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Impact of a LOA

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Hi everyone

I'm unsure of what the next best step is.

As of the past few months i have been struggling with worsening depression, lack of focus, and increased sleep. I have sought out a GP opinion and am currently waiting for a psychiatrist's assessment to get me on the right medication having had adverse side effects to 2 already.

I'm due to graduate this year. However, I'm concerned about worsening performance on clinical rotations and being incompetent as a resident. On the other hand, I've made it this far and worked quite hard up until this point. I know I will feel worse watching my classmates graduate and feeling left behind.

My school has thankfully been very accommodating and said this is a valid reason for a medical leave of absence should I choose to pursue it.

Has anyone been in this situation before? if so, what did you do? Would love to hear advice from other people as I am feeling quite stuck at the moment.

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I think one consideration is you could take a LOA. The key question is to take it as a resident or med student. Also to try to match or not to match.

The upside of taking it in residency is that you likely will qualify for disability benefit (get the ones that doesn't ask medical questions before you graduate). Not all residents start in July, it is possible to start off cycle, especially in FM, I think they are probably one of the more accommodating programs. If you match to a competitive, small program, not sure how that will work. Don't worry about your fellow classmates. You'll meet new friends in residency, and you can still socialize with your old friends in the same city, most people won't make a fuss about it. When you finish residency and practice, you will be no different than any other person who are licensed.

The downside is when you apply for license you have to explain why you took LOA and ensure you are well enough to practice. Usually not a big deal I believe. Also since we don't know how severe your disease is,  you have to ask how long do you think it will take you to improve enough?

In either case I think you should seriously consider taking some time off. PGY1 is a big shock to most people, and might exacerbate your situation. 

I would like to refer your situation for a second opinion by @ellorie

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