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Lives of Doctor Wives: Resident Widows

Friday, June 4, 2010

Resident Widows

My husband's residency program director emailed myself and the other chief's spouses and asked us to participate in a "resident widows" type of forum. He is completely open to whatever format or topics that we think would be most helpful for the other spouses especially for the new interns and their spouses. Three of the four chief's are married and we all have children. One is a stay at home dad, one is a working father, and then there is me (I stayed home the first year, worked the second and most of the third year and now work from home with three small children).

My question to all of you is if you were to participate in a program like this what do you think it is important to know or talk about. Keeping it positive what do you wish someone would have told you when first starting residency? What tips, skills, lessons, etc have you learned? Thanks for your help!


Blogger Cheri said...

I will participate. If the title resident widow is implying...never seeing your spouse, then sure!


June 4, 2010 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Bea said...

That's really awesome that he's coordinating this. This is exactly the type of program I'm advocating residency coordinators should do: low cost, highly effective ways of keeping your employees happy. Anyway, off my soapbox. My advice would be:

- remember that this is just temporary. Yes, it's tough, but it'll go by in a flash.
- if you have time for a vacation, don't just sit at home studying. make time for fun. It's so important to have little things to look forward to
- find a network and keep busy. blogs are great for the network, but if you're all together at the talk, you should start making regularly scheduled get-togethers with those people
-use that network! don't be embarrassed telling others about your hardships. it may be that they have incredible advice because they've been there. It can also be such a relief to know you're not going through something alone or that you're not crazy for feeling a certain way.

I could go on and on, but that's what comes to mind right now!

June 4, 2010 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Kathi the wingspouse said...

How wonderful that you have this opportunity. This offer is an indication that administration recognizes your sacrifice and wants to help.

I would ask...

Do they offer any social events where resident families can meet one another? They may not, but asking the question may get them thinking. A park picnic, pool potluck, Easter egg hunt, or monthly coffee in the doctor's lounge is a wonderful way to make new friends and feel less alone.

Do they have anything in place to keep spouses informed about resident-related functions? Residents are often too busy or tired to tell a spouse about a resident recognition banquet, Christmas party, etc. so having a pointman or email notification system keeps everyone in the know.

Can they introduce you to someone (doctor's wives or community figures) who can act as a resource? I always asked to be introduced to someone who would be able to recommend a painter or plumber, and who knew what community events were coming up. It was usually the CEO's wife, inhouse recruiter, or well-known realtor. They know all the good stuff.

Are there any services/discounts you should be aware of? Some hospitals/practices offer resident families scrub laundry service, or discounts in the cafeteria. They may even offer discounts on massages or gym memberships if they own a physical therapy center.

Are there any groups such as a hospital alliance, and if so what is their purpose? Such groups may be a good way to build a support system as well as stay informed about what's going on with the hospital.

What would they like from you? This is a revealing question because the answer is a pretty good indication of how they view you. They may address what you "shouldn't do" (others have been a problem) or they may encourage you to ask for help whenever you need it (family is a priority). They may mention some specific events where your presence is encouraged (you add value), or they

June 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Beth Hollenbeck said...

1. Become friends with other resident spouses and create a support network quickly with them.

2. Keep expectations low and realistic (about the resident helping, being home, etc). Once I learned this I became stronger and more understanding, versus resentful and angry all of the time.

3. Have your own goals and ambitions. When residency began I was SAHM and now work part-time (I have two children so far) and love having work to focus on outside of the domestic duties. I am now working on starting my own non-profit organization.

4. Seek out down time with your spouse (be creative!) and ENJOY every minute of it. Don't focus on what the next rotation or weeks bring.

What a great idea! I think every program - even med schools - should have a forum similar to this one.

June 4, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Adriana said...

Ladies these are all great ideas!

June 4, 2010 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

I wish someone had said,
"Stacie, don't buy a house." -That would have been super helpful.

"Having a baby during surgery intern year is not a fun idea." -Med school 4th year is perfect.

"It's okay to have a bad attitude sometimes. Too much positivity can be toxic." -You can quote me on that : )

I also would like those powers at hand to consider planning spouse luncheons at McDonald's with a Playland. Yes, that'd work perfect. I am so tired of spouse get togethers at nice restaurants at lunch time. I spend the whole time wrangling my kids while getting dirty looks.

June 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM  

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