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Lives of Doctor Wives: Thinking of all of the MSIV Ladies...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thinking of all of the MSIV Ladies...

My husband is MSIV and going through residency interviews and it is honestly the most stressful process. I get so anxious thinking about Match Day - - worrying on Black Monday we won't match - - and worrying about where we will go, can we afford it, will I have to keep working, what will life really be like in residency...etc. I always thought fourth year would be the best but between away rotations, interviews and step two, it is the most stressful!

Please tell me I'm not the only one worrying!!!

Any advice from the experienced ladies?
Do I put in my two cents when it is time to rank programs, or do I let him decide what programs are best for his career? I think we both have the same #1-3 lineup but we are ortho, so the chances of matching 1-3 is slim to none I fear.

So good luck to all of the other MSIV ladies. I'll be thinking of you!


Blogger The Sugar Scientist said...

I am curious to see what other people will suggest in regards to making suggestions for where he should match, or leaving that decision entirely up to him.

When my husband matched, he ranked completely of his own accord, but within the closest cities to me. He did not care for any of the programs where I am, and I certainly wasn't going to push him to stay if it wasn't his top choice. After all, when I start looking for post-doc positions, I want to pick what will be the best for my career, not my husband trying to decide what is best for me.

I suspect our decision is different than many who read this blog, however. A lot of people seem to approach the match process as a "we" situation, but in my own marriage, it works that we each make the decisions for our own careers, and hopefully at some point in the future we will wind up living in the same place at the same time.

January 7, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
OpenID lifeofadoctorswife said...

Oh the worrying! Definitely you are not the only one - it's a lot of uncertainty to deal with. But you will get through it!

When my husband was interviewing, we talked about our future a lot. We are lucky in that we both have similar feelings about a) location and b) how important a good opportunity is. As in, we would rather he be at a top-ranked program (that he liked) in a location we didn't like than in a lower-ranked program in a location we loved.

So we both discussed our preferences a lot before hand. But when it came time for him to actually rank everything, I kind of stepped back. We'd both made our feelings clear, but in the end, I wanted him to be at the best program he could get into and at a program he felt comfortable with. He matched at our second choice and it has been great.

My father has always had this saying (that often annoys me): "You can hold your breath that long." And I always say that to myself - it's just three years of residency/fellowship/whatever... I can hold my breath that long. It may not be ideal, but it's not permanent. And, in the end, I believe it will benefit both of us.

BUT I will say that we don't have kids AND my job allows us to move anywhere with no issues. So I realize we have the luxury of being flexible that not all people have.

Anyway, good luck to both of you! Hang in there! It will all be over soon enough!

January 7, 2011 at 1:46 PM  
OpenID medcouple said...

Hello I'm a fellow MSIV lady!

I told my hubby I will go anywhere he wants to go. I want him to maximize his chances because when it's my turn to match, I want to go where I can have the best chance at a great career, even if it is not in an ideal location.
I feel that it's important to "go where the money is" and if you have a better job than your husband, it might make sense to stay where you are and put your foot down about locations. I'm not in that position so I'm just going to brush up my coping skills.

I want to avoid any resentment from my husband in the future. I don't want him to think for a second that "if it weren't for me (GASP!) or my strong opinions" he could have had a "better" career, whatever that means.

On the "WE" issue.

Personally I would never say "we" are in medical school/"we" are matching because it is confusing, but I believe it's meant to imply that as a couple, you two are making these decisions together. I guess it's like a man saying "we" are pregnant?

January 7, 2011 at 3:12 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

My husband matched in ortho last year, so I can completely relate to how you're feeling right now. Our situation was complicated by the fact that I'm a doctoral student and we knew that I could not move and join him in another city for several years.

Still, I encouraged my husband to apply to and rank the programs that he felt were best for him, regardless of location. He's been very supportive and understanding of my career (my research requires extensive travel abroad) and I wanted to offer the same support to him. The choice was completely up to him, although I made certain to let him know what locations I preferred. If the situation had been different and I could have moved with him for the entire 5 year residency, I probably would have been more vocal. It's his career, but it's also your life and you should have a say in what kind of community you live in Ortho residencies are long!

In our case, everything worked out well. My husband decided that his home program (different university, but same city as my PhD Program) was the best fit for him, ranked it first, and matched there. We are extremely grateful, but know that we'll have to deal with fellowships, post-docs, and jobs in the coming years.

You are definitely not the only one worrying right now - my anxiety level was very high until Match Day. Best of luck to you and your husband!

January 7, 2011 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Jaidi Clayton said...

I think absolutely you should put your two cents in. For ortho (that is what my hubby is doing) you will spend 5 years in this place. Are you planning on having children or do you have them? You have to live there too. Yes it is important that he gets into the program that is best for him, but lets be honest, it REALLY affects you.

We are PGY1 in Oklahoma City at OU. I lvoe it here and I am so glad we are here. We together set up where we wanted to go. You give some you lose some, but in the end, you both need to be happy with where you are willing to go. The location itself will affect you more than it does him as you will be the one experiencing the location the most. Yes the program and training is important to him, but the location is important to you. Give him your opinions. Yes, the training should be number one, but if you absolutely HATE the location that he wants to be in the most, you will not be happy with the end result. You have to be happy to and in the end, it needs to be a decision among both of you--At least when there is a family--wife and or kids-- involved as well.

In the end, we ranked 11 programs and were perfectly happy with our rank list. We didn't end up at our top choices, but we are where we are meant to be.

My biggest word of advice is seriously---if you are not willing to go to a city and live there, absolutely DO not rank it. Because if you put it on your list, it is very possible that you WILL end up there.

I wrote this blog back in July when we first got started in residency. Hopefully it can give you a few good points...

January 7, 2011 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

So so so so glad I'm done with the residency match. It was so stressful for me!

We went to the residency program that was nationally renowned, rather than stay in the town I was blissfully happy in. I thought I was going to hate living in Philly but I was willing to suck it up because, "I can hold my breath that long" (so cute I have to steal it!) But the truth is, I have loved living here. And I hate to think that I could have put my foot down and said there was no way I would ever live in Philly and have missed out on this amazing opportunity. My advice, don't say no to a place because you think you'll hate the town. How do you know if you haven't been there? I'm from a small town and I'm not a city girl at all, but I've still loved this chance to live in a big city.

I don't know if any of that made sense. But, good luck, and have faith!

January 7, 2011 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Drew said...

We're PGY-1 EM on Long Island. 4th year was a new circle of hell for us. It was busy, suspenseful and filled with stress. Remember to breathe. I remember feeling like I couldn't breathe during match. We ranked according to our preference for getting the hell out of Louisiana and his experience on away rotations and interviews. We ranked all programs he interviewed at, even one in the middle of nowhere that we both hated because honestly, the thought of not matching and having to scramble was horrible. However, our top three were in NY and he got number 3.

Cost of living is something to consider. Especially if you want to have a family during residency. Thanks to the residency salary we will be holding off for another 4 year on the procreation front. Because of where we are it is stressful to live on one income. Our rent alone is one paycheck a month. Not fun. I'm still trying to find employment and not having much luck. Hoping it turns around soon.

4th year was definitely worse than PGY-1 so far. Moving is hard but you get settled and find a new routine. Living with match hanging over your head for a year=hell.

Good luck!

January 7, 2011 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Good luck with everything!! We just went through that whole process last year and it was SO stressful and busy. So glad it's over!

We had many discussions about where we wanted to match. I gave him my opinions, for sure, but in the end I let him make the ultimate decisions about the rank list, because it is HIS training. I didn't have much of an opinion because I'd never been to many of the places, and I knew I could make it work wherever we went. We have two kids and I'm a SAHM, so I wouldn't be job hunting or anything, which made it a lot easier for us.

It was such a hard process, but we got through it and you will too! My husband had to do double-time interviews since he had to match into a transitional/prelim program AND his radiology program. I think he ended up doing about 30 interviews total, and we had to make several different rank lists (the radiology rank list, and then a separate transitional/prelim rank list under each radiology choice. Some of the transitional/prelim rank lists were different, depending on the radiology choice it was listed under. Hope that makes sense.)

It's a stressful time but it will be over soon (even though it doesn't feel like Match Day will ever come! I remember feeling that way, anyway). My husband ended up matching at his #1 choice for radiology, and at his #2 choice for his transitional (TY) year (where we are right now). We'll have to move again in June (to start radiology), which is a huge hassle, but it has been worth it to move twice because the TY program here is very nice (as in, he goes fishing a lot).


January 7, 2011 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger Mrs T #3 said...

Thank you all for your thoughts and advice! We have a baby boy and I just went back to work full time and of course, my husband is out of town constantly for interviews, so I think this added stress is making match day look even more worrisome and gloomy to me!

I just have no idea what programs think of my husband - I think he is great, and his professors and attendings think he is great, but you just never know what these places want. We seem to be very caught up in the order of #1-3 but maybe the reality is that we don't have a shot in the dark at these places, and should focus on the rest of the list!

Thanks ladies. I appreciate the honesty.

January 8, 2011 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I let my DH decide his rank list all on his own. Although he did consult me along the way and we talked about it a lot. But, ultimately I wanted him to choose where he thought he would get the best education. We matched at his #1...which would not have been my #1..and he is so happy and learning so much! It's only for five years I figured. But I have surprisingly loved it in our new location (no where near family) and life is what you make of it! Best of luck!

January 8, 2011 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger Dicey said...

Doctor's wives have to have an incredible amount of self-sacrifice and patience as it is. I vote for throwing in your 2 cents and finding a good compromise. Also, hopefully your husband is compassionate enough to keep your life goals in mind as well as his as he makes his rank list.

January 9, 2011 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Amy's Blog! said...

I am going through SO much stress. Being bf/gf its hard to put in my thoughts cause unlike a lot of people we are not married. I also will graduate with my MBA a day before him and while I am ready for a new opportunity I feel like this is not about me. We have 2 more interviews then I am assuming we will make the list. I am going crazy though, I can see the stress building. Will we stay here another year? Will we move? Will I find a job or will he move alone? With interviews in over 7 states I have no idea. Putting in my 2 cents … I don’t know! I am struggling with this whole 4th year… Bring on March 17th….

January 10, 2011 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Dawkter said...

I didn't want to have any resentment down the road so I was very active in the match process and I'm so glad I was. My DH works long hours so I am grateful that we are at a place where I can be happy. I would suggest being involved because your the one who will be stuck living there while your

January 10, 2011 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Heather Ross said...

My husband is a PGY 1 ortho, and I remember the stress of interviews and Match Day last year.

My hubs matched at his first choice program for ortho. It wasn't the highest ranked or most well known program that he interviewed at, but it was the one where he thought he would be the happiest professionally. So far, he is extrememly happy with his choice of program and doesn't regret choosing a lesser-known hospital over a nationally known one.

We a friend who matched at his 4th choice ortho program. He and his wife were surprised by where they matched (didn't know this program was that interested in him and thought another one they ranked higher really wanted him). Even though they ended up at their 4th, they were excited about the opportunity and adventure that awaited them there.

Two other classmates of my husband matched at their first choices, so it can be done. Just don't stress too much about your top 3 and find reasons to be excited about the other programs on your list. At the end of the day, you just want to be matched some where, and your husband will still be an orthopaedic surgeon no matter where he ends up working.

Good luck!!!

January 10, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

I wasn't all that involved in the ranking process. I figured I could make it through living anywhere for a few years, and I wanted him to be happy.

I wanted him to rank Florida first, and I cried when he matched in TN. Then I loved TN and cried when we left moved to Florida.

I've loved living in FL too so all's well that ends well...

January 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Fiesole said...

My husband has just finished interviews for EM. I've been pretty active in the whole process. I think that's just the kind of relationship we have.

For a joke for Christmas, I put together a ROL Decision Kit that consisted of a magic 8 ball, some decision dice, a pad of paper for pro's and con's, and a penny to flip. I wrote out a set of directions that provided an algorithm for determining his rank order... he thought it was funny. He might even use it for everything but #1, which is decided.

Good luck to everyone participating in the match this year! I hope it goes well for us all.

January 11, 2011 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

My advice would be to be involved. HE lives at the hospital. YOU need to be happy in your geographic locale.

And also, ask your spouse what they would like to do after residency (private practice, academics, pharma). My DrH ranked geography over strength of program. He ranked the top program third and two more geographically desirable location ahead. Well, he matched at his second choice. Yes, it was fun, but when the time came to apply for fellowships, he only got one interview and that was where he was doing his residency. All of his med school classmates that went to the top program got fellowship interviews at Hopkins, NYU, Stanford, UCSF, etc. Needless to say, his ROL really impacted us several years down the line for fellowship opportunities.

January 11, 2011 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Amy, that would be really tough to be in that situation. I'm sure it will all work out the way it should! Good luck!

January 14, 2011 at 6:34 PM  

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