Spouses Guide to Survive Away Rotations

If you’re unfamiliar with the medical journey, the term “away Rotations” means nothing to you. However, for those that are on the journey with a spouse in medicine, the term can be dreadful.  

For most residents, & even medical students at some point during their training they will have to “go away” to another hospital- sometimes in different states to get the training they need in a certain specialty. 

Most of the time, if you’re in a very big program or in a metropolitan area- away Rotations are not a thing. But for those in small to medium size programs located in less populated or rural areas, away Rotations are inevitable. 

On our journey we’ve endured around 10 away Rotations, & Noah just finished his LAST one this month. Hooray! 

We may have a few deployments in our future but I feel like this has been good ground for preparation, but that part of the medical journey is finally over for us. 

As such, I thought it would be helpful to lend some key advice to those who are supporting their spouse through this long and sometimes lonely journey in medicine.  

  • Communicate when you can. Realize that your partner will probably be extremely busy on the hospital floor. Don’t expect text/phone calls all throughout the day, but communicate whenever possible. An Apple Watch honestly is a great way to send a quick I miss you, I love you, I’m thinking of you text without much distraction. You may not always get a response. Learn to be ok with that. & when you talk, try not to complain or argue. Chances are your spouse is under a lot of stress, pick you battles. 
  • Visit if you can: like I said above, some away rotations are in different states so this can be expensive- especially on a training budget. However if funds and time allow, go visit. If its a car ride away, pop up for a weekend. I will caution that just because you decide to visit, doesn't mean your partners obligations decrease. They still may very well be busy at the hospital, but at the very least you'll be able to spend some quality time when they're done working :) 
  • Find a hobby. I can’t stress this enough. Really keeping yourself busy makes the time fly. Find something you enjoy & DO THAT. 
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder, thats still a thing. Distance can force you to have a greater appreciation for each other, if you view it correctly. Now if you're just going to be resentful the whole time your partner is away because you have no one to help with the kids, dishes and laundry- tough. However, if you look at it from the lens of appreciation for all that they do when they are around, when they return you appreciate them more. Its so easy to lose sight of each other going through life day to day doing the mundane. When a person is physically absent it causes you to pause and appreciate their presence. Although you may not feel like it, I’m sure they’d rather be with you & they miss you just as much as you miss them. Cherish the time apart and use it as a chance to date again: talk on the phone, plan your next date, get to know each other better. 
  • When all else fails, curl up with a bottle of wine & watch Netflix. At least then every once in a blue moon Netflix will check on you to see if you’re still there ;)  

P.S. If you have children and can afford it, get some help. Pay a baby sitter to give you a day off. Take care of yourself. Go to the nail salon, do something to treat yourself. You deserve it! 

Hang in there & remember that this is only temporary!  

“ We do not remember the days, we remember the moments” - Cesare Pavese