Be vigilant in maintaining a healthy work-life-self balance, with an emphasis on self, and your hospitalist career should be a happy one. TH
advice from a hospitalist mother
Jeanne M. Farnan, MD, hospitalist scholar, The University of Chicago Hospitals, Section, General Internal Medicine, has strong feelings about combining a medical career with having a family. She was pregnant during her residency, and now has a toddler as well as a teenage stepson.
“We feel that in order to become a successful physician, we have to delay family and other things that are important to us,” says Dr. Farnan. “Discontent is part of medical training. Residents [and new physicians] feel that they’ve put off their lives and waited for marriage and kids.”
Dr. Farnan believes the workplace will change to accommodate physicians, including hospitalists, who want more time for their young families. “Women are a major force in medicine now,” she says. “Employers will be faced with making changes for them. Good doctors should be good parents.”
Her advice for balancing work with family:
- “I maximize my time at work,” Dr. Farnan says. “I’ve learned to strategize to get some downtime.”
- “I delegate everything,” she says. “Every single person in medicine is type A to the extreme—we feel we need control over everything. You need to let go of that.” Hire someone to clean your house, do your errands, … whatever tasks don’t add to your quality of life or family time.
- “You have to lower your standards,” she advises. “I don’t live in a Pottery Barn catalog and I never will.”
- “You also need a really supportive spouse who can pick up the slack when necessary and who understands the demands on your time,” she says.—JJ