Paternity leave is a less common request for residents, but for Kevin Dueck, MD, the time off was invaluable for bonding with his three young children. Dr Dueck, now 33 and a resident in the family medicine program at McMaster University in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, knew early on that he didn’t want to wait until after medical training to start his family.
The first of his three children with his wife, Kim, was born 6 weeks before he started medical school. The second was born in his third year of school. This year, his third child was born in July, when Dr Dueck was supposed to start residency. He decided to arrange paternity leave for more than 6 months, beginning in January, and pushed back his start date until August. His program was very supportive, he said, adding that senior faculty told him, “I wish that had been available when I had young children.”
Dr Dueck says he gets congratulated for taking time off, and he’s uncomfortable with that because women don’t often get the same congratulations. Time off should not be seen as unusual for either sex, he says. The delay put him off cycle, so he will need to find work to fill a 4-month gap after graduation if he wants to pursue fellowship training.
He acknowledges that there has been little time for social activities outside those with family, and he has had to learn to say “no” to some professional projects and meetings. However, he says that’s a small price to pay for quality bonding time, to fully celebrate his children’s birthdays, ride bikes, take family excursions, and spend time at home with his family, before medical responsibilities compete for his attention. “Those are moments you can’t get back,” he says.
He adds that his experience as a young father helps him as a doctor. “Taking leave and having a family has helped with connecting with patients, especially those expecting or with young children. I’ve found having that lived experience to be an asset in clinic,” he said.
Excerpt from Marcia L. Frellick. Taking Leave in Residency: Tips and Traps – Medscape – Dec 08, 2017 [LINK]
Last week I headed back to the world of medicine. The time off passed quickly, especially with packing and moving to a new place in the spring. Was great to be home and spend time with my family. This summer we have enjoyed a few family trips and had some visitors. I may do a longer review at some point of my pat leave, but put simply I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend the time at home.
The first week back was a lot to take in. My home clinic was happy to see me, nice to catch up with the staff. I’m a bit rusty and slow seeing patients, in part because the EMR there was updated recently. On top of that I’m starting my first hospital based rotation and learning their EMR and they way they like things done. Got through the first week and even had a few kind comments from patients.
“After breakfast, we all get dressed, I pack my daughter’s lunch, and the three of us suit up for the trek to the bus stop. March 2 marks one year since CaRMS Match Day, and rather than being on call or spending time in clinic, I’m on paternity leave.”
A reflection on the year since Match Day, priorities, and the decision to take pat leave. LINK
Part of the in-House s/p The Match series of reflections looking back on the year since Match Day.
“Come Match Day there will be many cheers and tears of joy, there will also be private anger and disappointment. This is a stressful time in the lives of medical trainees. Should so much joy and sorrow hang on the pursuit of a specialty?”
A reflection on specialty choice, our privilege to study medicine, and fulfillment drawing on The Way of Chuang Tzu. On The Muse Magazine’s blog: LINK
Balancing my family life and medical training have been challenging the last few years, especially during clinical rotations. We welcomed our third child as I started residency and this fall I began looking into taking parental leave. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. When I first brought it up those in medicine I expected resistance, instead I found strong support from my program, preceptor, and mentors. Everything is set up, all the paperwork submitted, as of today I’m taking 6 months of leave to enjoy with my family.
Thanks everyone that reads the blog and follows on Twitter.
With CaRMS closing soon for CMGs I wanted to wish everyone luck. A few friends from the year below me have asked for some help editing and this reminded me of all the stresses of the application process. A few small things:
Make sure to attach all the documents each school wants. Some want up to 3 reference letters, some accept more. Little details matter, spend the time to upload everything required
Address the prompts for the personal statement
Some schools have different CV requirements, be aware
Attach a nice picture to your application. I took mine infront of a wooden door in a hotel during an elective
Make sure the picture is of you, not a meme
Have a friend or two read over your letters
Interested, but boring was the advice I was given. Don’t try to scare your reader
Soon it will be submitted, the interview invites will hopefully roll in and the next stage will begin.
The #justaFP project from the U of Manitoba Family Medicine Interest Group profiles family practitioners. It is an effort to combat negatives attitudes towards the specialty and choosing to be “just” a family doctor. I was recently profiled and spoke of my journey through medical school along with my choosing Family Medicine and reactions to that choice. Check it and other profiles out: “just” a family physician