the ebbs and flows of a medical career

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  • #39797
    mum2aaemum2aae
    Participant

    I have just finished my residency and will be working part-time for several months until we relocate for my husband’s fellowship. I plan to take a “sabbatical” year during his fellowship, which really means that I will not work that year. I plan to resume part-time practice when we return to Canada following his fellowship. We have two children aged 2 and 4 who will be thrilled that I will be home more often with them.

    I get lots of positive feedback about my decision when I tell non-medical people and my family, but sometimes I get the sense from my medical colleagues (male and female) that I am committing a sort of professional faux-pax, or worse, professional suicide.

    I am optimistic that this won’t affect my career in the long run, as I plan to maintain CME activity, attend some conferences, continue with some research, and even take a course or two if that is possible.

    Have any of you had a time of “ebb” in your career and then, as your children got older, you resumed a more active role in your career. I know it is never possible to perfectly predict what will happen in the future, but I hope to have a more active role in medicine in the future (and I look forward to that because I enjoy what I do, but want it to play second-fiddle to being a mummy right now and for the next few years).

    I would appreciate any words of wisdom from the more experienced physician-mums here who can look back on their career and family decisions and share with me what they have learned.

    Thank you in advance.

    #39798
    psychpsych
    Participant

    What’s your specialty?

    I took off a year between internship and residency. It was fine but partly because I was still in training. The only comment is I always have to justify in every application the fact that for 1 year I was not covered by malpractice insurance — this is apparently a bad thing — but maybe that will not apply to you in Canada.

    I took off 2 months maternity leave from my private practice in psychiatry and then returned 12 hrs a week for the next 6 months. Now I’m up to 26 hrs a week. That has definitely gone fine.

    I think taking the time off is fine in more relaxed specialties. I think it’s much more difficult in surgical specialties or in very competetive internal medicine groups. My guess is that if you are taking time off, you are going to look for a re-entry job that is either part time or relatively family-friendly full-time, so I can’t see a big reason to fear “career suicide.” What do you want your career to be? I think unless you’re in academic medicine, there’s a lot more flexibility these days and more understanding of people esp women wanting to spend time with their kids. Go for it!

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