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Are You a Wasted Woman Physician?

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I'm appalled to think of all the talent, education and experience "going to waste" simply because the medical community hasn't come up with a decent work-from-home or work-part-time solution for highly intelligent, highly schooled women who are forced out of their professions in order to have a life.

No, not that kind!

For years, I've been a lurker member and occasional contributor to a number of physician networking sites such as MomMD, The Heart of Medicine (formerly Finding Meaning in Medicine) and Sermo.

As I read the often painful and conflicted contributions, especially those of women physician members, it occurs to me we're confronting a tragic situation.

Not just the frustration and disillusionment of so many unhappy doctors. That I've been aware of for some time.

It occurs to me we're confronting an epidemic of WASTE.

Many female physicians, from medical school onwards, are having children. And a certain percentage of mommy docs are quitting medical practice in order to stay home and raise their kids. Some women physicians are forced to quit medical practice simply because they are confronting the challenge of caring for ill parents or family members. And some are burned out.

"Some" includes me. I'm a woman physician-turned-mommy doc who, once I gave birth, chose to transition to a new physician career by building a business that didn't require me to leave the house at 7 a.m.

It's apparent from the discussion boards that these decisions don't come easily. They are fraught with guilt, concern over loss of identity, altered financial status -- how do you repay a $200,000 medical school loan with no income? -- even boredom. I know that watching "Cinderella" for the fourth time or hanging out at the park with toddlers and their moms can be tedious at times.

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I'm appalled to think of all that talent, education and experience "going to waste" simply because we haven't come up with the decent work-from-home or work-part-time options these intelligent, highly schooled women deserve.

I don't know many professional women who are now stay-at-home moms who want nothing to do with using their training and expertise for the next 15 to 25 years.

To that end, I have started a new project at Women Leaving Medicine. Because I don't have all the answers and still don't have all the information, I am deliberately making this blog available to anyone who wants to add her story and/or her personal solutions. I want to explore this topic long before proposing solutions.

In time, I hope to have a strong dynamic community so that our voices can be heard by those who are interested in tapping into your physician skills and education for the betterment of society, while letting you get on with parenting, care-taking or home-making.

Will you help me?

Hop on over and check us out. Or let your female physician colleagues know about us.


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