Women in the healthcare industry face a multitude of challenges: work-life balance, being a mother and a professional, workplace harassment from both patients and colleagues, and pay gaps these and more challenge women daily. To start collecting some insight on this topic, InCrowd surveyed a sampling of 50 women physicians from the US to get their thoughts on what it’s like working as a woman in the healthcare industry. We took it a step further and wanted to give these voices from the survey a spotlight by having other female HCPs contribute blog posts on the topic, ‘What does it mean to be a women in medicine.’
Dr. Sasha Shillcutt started our series – Read here.
Today we have Dr. Dana Corriel, an internal medicine physician from New York, with her take on the attempt to balance of motherhood and professional life in the healthcare industry.
No Child Left Behind
A female physician’s insight into the struggle of the work-life balance
By Dr. Dana Corriel
Internal Medicine Physician
Why does it feel like abandonment, when we say goodbye to our children each morning, and prance off to work, suitcase in hand? Why does it feel like we are leaving our children behind?
More so, why do our male counterparts often not feel the same urge or regret?
InCrowd recently surveyed female physicians, asking them to describe what it’s like working in the healthcare industry as a woman. The responses included, “Constantly caring for others while you worry you are not caring for yourself of your own family,” and “I don’t see a difference in treatment. The only challenge comes in our personal life where we still have to be wife and mother.”
Are we, as working female physicians, conflicted in this way because of the traditional roles our society established so long ago – ones in which father worked outside the home and ‘brought home the bacon’, while mother stayed within its confines and actually served that slab of meat (the aforementioned bacon)?
Or is it more than just that? Is it because we’re in healthcare, a field that chips away at our energy, taking in countless of hours of our dedication and emotional investment, only to then fail to hand it back to us, once we walk out of that office door? I think I’d be hard-pressed to find another ‘Doctor Mom’ who doesn’t agree.
Well, I say that it’s time that we change this mentality, fellow ‘Doctor Moms’. It’s time to rethink what’s right for us, and if we’re truly ‘leaving anyone behind’.
I challenge you to gather up all of those guilty thoughts – pack them up together neatly, into a tight little ball. Now flick that thought-package away – feel free to use your foot to kick it, too – right out the window of your commuter ride home. Because it’s time for working moms like us to stop worrying and put an end to that penetrating burn of guilt we carry around with us, 24-7.
Let’s set it straight once and for all – no child of ours is getting left behind. We work hard, and our children don’t need to see us at all times. I’ve learned long ago, in fact, that I’m a better mother to my kids when I take care of my own needs, too. While we’re away, at work, making a difference, they are learning independence. And grit. Soaking in the real world around them. When you focus on your career, you are giving your child a gift. You’re setting an example, and showing them how things get done.
Does that mean I won’t be feeling that same pang of guilt at tomorrow night’s business dinner, away from my own three boys? Absolutely not. I feel it, too. But I see the glimmer in my boys’ eyes, when they understand what I’ve accomplished, and when they see how beautiful life can be when you push hard for the things that you believe in. I also see them growing into beautiful, respectful young men, right in front of my very eyes, and I think, “Things are turning out just fine.”