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Thoughts as a Future Career Woman

In medicine, Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 11:15 pm

As many random questions as I regularly am asked pertaining to my interest in and foresight into a career in medicine, the one that seems to throw me the most is, “How do you think you will handle being a female in a male-dominated profession?”

I guess it throws me the most because it’s an issue I’ve never really had to deal with in life.  Growing up, while I couldn’t stand getting dirty, I definitely wasn’t a girly girl. In fact, until I started undergrad, throughout the years, my best friends had always been guys.  I was usually the only girl in my group of friends, and it was something I was fine with or even preferred. Furthermore, whether it was in the classroom or on the playground or in rehearsals, I always gave the boys a run for the money. I’ve always liked the challenge of competing with guys – let’s face it, they tend to be more competitive (at least overtly), while refraining from cattiness. That’s definitely a good push for bettering yourself.

When I look at my time in college, I don’t recall ever feeling intimidated by the guys in my classes, so it’s not something I foresee changing in the near future – not for medical school, not for residency, never. However, I have always been in a position where the guy:girl ration was nearly even. And while I know medical school admissions programs have progressed a long way since the 70s, let’s face it, on some level medicine is still considered a “male profession”…especially in certain specialties (Think, all those male-dominated med school classes graduated in the 60s, 70s, and 80s are still in practice, so it’s still skewed).

I remember on one of my interview days, sitting in a room full or current M4s interviewing for Ortho residency positions. You guessed it, there was not one female in the group. In fact, aside from one Black male, the whole group was comprised of one demographic – white male. Certainly, this is not 100% representative of this specialty, however I think it is roughly representative in that Ortho (and I’m sure a few other specialties) are generally considered “male-only areas.” And not that women cannot wiggle into these unchartered territories and make a name for themselves, but it is certainly a difficult course to navigate.  I recall working in the Emergency Department at a certain hospital and sitting in the nurses station people watching as I do. So often, the male doctors and techs and nurses would babble away about sports or cars (cars = something I cannot for the life of me “get into”) or some other typically male topic of conversation.  I was so irritated sitting there day after day listening to them talking about the same mundane gibberish like it was sound profound discovery (I guess it’s their version of gossip?) – not so sure I would want to deal with that daily for my entire career.  But have no fear, I will be called doctor one day, and it will be said with respect, regardless of the composition of my peers, seniors, and subordinates.

And, think about it – when using the gender ambiguous term “doctor,” why is it that most people reply with “he” and not “she”? This can most likely be attributed to the residual, underlying sentiments that it is a “male profession.”  From a social standpoint, it’s true that at first glimpse who in their right mind would say that such a demanding profession that nearly consumes your life is a workplace suited for a woman desiring to make a family.

However, this view ascribes to the pre-women’s revolutionary view that women belonged in the home, raising the kids and keeping house. [Thank God along came feminism!] Clearly, many still chose to do this, but in the new millennium, we like to
think we’ve progressed from those caveman ideologies, where this is now a chose, not a contractual obligation.  However, even good ol’ progressive me still has a few hidden reservations.  Well, I’ll call them second-guesses – something I do not like to acknowledge I possess. But in all honesty, looking forward, it does seem daunting – the idea of juggling one of the most demanding careers out there with a possible family that includes children who need their mother. And I know me, as much as I want to be a career woman, I know that if I were to have kids, initially it would break my heart to be away from them and miss many of the key moments in their development.

Lucky for me, at the moment I’m at the point where I interact with enough bad kids on the regular to know I don’t want any…or at least not any time soon (thank you, substitute teaching at a Charter School! smh).  I have faith my kids will be well-behaved, however there is a sea of children out their with no value on life, and that makes a scary world to raise kids in. But, I digress…

The point is I’m the type of person who doesn’t try to plan things too far into the future.  Shoot, who’s to even say I’m going to get married? And even still, how do I know if my future spouse or I are able to conceive? Even still, who knows if I’ll ever come around to wanting kids of my own? No, too many unanswerable questions for me to waste my energy entertaining. I’d rather live life in the present and enjoy it now, and see what the future unfolds as I go out and live. If I don’t get married, I’d be fine with that. If I do get married, I’ll be fine with that and will work through those issues when they get here. Furthermore, if we do have kids, I will make a way for raising them to co-exist peacefully with the career I’ve worked for. Can I be greedy? Can I have my cake and eat it too? Why can’t I be both mother and doctor? I am fortunate enough to have a loving mother and support network who I know would be more than happy to lend a helping hand and be a daily part of my and my future children’s lives. Having Grandma & Co around to help with the kiddies would sure lighten the stress of the situation. I guess there is an added benefit to being both an only child and an only grandchild – help is literally only a phone call away 🙂  I admit, Iprobably cannot do it on my own, and I have no desire to.  My hard work plus God’s leading and protection plus support from family and friends will enable me to achieve anything I desire. Me, I want what’s coming to me…the world, chico, and everything in it. And if all else fails, I can always be a cougar! lol, I kid, I kid! Shoot – If Michelle Obama can do it, I can do it too – she’s my motivation 🙂

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Keeping up with the Debate

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2009 at 2:30 am

Without further adieu, I present to you the site which has most greatly simplified my life: The NY Times Topic – Health Care Reform.

With potential medical school interviews looming a few months away, it is of the utmost importance to stay abreast on all current events – especially those pertaining to health care.  Since early 2008 with the Presidential race, the topic of health care reform has been highly debated for months and on the front lines of papers everywhere and news sites across the nation.  After President Obama’s win, the progress of the imminent reform changes nearly daily, with sides unable to come to an agreement, town hall meetings confusing things, leaving me with the feeling that not only are we taking two steps forward, one step back (I do think we are making progress – just slowly), but with each step forward, it’s like we’re pointed in a slightly different direction.  You follow me?

Thankfully, a fellow SDNer (Student Doctor Network user) has put me on to this lovely website that neatly organizes the major points of the debate, as well as pros and cons, and opposing views for the issues on the table.  All I can say is, “AMEN!”  I was getting exhausted trying to keep up with the news daily to make sure I hadn’t missed a major development in the debate.  While I am not oblivious to the news, I try to watch as little of it as possible.  It is just so negative and full of saddening stories or pointless information (at least pertaining to my life).  Plus, it is so ridiculously biased, the newsworthy stuff that actually makes the cut is tainted and unreliable.  Ugh…  I do love me some CNN though – namely Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon (I have major crushes on both!)

[p.s. – submitted Northwestern and Loyola today.  Waiting for 3-4 more secondaries that should be out within the next week or so – my patience is really being tested!]