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Married to the job – on being a doctor’s spouse – Part 2

doctor’s spouse

In Part 1 of this series, we spoke with Kenna Jefferson, the spouse of an ENT surgeon. This week, we meet Dr Ben Wilkes, a clinical psychologist and spouse of a haematologist. With female doctors representing at least 36% of the medical workforce*, it stands to reason that there will be an increasing proportion of male spouses of doctors, challenging the perception of the ‘doctors spouse’.

Your name and where you’re from

Ben Wilkes – from Sydney.

How long have you been with your partner?

10 years.

How did you meet?

At a doctors ball.

Was she a doctor when you met?

Yes.

What stage of training was she in when you first met?

Intern.

What is your partner’s specialty?

Physician (Haematology / Pathology)

What stage of training is she in now?

Has letters (i.e. complete), but has returned to study PhD

What were your thoughts about the life of a doctor before you were married to one?

High pay, high reward.

How is the reality different?

Pay is above average, however, work/life balance is way below average. Not sure what the hourly rate would be if you included all the hours studying whilst completing their training.

What is your occupation?

Clinical Psychologist

Kids?

1 boy (6 months old)

How many times have you moved because of your partner’s work?

I wouldn’t say I have moved because of her profession, but it has restricted the locations we have looked to move to. The country rotations can cause a need for a lot of travel over weekends to maintain contact.

What has been the most difficult part about being married to a doctor?

Knowing that the training does not really ever stop. Knowing that on-call is a reality and that it is hard for a doctor to feel in control of their work schedule.

What has been the most surprising part?

The impact of viva/clinical exams on high performing individuals.

Was there a particular part of their training, or moment that was the most difficult for you/your family?

The year of the Physicians exams. The College based exams are probably more difficult but less unique for the doctor participants at that stage.

What have you enjoyed?  

Being involved/connected to someone who really cares about knowing all they can about an area presupposed on purely making people healthy and increasing quality of life.

What advice would you offer someone else just starting in your situation?

It is a hard journey, which is hard to understand, in terms of process, focus and need for work ethic.

What resources do you recommend?

During the physicians exams, I chose to undertake extra studies myself in order to capitalise on extra time created by my partner being less available. In general, make sure that at least your work/life balance is up to scratch.

*Health Workforce Australia (Australia’s Health Workforce Series Doctors in focus 2012)

 

Working with a medical recruitment agency like Beat Medical to find your next medical position or specialist locum job can help streamline the process, whether it’s between other jobs and training placements, or a permanent move at the end of training.

 

To avoid mistakes in your next job application, download ‘7 Obvious Mistakes to Avoid on Your Medical CV’ (+ Bonus Interview Guide) today 

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