Florida Medical Association

FMA Magazine Fall 2014

Magazine of the Florida Medical Association

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43 FLORIDA MEDICAL MAGAZINE FALL 2014 Y ou might say Kristina Deeter, M.D., took on two demanding jobs a er completing her pediatric residency at the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio. Dr. Deeter became a fi rst-time mother at the end of residency and a er a few months off with her daughter, she launched her career in pediatric private practice. Two years later, she and her husband had a second child. Dr. Deeter's husband is a trauma surgeon, so they both had intense schedules that o en made things "pretty insane." Traditional day care wasn't an option for their young family and because both were at the beginning of their careers as physicians, having a live-in nanny wasn't realistic, either. Dr. Deeter said the help of family members is the only thing that made it possible for them to survive those fi rst overwhelming years with small children. "It takes a village," said Dr. Deeter, an FMA Physi- cian Leadership Academy graduate who is now a pediatric interventionist at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. "To not have good friends and good support — it's just impossible." e intersection of career and family is tough for many working parents to navigate, but few professions are as rigorous and high-stakes as practicing medicine. Achieving harmony between the two isn't a concern exclusively for female doctors with children. A Merritt Hawkins survey found that across the board, "younger physicians today are committed to achieving a work/life balance, particularly as many are beginning to raise families as they complete their training." As a May 2012 essay in The Hospitalist noted, it's "a people issue, not a women's issue." However, female doctors are o en at the center of conversations about managing careers in medicine along with the demands of family life. In an article for Academic Psychiatry, author Glese Verlander, M.D., said the issue was discussed far less in decades past when the vast majority of physicians were men who likely had spouses at home to manage the households. "In trying to balance personal and professional responsibilities, female physicians face a diffi cult task in striving to 'have it all,' " Dr. Verlander wrote. More than 33 percent of physicians and surgeons in the U.S. are female, and according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, women represented half of medical school graduates in 2011. Sharona Ross, M.D., of Tampa, a surgeon and mother of four children ranging in age from 8 to 19 years old, knows a bit quite a bit about this subject. She is Founder and Director of the annual Women in Surgery Symposium where, "Every year we talk about this issue," she said. A practicing physician's days are long and notoriously unpredictable. e work can stretch well beyond 40 hours and overlaps with other responsibilities. Said Dr. Deeter: "I can't just run out the door if something happens." "You fi nish with your work when the work is done," said Christina Shaw, M.D., a UF Health cancer surgeon in Gainesville and mother of a 2-year-old son. "Childcare is 6:30 to 6. O en, my work isn't over at 6. Especially on operative days, you fi nish when your cases are done. at is not as predictable as bankers' hours. It sometimes extends into nights and weekends. I think that's the hardest part." Balancing Act Navigating the intersection of career and family By Erika D. Peterman www.FLmedical.org Balancing Act cont. on page 45

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