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How my roles as a woman, wife and mother have made me the doctor I am today

July 09, 2014

This post was written by Dr. Brozyna, pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

I became a physician in 2001, after originally having a career in business. I wanted to become a doctor to be able to do something important. I felt that if I needed to work, and to leave my children in day care, I at least wanted to be doing something that was meaningful to me. My job as a business manager didn’t fulfill me in that way.

Over the years, I’ve seen how my role as a woman, wife and mother have affected they type of doctor that I’ve become. What makes me a good doctor? It’s not enough to be technically proficient, but this job also requires me to be compassionate, nurturing, understanding and patient.

A doctor must also be an excellent communicator.  

Being a mother has helped me to feel compassion when taking care of sick children and even healthy newborns. Although I’ve taken care of thousands of babies, I can put myself in the place of these new mothers, and feel the joy at the miracle of birth. When a child is sick with a minor illness, I listen to the child’s mother, and I truly understand their fears. Having a sick child is a very scary thing to a parent. I teach my resident physicians not to discount the fears that these parents have, and to remember that their children are the most important things in their lives.

Many times these parents just want someone

to listen to them and to answer their questions.

I also find it advantageous to be a female physician when dealing with the non-medical aspects of my job. I once saw a young girl who requested treatment for acne. She was an obese child, quiet, with hair in her face, unwilling to look at me. After giving her an acne prescription, I asked her if she would like some tips on weight loss. I started by asking about what she drinks, and found out that she was drinking almost 2000 calories per day! I told her to change this to water and low fat milk (1%), and to follow up with me in one month. At the next visit, she had lost 10 pounds and wanted more information on nutrition. One year later she had lost 65 pounds, and was smiling and confident. This was very rewarding to me.

The commitment of being a physician does impact my family life, however. There is less time to spend with my family- hospitalists work weekends and holidays. I have been unable to attend a lot of my children’s ballgames and other functions, and am often unable to be home for Christmas and Easter mornings, and other holidays. I also still have the same responsibilities to my family, despite long hours worked at the hospital. I still plan menus, buy groceries, cook dinner and clean house. I still have to be available for my adult children, and help take care of my aging parents. Although my children did not have me at every game and function when they were younger, they have grown up independent, and with an excellent work ethic and problem solving skills.

Why do I do it when it takes such a toll on my family life? There are many reasons. Being a physician is an important job. I have saved lives. I have changed lives. I learn something new every day. I meet someone wonderful every day. I help in the training of new physicians and nurses.

I make a difference.

And that makes all the difference to me.