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Lives of Doctor Wives: Fellowship question

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fellowship question

I was hoping to get the advice of some of you experienced in fellowships. My husband wants to do a fellowship, but I have my concerns. Well, one concern actually, my kids. We were only in MI for 2 years when we moved again to Philly. The first year was really tough on my kids, starting over, making new friends. My son still talks about his MI friends. I just really don't like the idea of moving my kids to a new location for one year. They will be 10, 9 and 6 when we move. And then we'd be moving again soon after. I just worry about them. My husband says kids are resilient and can handle the disruption, but I can't get that ugh feeling out of the pit of my stomach. That first year broke my heart with my son trying to make friends. Now he has some wonderful friends, but it was a rough year. I told Brad to either pick a fellowship where we are already living or plan on staying where he gets one, but that is obviously not completely in his control. Thoughts?



Blogger Christy said...

I told my husband to finish training now, because I don't want to deal with a resident/fellow salary later in life! ;)

Seriously though, when I married my husband, I knew that we would be moving around for training. Our daughter is now 5 years old, and though I would prefer to stay put for a bit, I understand that it may not be possible. Kids ARE resilient, but it is still hard. And I really WOULD rather he get finished with training first so we can stay put after he gets on staff somewhere.

Just my 2cents.

December 9, 2010 at 6:06 PM  
OpenID alongkindoflove said...

A year and a half from now I am going to be moving across country with the kids... well actually, I am in Canada and we will be moving to the US for a year. AND THEN, moving back to Canada.
I *might* homeschool for this year that we are in the US, only because of the different curriculum and such, but I know how you are feeling about the adjustment. And having to move. And all the in's and out's of that.

I agree, the kids are resilient. It's still stressful, (not including the stress of the fellowship grrrr... lol) but they will be okay!

December 9, 2010 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Coming from someone who has been through residency and TWO fellowships, the moving is rough, especially if the fellowship is through the match. If it is outside the match, then you may have more options in terms of location. What I would do is scope out the job possibilities in each geographic region that he is considering fellowship in and start talking to the groups NOW so that you have an idea of the market.

If he's considering applying for fellowship, is he looking to start July 2012?

December 9, 2010 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

I wouldn't mind moving nearly as much if my kids were younger. I wouldn't mind it at all actually. Well, except that packing sucks. haha! But they are really getting to that age where they establish friendships that affect them. Maybe if we left for a year and came back? I wouldn't mind that nearly as much because they could pick up their same friends. And they could have letter buddies. That would be fun. But the idea of making new friends for a year and then making new friends again in a year, I really don't like it.

Yes, Wendy, he is a PGY4 looking at a 2012 fellowship. Head and neck oncology or microvascular something or other. Know of any good ones? :o)

December 9, 2010 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I just looked. I can't believe there are only 26 fellowship programs in North America!

From my poking around, it seems like the fellowship track is more geared towards someone who is looking to go into academics. There is a lot of emphasis placed on research. Is your DrH doing any independent research?

You're in Philly, right? UPenn has a program as does Pitt...

December 9, 2010 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger Cheri said...

As an elementary school teacher, I know it is very hard on kids to move multiple times. They talk about it even into their college years. Your kids are young and could handle a move but prepare them early. Another thing to consider is what your husband's schedule will be like post fellowship. Will it allow more or less time with the kids? It may be a means to an end.

December 10, 2010 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...


Yes, Cheri, I'm stilling talking (ie, whining!) about my parents moving me in and out of 6 schools during my elementary years.

Are kids really resilient? Maybe physically, but I don't know about emotionally.

I guess you do what you have to do and hope they turn out okay.

It wouldn't be nearly as bad if you move somewhere interesting or cultural.

You could spend the year cramming in museums and sight-seeing.

Perhaps staying busy might reduce the pressure to make friends that you will only have to rip them away from in a short time.

If you end up somewhere super dull you could toss them into sports activities, scouts, and music lessons for the year. Sports teams are an automatic circle of friends that naturally dissipate at the end of the season.

A year of piano or guitar lessons to keep them occupied may ignite a life love of music. And since they don't know anyone, they'll have plenty of time to practice.

Obviously my husband is also contemplating a fellowship and I have thought this through a lot!

December 10, 2010 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Shana said...

My husband is in his 2nd year of a Critical Care/Pulmonary fellowship. We don't have kids, so I truly can't help there.

The first year of Fellowship was just as intense as residency, but once research started it was a dynamic switch to "normalcy". Weekends off, business hours, conversations that don't have anything to do with patient care. My husband is happy! He sleeps and eats well and that has changed my energy level too. Of course, he is science & academic minded so this is the work he's been craving for years.

If your DrH is going into private practice, then Fellowship may be his only significant "downtime" for years. Good luck!

December 10, 2010 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

You guys are so awesome. Thanks for the ideas. Yes, Wendy, he is looking at U-Penn and Pitt too.

I guess we just wait and see if he gets accepted anywhere and then make decisions when that happens. I'm just not so good at waiting. ;o)

December 10, 2010 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

The cool thing about fellowship match compared to residency match is that you have about a year to post match to move, versus 3 months for residency...

December 11, 2010 at 1:45 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

As a kid my family moved alot, pretty much every 2 years until I was in 5th grade. It was hard but I enjoyed it. However, I was a strange kid who was sad to say goodbye to 1 or 2 friends but excited to move and find more friends. I know it's not like that for most kids. Most kids have groups that they love and hang out with that are like 2nd families and leaving that is really hard for them.

However, kids are adaptable and it won't be the end of the world (it'll just feel like it). I think it would be better at 10 then at 13/14/15.

Also, if he does take a fellowship then explain to the kids that most adults have to do this several times in their lives and they still keep in touch with friends. Get a skype account, tell them they'll have pen pals now and so on. Just because you move doesn't mean they can't remain friends.

No matter what it's hard. However, moving as an adult for residency was much harder than any move I ever made as a child. :-)

December 15, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Palmacho 7 said...

Hi- From my DH's research into Head and Neck cancer fellowships, there are a lot of 2 year programs. Facial Plastics with a microvascular training aspect is usually a 1 year program.

We are in the same boat here. DH will be starting a 1 year fellowship in 2012. We will be moving the kids- ages then will be 4, 8, 11, 11, and my big concern: 16. I don't want to move my daughter for her junior year and then again for her senior, so I'm pushing DH to push for a second year on his fellowship. Right now he's approved for 1 year, but it looks good to add a second.

Anyway, I feel your pain. But what I've done with my kids is to keep them involved in sports. That way when we move they can join a team of some type. We do a lot of swimming. A lot! So hopefully they'll be able to make friends through their sports even before they start school in the new location...

December 16, 2010 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I hear you! My kids are 8, 6, 3, and 1 and my oldest is still sad after 18 months of being here for fellowship. She still talks about her friends back in residency. I homeschooled them the first year we moved which was very difficult to make good friends for them. They are in school now, but it's just been hard for my oldest daughter. My husband is probably going to do a second fellowship (two more years), but only if he can do it where we are now. He realizes it would be too hard on the kids and us to move AGAIN! good luck!

December 18, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

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