Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Announcing our next Topic Day: Our Mentors

On Wednesday, February 11, we will have another Mothers in Medicine Topic Day, a day where we will feature posts on Our Mentors. Readers are welcome and encouraged to submit stories on this topic. Write about your mentor. The mentor you wish you had. The mentor who inspired you to do medicine / surgery/ research / be a physician-mother / be a better physician / volunteer / (fill in the blank). Share a funny mentor story. Anything related to this topic is game.

To join us, please send your stories to mothersinmedicine@gmail.com by Monday, February 9 to be included. We'll be scheduling posts to publish regularly throughout the day.

To see our previous Topic Days, click here.


  1. No time now, but I have had great mentors and will write about them male and female. I just don;t want people to think that no one has commented because there are no mentors. They exist!


  2. Lucky to have had many mentors and stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me. Mom, Dad, and others too in many ways.

    But I want to tell you about my third year medicine intern. I entered that rotation totally confident and blissfully unaware of the challenges of combining motherhood and medicine.

    Jane (not her real name) was married and mother of a young toddler. Her husband also worked for pay and they had a nanny watching the kid. This was in 1992. Jane knew I was newly married and told me how they work their family system. Jane had a code worked out with the nanny to use with her beeper.

    Remember beepers with the one row of numbers that would appear after the caller typed them into their phone? No words, no keypads, no cell phones.

    Jane had gotten her nanny a beeper as well. If Jane was going to be home at the usual time, she did not call in. If Jane was going to be home in one hour, she typed in '1'. If nanny wanted to Jane to call home to talk, she typed in another code.

    And, of course, if there were an emergency, either one would type in '911.'

    This let Jane get messages of all sorts from the nanny and stay connected in real time while rushing throughout the hospital doing intern things.

    While I had no clue about the variety of issues on the horizon for myself, I always appreciated the earnest and urgent need Jane had to impart her wisdom and experience and sisterhood.

    I have not kept in touch with Jane, but hope we do reconnect some day.

    Jane, if you are out there reading THANK YOU!

  3. None of my mentors have been women. It saddens me to say this. In fact it outrages me. The women I met in medicine prior to medical school warned me away from medicine - "Its not too late," they said. "You can quit now and find something easy." I had been bitten by the bug and there was no way I was doing anything else but medicine.

    We had had real tragedy in my family and at that point I wanted to be a trauma surgeon or a neurosurgeon working 100 hour weeks, hopefully saving some lives, and the idea that I might want to do anything else with my life was so foreign.

    Then at the end of 3rd year I got pregnant. We had been married 7 years. This was a planned and hoped for pregnancy and though I had thought that making the work-life balance would be difficult, I was definitely living a fantasy. Reality set in 9 months later when I held my child in my arms the first time. The responsibility weighed on me. I almost picked my specialty just on the fact I could have an easier residency. But I decided not to sell out my dream.

    I am lucky and have an incredible husband who can (and will) be doing the parenting by himself next year. I chose to stay in town at an academic but not abusive residency. I've got a long road to go, but I realized long ago that it is about the journey and not the destination.

    I wish there had been a woman around who had made the same decisions I made who seemed genuinely happy about them. Maybe I'll find one as an intern/resident. There are definitely some women out there who could use some guidance other than "Don't do it."


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.