I still get a bit nauseous when I say that I left my job...
Please allow me to introduce myself: I am a pediatrician and a mom of two boys (ages 3 and 5). Why does saying that I left my job make me nauseous? Not because it wasn't the right thing to do, but it is scary leaving the "identity" that I had established for myself at the ripe age of 12 when I decided I was going to be a pediatrician and "help children".
Can any of you relate? I chose my career at an age when I understood nothing about the medical field and I never gave it a second thought. There is such a straight-line, drawn out for you path into medicine that I never really had to think about it. AP classes in HS - check; college - check; medical school - check; residency - check; find a job - check.
I did it all very well actually - be asked to be chief resident - check; achieve lead physician in first practice within a year - check; become founding physician and ultimately medical director of second practice (that grew to 5 docs and an NP in under 4 years) - check.
One problem... something was missing --- I hate to admit that I didn't love my career. Don't get me wrong, I loved my patients and I gave them everything I had BUT something was missing. About a year ago I realized I needed to figure out what it was... I am only now just 39 years old and I couldn't spend the next 25 years not LOVING my life every day. I did some soul searching...
- why did I choose medicine at the age of 12? Because I truly want to help and make a difference in the lives of children. Did I feel I was REALLY doing that everyday in primary care pediatrics... NO. At least not in the way I wanted to.
- to help bring me back to purpose I enrolled in a peaceful parenting coaching program. At the time I thought it would be useful in the office and would certainly help ME with my own children.
That decision changed the course of my life. First, my relationships at home (which I thought were pretty good) are now amazing (mostly because of shifts that I made in myself). Second, I found my passion! One problem, there is NO ROOM in modern medicine for this type of work - not if you are going to be financially successful as a practice. Although I believe with all of my heart that the work I am doing will have a more long term positive effect on my patients it just doesn't fit into the 10-15 minute office visit - at least not in a meaningful and sustainable way. Helping families (specifically high achieving professional mom's like myself) with parenting and establishing work-life balance is my passion.
So, I did it. On January 31st I saw my last patient in my practice... I have been the primary financial provider for my family for 5 years so this was not an easy decision BUT how much time do I spend doing something that doesn't fulfill me? I needed to get me (TIFFANIE) back. I want my children to know the happy, fulfilled woman who I know resides inside of me. I want to be an example for my children that following your passion is what life is about...
I hope a chronicle of my journey and leap of faith can be beneficial to some of the other mommd members. We, female physicians, are a special group of women and I'm glad to have found this site.
And if anyone wants to discuss parenting, please send me a message - I'd love to chat (for free) about my philosphies and what you want for your own family!
For today --- it is a whole new world. Instead of walking from room to room seeing 30 patients I will be --- putting the finishing touches on my group program, attending a networking event, meeting with my coach, and taking my boys to the beach for a couple of hours (it is going to be 80 degrees here in SC today!). Wish me luck
Good luck! I hope you are able to make a meaningful difference for the families in your area.
The only thing I would say is to consider working as a pediatrician on a very part-time basis (once a month?) to keep your skills up and to avoid being considered inactive, so that you will not have any problems if you ever decide to do clinical medicine again. Maybe you will never need those skills again, but they are still an important asset.