A couple months ago over on Instagram, I asked you guys to send over alllll your questions for Joe and I to answer in little Q + A. We were absolutely shocked when a good chunk of the questions were all about our time in medical school and residency! From handling the time being apart, to where we applied, you guys wanted to know all the things. So today we are featuring a little “part 2” q + a with Joe, answering all your medical school and residency questions!
:: Where did you go to Medical School and Residency?
I went to Medical School at University of Louisville in Kentucky. My residency and fellowship were at Loma Linda University in California.
:: Did you go through Medical School with together?
Yes were went through the whole process together from Day 1 because we were married!
:: What made you want to become a doctor?
I am not going to go into this much. What I will say is that I love learning/reading and this is especially true when it comes to how the human body works. The human body is an amazing gift to us. For those who are considering the field, I would say do not go into it for the money. The road is long and difficult and if you don’t enjoy learning you will regret it. There are plenty of other ways to make money. You have to define what success looks like to you. Being a Dr may (and sometimes may not) bring you a good income. But the random on call nights and long hours that you put in are just a few (among many) of the costs that come with it.
It is definitely not a job that is Monday thru Friday with all weekends and holidays off and where you never have to worry about a your job when you are at home. To me it is almost a 24/7 job because it is kind of always on your mind. Success most definitely isn’t just how much money you make. So honestly define it for yourself and see what career puts you closest to that definition, which is different for everybody.
:: Was Anesthesiology your dream job? Why did you choose your specific field?
I wouldn’t say it was my dream job. Before Medical School, I shadowed an anesthesiologist and thought it was a cool job. I honestly enjoyed every rotation as a student except for OBGYN. But it was one of my first clinical rotations in my clinical years so probably a little unfair opinion there. Anyways, I did find that anesthesia and the things you need to know and be able to do as an anesthesiologist interested me a lot and kind of drew me to the specialty.
When it came down to decision time, I was between anesthesiologist and a family medicine doctor. I chose anesthesia because I enjoyed more critical care of patients in the operating room where things can change quickly and dramatically. What I didn’t know when I chose this specialty, was how much I would enjoy the patient interaction. A lot of people are scared and nervous about the operation and rightfully so. So it is so fun for me to help them through that time and to have a good experience that day. As good as can be expected anyways.
:: How did you apply to school/choose which schools? What was the application process like?
At the time the application was one central application that you filled out online. You literally clicked a box next to the schools you wanted to apply to. If after that they wanted more information some of them would have a secondary application. I applied to a lot of schools to increase the likely hood of being accepted somewhere that year. My brother who is a radiologist in Idaho told me to apply to some top rank schools, some lower ranked schools, and a lot of the middle ranged schools. We decided on what areas we would be willing to go to and went from there. I did this in close cooperation with Kailee since it was a high possibility that I would be asking her to move across the country.
:: How did you go about finding doctors to shadow to be able to apply to medical school?
This was easy for me, we had a family friend that was an Anesthesiologist. My mom is a nurse so I am sure she could have helped me find someone as well if needed.
:: How did you survive having a family and going to medical school/residency?
It was very difficult at times. There were week stretches where I wouldn’t see the kids because I left before they woke up and got back after they were in bed. When I get asked this by people I will usually just say I have an awesome wife. Kailee is the only reason we have survived, and I mean that. She has been a huge support and has put up with so much through the years.
:: What is your advice on dating through medical school?
I didn’t date I was married. Always make the effort to just go do something simple with your spouse. Go grocery shopping together, go get a treat at dairy queen. A date doesn’t have to be a huge thing. We both grew up in homes that taught us the value of the family. Having kids was something that we both wanted to do and we knew that from the start even before we were married so we have worked hard to create a good environment for the kids and that similar goal has got us through a lot. Your spouse always come first.
:: For Kailee, was it hard for you to keep everything running smoothly when Joe was in Medical School?
Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. At the time we only had 2 of the little people, and not a lot of things to go and do, so it was just taking care of them during the day. We didn’t have a lot on our plate besides grocery shopping and a few years down the road preschool. Nothing too extreme.
:: How did you survive never seeing him?
Medical school was new to get used to, but not terrible. You still got to see them on the weekends, so like with a lot of jobs I just told myself I had to survive until Friday, and then we would get to see him and have his help. I tried to do all the things during the week, so when the weekend came around we could truly enjoy those 48 hours and not waste them on chores or shopping. Residency is a whole different ball park. The 2nd and 3rd year are pure hell, there is no sugar coating it. You basically do not see them ever, and we had more of the little people so they missed him too.
The best advice I probably ever got in regards to this whole experience was from my sister in law. She told me to plan on him never being there. By that I mean anything from dinner time to a trip to the park, plan on doing it without them. Basically don’t get your hopes up. I think it gave me a more positive experience when we would go and do things because in my head I knew I was on my own. If we got lucky and he got off early and was able to come, we were all extra happy. But I would much rather have the bonus happiness than the disappointment or let down from getting my hopes up. If we knew he had a day off, we would not do anything else but enjoy the time with him. Everything else in life went on hold.
Another thing I can stress enough is to let people in. The other residency wives are the closest people on the planet to knowing exactly what you are going through. They get the long days, and weeks without really having a full conversation with your spouse. A lot of the time there family dynamic is the same as well. You can plan activities to go and do together. We often joked that they were more like sister wives. We would just take our herd of kids along husband free. I can truly say they are some of my very best friends still to this day because we were there for each other through some of the hardest years of our lives.
:: How have you been able to manage medical school debt and your loan repayment?
We planned ahead for what we were getting in to from the get go. We were able to figure out about how much our monthly payments would be on these loans, and then we did our best to see what other expenses would likely be for things like utilities, rent, food, etc. The whole reason was because we really wanted to make sure that we would have enough to save as well as pay off our debt quickly. I had a rough idea of what I would be making, but we planned conservatively in case it was lower than expected. We then overestimated our expenses, so we always had a buffer and were able to cover the needs as well as save.
I think it is important to talk about what you are willing to go in to debt for. For us it pretty much stops at school and home loans, so we take the time to save for any other purchases.
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Hopefully that answers all your medical school + residency questions for us!! If we missed any, please leave them here in the comments or over on Instagram and we will add them to this post!