How ridiculous that women’s medicine wasn’t even on my radar as I headed in to this year. Of course I was meant to love obstetrics and gynecology. My path is still set for family medicine (5 year surgical residencies don’t play well with family life), but I had a great 6 weeks and this rotation. This is a field charged with emotion and urgency. Delivering babies is still risky business in 2015.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a people watcher. Personality, presence, influence, subtle nuances, manipulations ~ people play out like tapestries in my mind’s eye. In every crowd, there are those who define their spot in the tapestry. They are anchors in the design, focal points, geometric centres from which colours and patterns play out. They define leadership and influence in our world. It is no wonder then, that my obs-gyne rotation, full of excellent surgeons and strong leaders, gave me something unexpected.
Let me first introduce you to our lead preceptor. Whether it is the operating room or the classroom, when Dr. Odulio walks in, she owns it. Her manner, her voice and her presence are always compelling but never abrasive. Her demeanor is unwaveringly pleasant. (How does she do that?) She takes her role as a mentor seriously and she expects that you are equally serious about your role as a student. She thinks quickly and she expects you to keep up. What comes naturally to her is positive reinforcement. In her teaching sessions, she doesn’t punish, but she also has little interest in lazy learners. You want to know the answers to her questions not for fear of negative consequences if you don’t, but because she rewards those who do with her attention. And there is just something about her that makes everyone want her attention.
And then there is Dr. Johnson. Her manner was equally appealing to me. Her personality and her background played a role, but without a doubt it was her unerringly cool composure that impressed me the most. In fact, it was the composure of both these women that impressed me. I never saw them rattled, rushed, or edgy. So solid. At all times.
Most of all, they designed their lives and their careers with intent. They define their workspaces with grace. These are the kind of mentors every woman, at every age, needs.
To be honest I haven’t seen a practice yet that looks exactly like what I am looking for and it has been an undercurrent of concern for me. I hope it gives these ladies pleasure to know that of all the things they gave me (knowledge not the least), I feel like they have given me newfound encouragement that I may be to define my career in the only way that won’t suffocate me: On my own terms.
I still can’t quite visualize the future I am working toward, but I feel like I was given a piece of the puzzle in this last rotation. I’ve got this…and it’s getting more exciting.
Next up: Pediatrics!