Ten Tips for Dating During Medical Training

how to make dating a little simpler when you work 80 hours per week

As a single resident, I’ve made every dating mistake in the book. Let me save you some trouble! Here are ten tips I’ve learned about dating during med school and residency.

1) Don’t believe the specialty stereotypes. Be open minded. Recognize that many of the people you meet in your life are “hospital people,” and date across medical specialties and disciplines. I’ve personally gone out with Plastics, Neurology, Oral Surgery, Physiatry, and a critical care RN.

2) Know your limits. Maybe you can’t get out of the hospital consistently before 8 PM – so don’t schedule dates at 6.

3) Don’t schedule first dates during (home) call. This should be self-explanatory! I got away with this a few times, and although not called in, I felt jittery and distracted. Once, I had to cancel and reschedule a first date two nights in a row due to emergency cases. Thankfully, the guy didn’t think I was blowing him off!

4) Meet people outside the hospital in any way you can. Consider online dating. If you’re one of those lucky people with time for a hobby, keep your eyes open for people who share your interest. Join a running group or take a class.

5) Be kind to yourself. You’re clearly a smart, dedicated, compassionate person if you made it this far. Your schedule is likely more of a problem than you are.

6) Don’t give your co-residents too much ammunition. I have no doubt my dating misadventures will show up in my chief roast at the end of this year. It doesn’t help that I let it slip that one date was an attending! We met online and I assumed he was a resident. You know what they say: “‘Assume’ makes an ass…”

7) Be honest with yourself and others. I met one guy who was a gem. He took me to a ballroom dance class, a fancy Mexican restaurant, a French restaurant during restaurant week, an Ingrid Michaelson concert and a brewery block party. I so badly wanted to adore him, and I really enjoyed him as a person, but just didn’t have those deep romantic feelings. So I was honest about it. I didn’t want to take advantage of his interest just to get to go do fun things.

8) Shower at every opportunity. It may be a while til the next one.

9) Your on call bag should double as a date prep bag. Have a toothbrush, deodorant, change of clothes, makeup, and possibly fragrance and jewelry.

10) Date people who handle the complexities of life well. You will throw them more than a few curve balls in your career!

Keep up the strong work,
Single With Scalpel

This essay originally appeared as a guest post on

About the Author

Single With Scalpel is a Pediatric Otolaryngology fellow who tweets about life, humor, and medical education. She blogs here when 140 characters simply aren't enough.

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