Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just Like Mommy

Earlier this year, my daughter's class was doing a week on "healthy hearts," and her teachers asked if I could donate a stethoscope or two for the class. Since I am on my 5th or 6th stethoscope, it wasn't too hard to fish out the cast-offs from CindyLou's dress-up chest. The day we were to bring them in, CindyLou was sooooo excited. "My class is going to listen with *your* 'stefflstopes??' I'm so excited to be a doctor...just like mommy!" But instead of warming the cockles of my cold heart, these very words struck an odd chord of panic. I mean, what parent wouldn't beam with pride when their child wanted to follow in their footsteps, much less enter the medical profession?

Then, I paused a moment to think about what "being a doctor" really means to CindyLou. To her, mommy's work is hanging out at the nurse's station...checking out the new babies, coloring, eating crackers and suckers, and generally being fawned over by nurses, patients, and visitors alike. Or, perhaps she thinks about time in mommy's office, where SuperNurse plies her with her secret candy stash, she sits on her lap, and "works" on the computer. Being a doctor must seem a pretty sweet gig to a 4 (almost 5) year old. It also gives me hope that, for all my harried feelings about my job, they don't transfer to CindyLou; thus enabling her to feel like being a doctor is a pretty darn cool job. What ever the reason, I did feel grateful and humbled that my little girl was looking up to me, aspiring to be (despite my many foibles) "just like mommy.'

10 comments:

  1. So I am a medical student that has been following your blog, and I've got to say, it's pretty discouraging. It seems as if none of you like your jobs. I'm only second year, so I haven't done many clinical things yet, but what I have done I've loved. Perhaps you could publish some blogs for medical students on how not to lose that love of it - is it the insurance, the hours, what? I'm too far in to back out now (not that I want to yet), so what can I do to not end up stuck in a profession I don't enjoy? Thank you!

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  2. Rinda~ I am sorry to hear that you feel discouraged by reading our blog in general, and mine in particular. I sound like a crochety old bag most of the time, I do realize this, and for that I apologize. I *do* love my job, but it is a job, with inherent unpalatable aspects just like any other job. Perhaps, at times, it is easier to vent about worries and unpleasantness in the written form than it is to rhapsodize about how great and wonderful it is to be a doctor.

    I am still happy to be a physician, and have often said I wouldn't do anything else, but it isn't all sunshine and roses. This experience seems to be quite universal, and that is what you see here. Go in to the profession with your eyes wide open, find the best fit for you, and you will find a way to be happy. Burnout is common in the medical profession, and I'm not sure that I have any solid advice on how not to lose the shiny new love of medicine that you have when you first start training. Find the time to care for yourself, if you can, and that will help immensely. I do hope that you love it as much 10 years from now as you do today.

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  3. I don't mean to butt into the comments section, or say anything for dr. whoo necessarily, but it seems to me like it's somewhat dependent on specialty. A study recently found that major factors of physician satisfaction in their job was control over schedule and work hours. Check out this article.

    http://net.acpe.org/Resources/Articles/Secrets_of_Physician_Satisfaction.pdf

    discouraging for women physicians, especially if they are in a long hours, unpredictable schedule type specialty, because they are also trying to be mommy and wife. which oftentimes is a completely different set of roles as the standard man, and requires just as much work as, well, work.

    I actually find the posts on this website to be more uplifting than what I've heard from other websites/female physicians. Honestly, every female ob/gyn I've talked to with kids has mixed feelings about choosing the specialty, even if they love the work.

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  4. I'm sorry- aforementioned article was the wrong one-this is the article I was referrig to:

    http://www.gpscholar.uthscsa.edu/gpscholar/FacultyScholars/cr/genmed/library/aimvol162pg1577.pdf

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  5. Rinda,

    Have to say I love my job. It is a privilege to have people let you into the most intimate and vulnerable parts of their lives.

    Yes, time consuming, yes, gets into the very crevices of your mind and soul, but medicine is also stimulating, full of emotion (whether you want to believe it is or not), never boring, and makes a difference.

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  6. Rinda - Please don't misunderstand us. Venting is part of being a physician. But we can only vent to each other, so you see a very selective, sometimes humorous, sometimes sarcastic commentary here. Because without a sense of humor you would go crazy in clinical medicine. I still love my work after several decades in medicine, but the griping is necessary to preserve sanity. Oh -can I tell you about the patient who paged me at 2 am because she couldn't sleep?.... For real.

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  7. Rinda - Please don't misunderstand us. Venting is part of being a physician. But we can only vent to each other, so you see a very selective, sometimes humorous, sometimes sarcastic commentary here. Because without a sense of humor you would go crazy in clinical medicine. I still love my work after several decades in medicine, but the griping is necessary to preserve sanity. Oh - can I tell you about the patient who paged me at 2 am because she couldn't sleep?.... For real.

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  8. Ah, yes, the one that couldn't sleep. I was once paged at 2 am by somebody whose 17 year old was constipated. I asked when it started and they said "we don't know, she woke us up--we were asleep." I didn't reply with "do tell? so was I" but it was hard. I wonder if the availability of blogs to vent in have reduced burnout rates any. Somebody should do a study--maybe there's a grant in there somewhere...

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  9. rinda. take these comments with a grain of salt. imagine the group of women, sitting down at the hospital w/ a cup of coffee, laughing and talking, and sharing. this blog is the online version of that group of friends discussing the experiences and frustrations of their job. it is the same thing done among med students after a hard test or a long week. the same thing as residents getting together after a difficult rotation. it is a group of women getting together to discuss a shared experience in order to make it easier and funnier and be able to put it all in perspective so we can enjoy the good times more.

    i apologize for the lack of uppercase. i am typing one handed while bf'ing

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  10. Thank you for your comments. I am glad to know that despite all the discouraging moments and lost sleep, it is still a profession a woman with a family can be in and enjoy. I apologize if my comment was out of line - I absolutely agree that this is a terrific place to vent about the frustrating parts of your jobs! I also should have said that I immensely enjoy the stories both of your jobs and of your children! Thank you!

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