When I was applying for a new state medical license a while back, there was a page in the application where it asked me what horrible things I had done. Have you ever had criminal charges filed against you? Have you ever been the subject of disciplinary action? Have you ever had your medical license suspended or revoked?
Being the good girl I am, I just checked NO all the way down the line.
A few weeks later, I got notified that I was in big big trouble because I should have checked YES to one of those questions: Have you ever taken a leave of absence? Oops. I did, in fact, take a maternity leave. I then had a bunch of new paperwork to fill out explaining my leave of absence, as well as a letter from my former residency program director, also explaining my leave of absence. And of course, none of the faxes would go through.
I've actually been waiting forever to take a leave of absence. A real one, not the exhausting blur that was my maternity leave. First I planned to take a year off between second and third year of med school. Then between med school and internship. Then for sure, I was going to take a year off after residency to spend time with my daughter. Well, that didn't quite work out, although I did take a month off. Two months would have been ideal, but my fellowship director was pushing me to start.
I've realized that it's actually not so easy to take time off once you become a doctor. You gain skills during training and work, and then when you take time off, you lose those skills. Especially when it comes to procedures. Even after maternity leave, I felt a bit rusty.
Also, don't tell anyone, but I kind of like to work. Makes me feel productive.
The medical boards recognize that taking time off is a big deal. You have to account for every second of your life from when you started your MD training. When I was recently getting credentialed at a new hospital, I was physically unable to submit my online application because I wasn't able to "account for" the six weeks between my med school graduation and starting internship. I guess vacation wasn't a legitimate excuse.
At this point, I don't see any extended vacations in my immediate future. I guess I'm OK with that. I mean, look how much I blog when I'm working full time... can you imagine if I were home all day? Still, it's a little depressing to think that the next time I'll have a long vacation might be when I retire.