A few months ago, when I was contemplating a shift in direction in my career, I happened to google 'women leaders in medicine'. Among the websites and blogs that google search generated was 'womenmdresources', and through that, the 'mothersinmedicine' website. Reading through current and old posts was like finding a community of friends I had not known existed. In fact, one of the first blogs I read was from 'anesthesioboist' and the post was about her experience with her child having surgery at Boston children's where she had been a resident. I found myself smiling as I recalled a very similar experience at the very same hospital some years ago with my son needing surgery for a fracture while I was a resident there! It made me feel connected to this entire community out there of women in medicine, especially the unique community of mothers in medicine.
Fast forward a few months, I have made the career shift, which involved going from being a staff anesthesiologist at a small community hospital to being the chief of my department at another small community hospital. It required a lot of thought on my part and discussions with my husband to go after this opportunity especially with one child being almost ready to go off to college in another year and another entering the tween diva stage. Did I want to take on this challenge at this juncture of my career (and challenge I knew it would be) especially with my husband's job needing him to be traveling for most part of the week? It would have been so much easier to stay where I was and go to work and come back home and not have to deal with all the issues involved with taking over the running of a department.
10 years ago, when I was finishing my residency with 2 young kids, if I had had a crystal ball, I would never have seen myself in a leadership position down the road. I thought I would be content with a staff position in a small department, enjoying my work, but leaving it at the hospital when I left in the evening and focusing on my kids and family. And that's what I did. However, few twists and turns in the last few years changed my direction and I feel now, for the better.
I had had some experience with the running of a group without the title of chief in a previous job so I knew the trials and tribulations it would involve.
Ultimately, we decided I could not pass up on this opportunity. That previous experience had whetted my appetite to be in a position to be able to make some changes, to problem solve. I had found it very satisfying when I was able to make some changes to make processes run smoother than they had.
And so here I am, 2 weeks into this new role. It has been a challenging couple of weeks. And I find myself looking forward to more.