Navigating parenthood as pediatricians


PHM 2021 session

The Baby at Work or the Baby at Home: Navigating Parenthood as Pediatricians

Dr. Theresa Scott


Jessica Gold, MD; Dana Foradori, MD, MEd; Nivedita Srinivas, MD; Honora Burnett, MD; Julie Pantaleoni, MD; and Barrett Fromme, MD, MHPE

Session summary

A group of physician-mothers from multiple academic children’s hospitals came together in a storytelling format to discuss topics relating to being a parent and pediatric hospitalist. Through short and poignant stories, the presenters shared their experiences and reviewed recent literature and policy changes relating to the topic. This mini-plenary focused on three themes:

1. Easing the transition back to work after the birth of a child.

2. Coping with the tension between being a parent and pediatrician.

3. The role that divisions, departments, and institutions can play in supporting parents and promoting workplace engagement.

The session concluded with a robust question-and-answer portion where participants built upon the themes above and shared their own experiences as pediatric hospitalist parents.

Key takeaways

  • “Use your voice.” Physicians who are parents must continue having conversations about the challenging aspects of being a parent and hospitalist and advocate for the changes they would like to see.
  • There will always be tension as a physician parent, but we can learn to embrace it while also learning how to ask for help, set boundaries, and share when we are struggling.
  • There are numerous challenges for hospitalists who are parents because of poor parental leave policies in the United States, but this is slowly changing. For example, starting in July 2021, the ACGME mandated 6 weeks of parental leave during training without having to extend training.
  • “You are not alone.” The presenters emphasized that their reason for hosting this session was to shed light on this topic and let all pediatric hospitalist parents know that they are not alone in this experience.

Dr. Scott is a second-year pediatric hospital medicine fellow at New York–Presbyterian Columbia/Cornell. Her academic interests are in curriculum development and evaluation in medical education with a focus on telemedicine.

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