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Realities of Being a #MedCouple

#MedCouple is #Goals but it’s also more than meets the eye (or Insta pics).

Dating within your career field can be a challenge to separate work and personal life but it can also mean you have a stronger bond with your significant other. Being that healthcare has such a wide variety of professions and specialties within professions, it’s not uncommon to come across “Med Couples” – romantic relationship between a nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, resident, fellow, physician, respiratory therapist, radiographer, etc, etc… I am a registered nurse dating another registered nurse. We both have cardiology backgrounds – he in telemetry/cardiac step-down units as a travel nurse and I in cardiac surgery intensive care (not a travel nurse). While these seem like moderately similar jobs, they are wildly different when it comes to what we see on a day-to-day basis. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and our careers along the way. I collaborated with a few other #MedCouples and these are the realities we all share!

We’re competitive by nature.

The journey to becoming a health professional is competitive as all get out. You compete against your classmates and yourself for 4-8 years while in college/grad school. We had to get stellar grades, the most volunteer hours, the best clinical experiences, etc. It’s hard not to compare jobs and the challenges we face at work. Sometimes I find myself unintentionally “one upping” the situations my boyfriend vents about. What may stress him out may not stress me out and vice versa. This can be a real struggle when you’re both in healthcare!

Our schedules suck.

Nights, days, weekends. 10, 12, 16 hours at a time. We work it all. It’s an unforgiving lifestyle we’ve chosen and when both parties of the relationship are doing it… You’re apart a lot. It’s also common for med couples to be in a long distance relationship. We often don’t have a choice in our locations like where we get into our desired program, residency, fellowship, and clinical placements. This can mean going weeks or months without being together.

We’re stressed.

Woah Nelly it’s hard to “leave work at work” when your job requires you to fully care for another human being! Dealing with life and death situations day in and day out is stressful, no matter how stellar you are. Don’t even get me started on school… Ugh! Balancing class, clinical, part-time jobs, sleep, food, chores, and the rest of life (all while accruing crippling student debt), is flat-out exhausting! Sometimes you need some serious TLC from him/her but they’re also exhausted and have nothing left to give.

Our goals don’t always align.

You want to work at THAT medical center. He/she wants to get into THAT program. They’re in different states… Compromise or long distance relationship? Healthcare is an ever-changing field that has no ceiling for career growth. Some take advantage of that, some don’t. Neither is wrong or right but it can certainly be a challenge to find a common ground with your significant other!

We're caring by nature.

All things put aside, we truly care, empathize and have intuition on how to handle the toughest of situations. Even though we’re competitive, we care enough to put that aside and attend to our significant others just as we would a patient in need. Each others' career/life goals are equally important and we honor that. If we weren't caring individuals, we wouldn't be caregivers!

We understand.

At the end of the day, you know how each other feels. You’ve both felt every emotion on the human spectrum 10 times over again in one day. You know exactly what your significant other needs after a long, tough day and they know what you need. They know everything hits the fan at shift change and that’s why you’re not home yet. If you’re in a LDR, you know that they miss you terribly too but you’re just both too busy to make an extra trip to visit each other. They just get it.

We have a ridiculous sense of humor.

Okay, we see and deal with some really disgusting, humiliating things at work. Anyone in healthcare knows the endless amount of inside jokes that happen between your coworkers and classmates. When you and your significant other are in healthcare, the gross, weird, nerdy medical puns just never stop. No topic is off-limits and rarely is there anything “too weird” or “too far”. There has to be some comic relief in our hectic lives, amiright?

We have a bond like none other.

Like any relationship, it’s not easy, but the experiences you share bring you closer than ever. Because you understand each other. Because you’ve worked through tough situations. Because you have fun. Because you can laugh together. Because you love each other.