The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: April 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Time for a Sabbatical...

**Update** I decided to change my test day to June 28th. Since I have my vacation month first, I would rather take the extra time to study, than feel unnecessarily pressed for time and regret it later. 

Yesterday was the last day of lectures for me as an MS2!!! The end of the year is coming and going faster than I anticipated, so inevitably, it's best for me to put everything (except my husband and child) on hold until after Boards. And of course, since social media is a huge part of my life, any excessive time spent with Facebook, Twitter, or this blog needs to be shut down. I may still post some updates sporadically, so please sign up for new posts via email, Google Friend Connect, or follow me on Twitter since the Facebook page will not be updated until after June 28th.

A note to all my prayer warriors: Thank you so much for keeping me uplifted in prayer throughout the year. You don't realize how much that has meant to me and has helped me tremendously. Please, please, PLEASE send up some prayers for my family and I during this challenging time and for my success on this last block, finals, and Boards. Feel free to use my FULL name (Jasmine Danielle Johnson), and phrases like "honors on exams" and "250+ on her Boards" because we need to be specific :-D

As always, thanks for reading! I'll come back with plenty of good things to report and helpful tips for Boards! Ahhh! I can't believe it you guys, I am almost 50% a doctor!!!!
xoxo, 
Ciao!



Photo Credit

Thursday, April 12, 2012

See It. Do It.


I'm so excited to introduce to you today's "See It. Do It." mom! Her interview is a candid and insightful peek into the life of a med student with not one, not two, but THREE children! Can you say "Superwoman"?! Amazing. 



Name: Preethi Schmeidler

Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine

Graduation Year: 2014

Future (or Current) Specialty: Mostly undecided!

How many children do you have and their ages: Three – ages 5, 3, and 1

Did you do any post-undergraduate schooling or working before attending medical school?
After college I had a short but successful career as a banker (not the corrupt kind!).  Once I decided to pursue medicine (again), I took a few courses at a local university (I was pre-med in undergrad and I had already completed most of the prerequisite courses).

Did you have any of your children during medical school? If so, how did you “plan” for it?
Yes – my youngest son was born at the end of my first year – one week before my renal/endocrine final!  I took the test on time, and did not perform as well as usual.  But I managed to pass!

Early in my 2nd trimester, I sat down with one of the Deans, and we looked at the school calendar close to my due date and planned how we would handle various required activities that I would have to miss.  I had already decided that I would take as little time off as possible so that I could finish the school year on time.  When the baby came, I was allowed to make up most of the required activities for the final module on my own time, and managed to have days when I went to campus and made up 2 or 3 labs in the same afternoon.  I podcasted all of the lectures from home while the baby slept.

What kind of childcare do you employ? (i.e. live-in nanny, family help, daycare, babysitters)
My kids all go to a fantastic daycare center that is located very close to my school and my husband’s office.  Before my youngest was able to go to daycare, my husband worked from home whenever I needed to go to campus (about once per week).  After a few weeks, my mom came and lived with us for a couple more weeks, so I could focus a little bit more on school.

Currently, I try to keep all of my school-related activities within those times that my kids are in daycare and keep a consistent evening/weekend routine with the family.  I know this will change once I hit clinicals starting in June, so either my husband or extended family will be able to help pick up the slack.

What has been the biggest challenge to handling medical school (and/or practicing medicine) along with having children? How have you overcome it?
The hardest part is resisting the pressure to let medical school take over my entire life!  Many times it takes conscious effort to play with my kids without flipping through flash cards or watch a movie with my husband without having my laptop open, studying.  As hard as it is, I’ve found that if I do only school during my designated school hours and only family time in the evenings and much of the weekends, I’m more dedicated to and efficient at both.  My family is happier too, and they have an easier time respecting my study time.

Do you feel like your school/job is “flexible” to any family issues that may arise?
For now, yes.  Podcasting allows me a great deal of flexibility.  However, I’m not confident that the clinical years will be very flexible.  I am thankful that I have a dedicated and capable husband that can pick up my slack.  It’s also good to have some extended family nearby.

How do you find time to study in addition to class time?
I study much less than many of my peers.  I’m not at the top of my class, but I’ve become efficient enough with the time that I do spend studying that I’m happy with where my performance stands.  I think that’s important if you decide to take on the commitment of medical school on top of raising a family.  I go to class and study from 8 am until 3:30 or 4.  When the baby goes to bed for the night, I resume studying until I’m ready to go to bed.  My husband puts the older kids to bed when their bedtimes roll around.  On weekends, I only study during naptime and then again in the evening.

Sometimes, when exams are coming up, I get upset that I can’t spend an entire Saturday studying.  But then I remember how blessed I am to have my little built-in distractors, and I get over it pretty quickly.

What is one item/strategy that you have that helps to make life easier as a mother and medical student/physician? (i.e. organizational method, electronic device, calendar tool, etc.)
I write everything down, usually in my iPhone somewhere so that I always have access.  This includes shopping lists, to-do lists, upcoming events, etc.  There are some great free iPhone apps out there to help with this!

My husband and I use a shared Gmail calendar were we each add any work, school, and family commitments.  That way we are always (well, usually) on the same page as far as what’s going on for any given week.

What kinds of things do you do to “relax”?
I love to play games with my kids, although they are still young enough that they don’t have the attention span for anything complicated.  Go Fish, Operation, Candyland—bring it on!  I love seeing them master a new game!  I also enjoy cooking; I cook dinner almost every night and I really enjoy making something wonderful from a bunch of discrete ingredients.  Also high on my list is kicking back on the deck with my husband and a glass of wine after dinner while the kids play.

Do you feel that your experience as a mother has made you a better doctor or future doctor? If so, how?
Absolutely!  I’m more sensitive to the needs of others.  I’m a better multi-tasker.  I’m more efficient.  I’m more focused in stressful situations.  I’m more comfortable with other people’s kids and more empathetic to the struggles of other parents.  Gross bodily functions don’t gross me out anymore.  I’m more confident in my decisions.  Most importantly though, I won’t be worrying about when I’m going to find time to start a family—I’ve already been through that major adjustment!

What advice do you have to the women who want to pursue medicine with children?
  1. Live to serve God in everything that you do, and thank Him often!
  2. Be honest with yourself about your expectations.  You can’t do everything and be everywhere, so are you willing to cut corners with the less important stuff?
  3. Your family always comes first.  Period.  Medical school is temporary; your children will always be your children.   With that being said, it’s ok to set boundaries and expectations so that you are able to meet the demands of your coursework.
  4. If you are married, the health of your marriage must be a priority.  It’s easy to forget how difficult it is for a spouse who isn’t a medical student to be on the outside looking in.  

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Are you a physician or medical student mom who would like to share her story? Send me an email at Mrs.Mommy.MD@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

See It. Do It.

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a HUGE proponent of goal-setting and visualization. If you can see yourself being it, then you can definitely do it, right? Whenever I am trying to do something new, my first instinct is to seek the counsel of someone who has gone through a similar experience. Not only is it reassuring, but also a way to ensure that you don't waste time re-inventing the wheel - because we have to work smarter and not harder.


That being said, in an effort to broaden the MrsMommyMD perspective a bit - giving my readers more visuals - I have recruited the help of some amazing women. And today, I'm so excited to roll out the inaugural "See It. Do It." Interview! 



There is no better way to start than with the woman who, in 2008, helped a pregnant and terrified college senior (me...haha), see that my own dream of going to medical school with a small child was still possible because she was doing just that. Now a resident, Monique is still someone I continue look up to: 

Name: Monique Bowles

Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine

Graduation Year: 2010

Specialty: Obstetrics-Gynecology

How many children do you have and their ages: 2 children; Jaylen, 8yrs old and Malachi, 2yrs old

Did you do any post-undergraduate schooling or working before attending medical school?
Yes, I worked as a research assistant at the University of Michigan in Neuropsychology one year prior to
entering medical school.

Did you have any of your children during medical school? If so, how did you “plan” for it?
I had my second child, Malachi, as a fourth year medical student. I planned to have him during my
fourth year because the schedule was the least demanding. There was no studying or exams to be
concerned with. I tried to time having him after interview season, which did not quite happen. But
overall everything worked out.

What kind of childcare do you employ?
My husband started graduate school once I began residency, so he stayed at home with Malachi during
the day until I got home and then he would attend his classes. My older son, Jaylen, was in school
throughout the day. With my husband home, he was able to drop off and pick up my oldest son to and
from school. Both my husband’s and my parents live close, so they were also to help watch our children
whenever needed. My husband recently started working the beginning of this year. So, our neighbor has
graciously helped by babysitting 3 days a week, while by parents help the rest of the week

What has been the biggest challenge to handling medical school and/or practicing medicine along with having children? How have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge as a resident is the lack of time I have to spend with my children. Unfortunately
a resident schedule just does not allow much free time. I am often left feeling guilty. I have gone as far
as to question my career choice. However, I am blessed to have a supportive husband and family whom
continue to encourage me. On my days off I am attending my oldest son’s basketball or football games. I
am taking the kids to the movies or the park. I make sure it’s all about them. I must say an even bigger
challenge is making sure my husband feels appreciated. When I’m placing all my focus on the children, I
sometimes forget him. It’s a work in progress and no one ever said marriage would be easy. I thank God
for him and his dedication to our family.

Do you feel like your school/job is “flexible” to any family issues that may arise?
I am blessed to be in a residency program where when family issues arise, there are people volunteering
to help. Luckily, I have not suffered any major issues, but I have colleagues that have and every time we
have rose to the occasion.

What is one item/strategy that you have that helps to make life easier as a mother and medical student/physician? (i.e. organizational method, electronic device, calendar tool, etc.)
I keep everything written down.

What kinds of things do you do to “relax”?
When time permits, I like to have a quiet dinner or movie night with my husband. It always helps if I get a
massage out of the deal too!

Do you feel that your experience as a mother has made you a better doctor or future doctor? If so, how?
I had my first son while attending undergraduate school. My experience raising him has had the most
influence on the type of individual I have become. Having a child at a young age and unmarried at the
time was difficult. I had to grow up fast. As a result, I became more responsible, organized, efficient, and
humbled. These qualities have allowed me to better connect with my patients at work. I judge less. I
show more compassion. I pay closer attention to detail. I feel an overwhelming obligation to make sure
my patient receives the best care. Having become more efficient and organized has aided me in taking
care of the most ill patients.

What advice do you have to the women who want to pursue medicine with children?
Keep God first. Pray every day. It’s the quality not quantity of time you spend with your children that
matters. Know you are doing the best for your family. Continue to study hard and work hard. Keep
those around you whom are supportive and have your best interest. Lastly, know you are truly blessed
and highly favored.



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Are you a physician or medical student mom who would like to share her story? Send me an email at Mrs.Mommy.MD@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MS2: Second Semester, Where Has the Time Gone?!

Yesterday we had exam block 3 - three exams in three hours. I don't know when it happened, but at first second year was going by so sloooooow and then at some point it took off. I just "preferenced" my clerkships - which is saying what types of things I am interested in doing during my time within each block. I cannot believe it's April and I have so much to do - both academic and non - between now and June 11th, i.e. the start of 3rd year.

No choice but to take things piece by piece.

The end of the year exam schedule looks like this:

Block 4:
April 26th: ICM
April 30th: Radiology
May 2nd: Pharmacology
May 4th: Pathology

Final Exams:
May 7th: ICM
May 9th: Pharmacology
May 11th: Pathology
And then it is 24 days of hard-core studying for Boards [minus two days spent attending the graduations of two little brothers...YAY!] until my scheduled test day. 

Eeeek! Let the countdown begin...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Music Monday

Such a beautiful song... I want to go into this week reflective and prayerful as Resurrection Sunday approaches. We don't have to weep because He is risen :-)

I hope you all have a blessed week!

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