Its been a while since I last updated on here and honestly its because the past 6 months (!) have been insane.
First, our nanny broke her leg just a couple of weeks into the beginning of my school year. In the end, she was out of commission for over 3 months and came back to work just after the end of the first semester. I had been worried about exams, especially because we had our big neurology final in January but luckily my mom came to help us during that time and it was a godsend.
Then soon after she left, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began and with it, the refugee crisis. Jordan and I couldn't stand by and do nothing so we opened our house to them. In total we had 12 people stay at our place, ranging from one night to over two months, ages between 4 months old and 31 years old. This is the first week since the war began that we don't have someone from Ukraine under our roof! But it was a huge task with so many people suddenly needing our help - everything from helping with getting a visa to Canada for one teenage boy to taking kids to the doctor to a mini Covid epidemic in our home. Not only was my time again greatly limited but it was also very noisy and disruptive, so it was hard to get much extra studying done. I don't regret a moment of it though - it was the right thing to do and I'd do it again.
And the whole time with Covid hanging around (including both me and my middle son getting it and being quarantined) and dealing with typical parenting stresses.
(For anyone interested in reading more about our experiences with housing refugees, please check out my instagram profile).
But now I'm less than 2 months from the end of the school year and my progress and list of things I wanted to accomplish is nowhere near where I had hoped it would be. I've only done 18% of the UWorld question bank. I haven't done ANY extra clinical work. I had to pause my work on my medical journal. I finally found a study partner for the NAC but she's suddenly become MIA.
It's been so frustrating. Even this past week, we had the week off for Easter and I had arranged to a short GP rotation/observership with my friend who is a GP in Bristol, UK. I was excited to finally be able to see what it's like to work in the UK and also because she would be able to write me a letter of recommendation afterwards. Except the day before I was about to start, I tested positive for Covid (my second time). So of course I had to tell her and wasn't able to do it.
I don't know, I just feel that it's like two steps forward, two steps back with this whole process. From studying the CaRMS requirements for the various residency programs, there are two things that stick out as crucial - the first is doing well on the MCCQE1 and NAC. At the moment, to get an interview for an Ontario residency (which which would be my top choice), they only offer spots to the people with the top 300 scores. Next, they will look at clinical experience.
To be honest I'm not sure how much clinical experience we are expected to get/have at this point because all elective rotations in Canada have been suspended until 2024. Which means I'll be totally ineligible to get even one before the application deadline for the 2023 intake. But I also know, learning from my NAC study partner, that there are students who are PAYING private doctors in Canada to get clinical rotations and letters of recommendation from those doctors, which is really unfair and its explicitly stated that contacting doctors outside the official channel is not allowed.
Anyway, its looking more and more likely that I'll end up in the UK for residency. It's not the worst thing though. One thing that I like is that they have the Foundation Programme, a 2 year internship where you rotate through different areas of medicine before applying to specialty training. Part of me feels relieved at the extra training because I feel that I've been so deprived of most of my opportunities to learn. Sure it would mean postponing becoming a fully qualified doctor, but at this point in my life I honestly don't even care. I want to be a good and safe doctor for my future patients, above all else. Also, being an English speaking country, my husband will finally be able to look for a better job. The kids will be able to attend school no problem. And even though it's across the Atlantic, it's still closer to Canada than Poland.
However its still crucial that I do well on the exams and I don't know if I will be able to, at least not by the time I'll need to write/do them in September. To be honest, I'm more worried about the NAC since I'm still a bit unclear on how exactly the exam looks and what its like. I will definitely look into a course or something that maybe I'll be able to take in August or September. In the mean time though, I'll do my best to chip away at the question bank. My plan is that if come September after I take a practice test and don't do well, I'll post pone the exam till April or May 2023 and just go to the UK and apply for residency from there.
Well, that is that for now. Ugh. I hate how negative I sound but have to admit I'm feeling a bit down about it all. I think part of it too is I'm just feeling really exhausted after this most recent bout of Covid. Hopefully I'll get out of this funk soon. In the meantime, I'm off to do some more extensive research on the best places to live in the UK.