The rigors required and the qualifications are the same. The obstacles they face are equally as challenging and just as important. The stakes are just as high. But there is a difference between men and women in medicine that has the potential to make the career trajectory of one quite different to the other. This is that women have children, and so begins the undoubted challenging of balancing motherhood with a career in medicine. Sadly, the job just doesn’t respect the new family you are building, and it is going to remain as tough as ever.
But then, healthcare professionals from those working in physician to registered nurse jobs are usually quite convinced they have a specific calling to helping the sick. Over the many years of med school or training – and faced with the realities of working in healthcare today – most healthcare professionals have recognized they have the stuff to keep working long hours in one of the most vital jobs in society. That, in itself, is no small feat. But the next challenge could be motherhood.
Motherhood and Medicine
To tackle the challenge of raising kids and working as a healthcare professional, it is important to understand the unique case of medicine as regards balancing a job and children. There are a few things that make medicine specific. For example, a common path of balancing work and family is to have kids early and then establish a career. This is unfortunately pretty rare within medicine, with the rigors of a medical education standing in the way first and the establishment of a fledgling career afterwards. Most healthcare professionals have their kids after establishing their careers.
What this means is that the professional adapts to become a mother (not the other way around) and medical careers being as demanding as they are, it might seem that there is little time left over to work on being a parent.
However, millions of healthcare professionals pull this off. It is a matter of some toughness and resilience, but it’s also about asking for what you need in order to balance motherhood and medicine.
What a Mother Needs
When trying to decide what you might require to strike a proper balance between working and parenting, it’s important to think of who you’re getting it from.
On the one hand, there should certainly be some provision for mothers at your place of work. This will allow you to take maternity leave and schedule more amenable hours – a nightshift and motherhood are a bad combo.
One the other hand, you can look to support outside of your place of work, which can be anything from the cooperation of a partner or the enlistment of childcare services, nannies, and babysitters. When you begin to set things out like this, you will soon realize you have a lot of options.
Moreover, in some cases, you should insist upon them.
Make the Market Work to Your Advantage
As it happens, insisting upon them might be easier now than it has ever been. If you are an established professional, or if you are going for a new job, you will be dealing with employers currently desperate for talent. Health Jobs Nationwide, a recruitment jobs board, describe the current talent market as a job seekers’ market, meaning there is less talent relative to employers.
Accordingly, when you push for certain motherhood-friendly terms at the interview, or when you are negotiating with your boss, you could often find yourself in the stronger position.
Motherhood requires a great deal of commitment and time. Ditto medicine. You need to make it work somehow.