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Support group for doctor spouses?

Community Member

Hi everyone

I am looking for something fairly specific - a support group for spouses of medical doctors who are still in training to be specialists. I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right place. I know anecdotally there are people like me, but I haven't been able to find anything outside of the US with a Google/Facebook search.

Long story short, the career pathway of a doctor doesn't just end with graduation - they need to choose a specialty (GP is also a specialty). Regardless of the specialty chosen, you need to pass exams to get onto a training pathway for a specialty, and once on the training pathway there are further exams and assessments. These are not run of the mill exams - they are gruelling and it is borderline sadistic that the medical profession expects doctors to work overtime days AND study for these exams.

There is no guarantee that by passing exams you'll get on the training pathway you want -most specialties only have a very limited number of training spots per state. So realistically, this means moving interstate or rural if you even get a spot. All up, assuming you pass exams and get onto a training program (which are a yearly sitting/intake thing), it can take close to ten years to finish specialising. For some it's a never ending battle. It's also not acceptable to not specialise in something - you can't be in no-man's land training forever.

I guess, I am posting this, because as the wife of a doctor, it's really hard. It's really hard to plan a family when you don't even know where you'll be in a year. It's hard to keep moving around - I'm in a new city again and it's very lonely here starting again. It's hard because I miss home, and the plan is to move back one day, but we don't know when one day actually is. He has unfortunately failed his exams despite so much hard work, which means another year for us here in this city we don't really like. He knows I miss home, even though I try to stay upbeat and positive, so I think he felt an extra sense of pressure to pass which backfired.

For people not married to doctors, it's hard to understand the culture. People say 'just take some time off!' 'he needs to prioritise family more!' it's really not that simple. Like I said, I've anecdotally had chats with other women in the same situation who understood, but I wonder if there's a formal group out there?

6 Replies 6

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion
Hi, welcome

I've noticed this post hasn't had an answer. Likely this is due to nobody here aware of such a special area of support.

We do however offer general support in the areas mentioned like living in the town you don't like and supporting him.

I'm hoping someone will reply soon and this post will elevate the thread to the top.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Athing,

Welcome to the forums.

It certainly is difficult when your partner's career path is so uncertain. I don't have any information about formal groups for doctors' spouses, but what you say sounds a lot like what the spouses of early career academics go through as well. Those I know of have either spent their time moving around while their spouses look for a permanent position, or spend months/years apart as they finish their PhDs. Just wondering if you see if there are possibilities to connect with these spouses as well?


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Athing,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for your post. I can see that you've already been given a warm welcome already.

You are right there, it's a specific support group, but I did a little googling and found this -

The Australian Doctor’s Spouse Network is a not for profit organisation and a platform for medical and surgical spouses around Australia to connect for support, advice and social networking. Our focus is to help the spouses through the years of their partner’s training. Medical and Surgical training is intense for doctors in Australia and frequently causes them to relocate to different teaching hospitals to increase their knowledge and skill base. Although we focus on the training years, our network offers something for the medical students spouse all the way through to the more senior consultants spouse


Hopefully you can find this helpful!


Community Member

I could not sum up a doctor's life more accurately than this. I'm the partner of a training doctor and my gosh do I feel your struggles. 

It often feels hard to keep the motivation up and I often wonder what the future will look like with kids etc.


Community Member

How did you go?


my partner is a doctor too. She qualified late in life and we have two kids under 3.


I love my kids and would never not want to have them.


but I do regret the day my partner said to me I got into medical

school. I would never stop someone following their dreams but I would advise anyone going out with a prospective medic.. to leave. This is not the relationship I ever ever wanted. It's hell.

Community Member

Thanks a lot for this post. I am in a similar situation and it's extremely tough. I feel so lonely all the time. My spouse is either far away on a rural placement or studying 24/7. It's tough for her but I don't really get a lot of credit for how hard it is for me and I don't get the reward of the career. All my friends have had kids and lives and I just feel like my life has been on hold for years...