Balancing Family Life with Premed and Medical School

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Session 99

Balancing Family Life with Premed and Medical School In today’s episode, we talk about juggling family life and being a physician. Being new in the parenting game while working as physicians, my wife Allison and I share our thoughts, struggles, and experiences in each phase of our medical paths.

Can you maintain a good family life in premed, medical school, residency, and beyond? Yes, it’s doable. It all boils down to doing the things you love, choosing the lifestyle style you want, and finding that balance between family and school/career to make it all work out.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

Allison’s Premed Path

  • Starting college at 17 years old in Canada
  • How Canada has a different culture especially in Montreal
  • Dealing with a rigorous environment at McGill University
  • Studying all weekend to prepare for medical school
  • Family life = none
  • Lack of balance with so many science courses
It's easy to lack balance as a premed because you're loading up science classes that tend to be more demanding.Click To Tweet

Ryan’s Premed Path

  • Went to the University of Florida (a party school with a good academic environment, too)
  • Priorities in college and focusing on what’s important
  • Appreciating the hours you have in a day and maximizing them
  • A good resource for setting priorities in your life: Getting Things Done by David Allen
  • Looking carefully at what your degree program is going to be like

Having a Family During Medical School

  • How medical school is a beast
  • Not impossible to have children and be a medical student
  • The common theme from premed through residency: you need support
  • Studying for so many hours vs. spending time with your baby and children
  • The challenges when you’re in your clinical rotations
  • The third year of medical school as the most challenging year, not having the luxury of time
  • Fourth year as a big time to consider marriage or having a baby
  • Gaps and breaks when you can have more time with your family
  • Having a family while being a medical student is doable, but be prepared. Plan ahead of time.
The fourth year of medical school is one of the points in this path when you can consider marriage or having a baby a little more easily.Click To Tweet

[Related episode: How to Protect Your Relationships as a Premed and Med Student.]

Having a Family During Residency

  • How residency is an even bigger beast than medical school
  • Why it was the most insane time in Allison’s life
  • Things in residency that you’re going to be deprived of
  • The importance of residency
  • 80-hour work weeks in residency
  • Factoring in the time you spend for eating, showering, sleeping, etc.
  • Factoring in the administrative things you need to deal with
  • Dealing with all your commitments
  • The changes in responsibility from being a medical student to being a resident or intern
  • Having a family at this stage is doable, but you need support
Having a family in residency is doable, but you need support.Click To Tweet

How Specialty Choice Affects Family Time

  • Some specialties require a bit less of your time.
  • Think about the lifestyle you want to have.
  • Specialties reported as having the highest scales of happiness at home and work according to the Physician Lifestyle Report by Medscape
  • Some specialties don’t require taking as much call.
  • Plan ahead about your choice of specialty.
    • Listen to the Specialty Stories podcast for interviews with physicians in many specialties and practice settings. Hear about what work-life balance is like for them.
Think about the lifestyle you want to have, and think about how that fits into different medical specialties.Click To Tweet

Advice for Premeds with a Family or Looking to Start One

Plan, plan, plan. Figure out what you’re going to do and how you’re going to make this work. Who are the people who will be your support system at every stage?

There are challenges and big time commitments in every single phase of the path to being a physician. It can be difficult at times to balance those with being a family. But if you love what you’re doing, you’ll keep evolving with your career, you’ll keep evolving with your family, and you’ll find ways to make everything work. You’ll find ways to give it your all when you’re at work and then be able to give it your all when you’re at home with your family, too.

You'll find ways to give it your all when you're at work and then be able to give it your all when you're at home with your family, too.Click To Tweet

Links and Other Resources