident of a WICHE state. The public (University of CA) schools won't consider an OOS student unless they are from a WICHE (Western, underserved) state. It sounds like someone's giving you bad advice.
All allopathic med school deans in the US & Canada are members of the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and, because I'm on the Dean's Student Advisory Council at my school, I often get a behind the scenes look into trends in medical education. It has been a long-running joke among the AAMC that CA is the # 1 exporter of medical students, and it has that reputation for a reason. It is one of the few states whose residents have the toughest time getting into their own state's medical schools. Even Western University-COMP (the only DO program in southern CA) is incredibly competitive.
Your odds are pretty slim for admission to Florida schools as well if you are not a FL resident. Even the private schools in FL are partially subsidized by the state so there is a strong bias in favor of FL residents over OOS applicants at all FL schools.
I recommend applying as broadly (as far & wide) as possible.
- TicDocDoh Said:
I recommend applying as broadly (as far & wide) as possible.
I forgot to mention that caveat of being a Florida resident which last time I checked, wasn't that difficult to get if you worked full-time there for at least a year and did all those other things they like to see like get a Florida DL, ect.
That said, with numerous and reasonably non competitive med schools to choose from (both MD and DO), it sounds like a good idea to me.
I know you mentioned wanting to live closer to “the coast,” but have you considered the Mercer Savannah campus?
Mercer only accepts GA residents. MCG only accepts a tiny fraction of out-of-state folks and MCG now has a satellite campus in Athens as well (granted not too close to the coast). With both of these schools increasing their class size and accepting primarily GA residents, it seems like a pretty good time to be applying to school here in my opinion!
- Guitardan77 Said:
I didn't know they had a Savannah campus and I LOVE Savannah! My Mom also retired to GA about 7 years ago, though I'd still have to establish my own GA residency too!!
Thanks for the info!
Both Mercer and MCG have clinical campuses in Savannah. Pre-clinical years are done at the home campuses (Macon and Augusta respectively). Clinical rotations are done at area hospitals in Savannah. Additionally, MCG offers southeast campus students rotations in Brunswick and Statesboro. The mission of both schools is to educate and keep physicians in-state, and as Dan pointed out preference is given to residents. I’m on faculty at MCG, happy to give more details if you want to PM me.
MCG and Mercer have both been schools I’ve looked into casually. I like the idea of Savannah. That’s an option I would definitely consider. Do any of you know anything about the University of South Alabama? The gulf coast of South Alabama is an area we really enjoy. The university hospital is a level 1 trauma center and you also have a couple of large hospitals in nearby Pensacola.
I guess I should keep in mind that even if I’m excepted into a medical school in a coastal area that doesn’t mean I’ll be guaranteed a spot in residency at the same facility. Regardless of all this the main goal is to get into med school and become a physician. Maybe I’ll get lucky and all else will fall into place…
USACOM is a smaller school, about 75 students accepted annually. I know they give preference to AL residents, but I’ve heard they’re more open to non-residents than the GA allopathic schools. As for post-graduate training, depends on what you want to do, but I don’t think it’s any huge secret that program directors want to keep home grown residents. If you do well academically and make a good impression on your clerkships, you will likely be recruited to stay on for post-grad.