My sweet oldest daughter Sarah learned today that she passed her national boards, making her a Board Certified Family Physician. That test, which was nine hours long, is the last hurdle for Sarah besides officially finishing her residency in September. Right now she is half way through the last of the truly tough rotations. She is the senior resident at the hospital where she works 14 – 16 hour days with one day off a week. Three more weeks is the mantra at this point of this six-week rotation from hell.
Sarah just turned 35 and has been in medical school since she was 27. She has gotten married and had two kids during that time. Luna is four years old; Nico is seventeen months old. Sarah has gotten up every day and done her duty as a medical student/intern/resident as well as wife/mother. She has pushed through obstacle after obstacle to bring her goals to fruition and on lots of occasions, it’s been hard on her. She has had to balance all of her medical duties while rocking a sick baby in the middle of the night or figuring out which school was best for Luna to attend. Gregorio has been right there at her side, helping all along the way, but sometimes babies and little kids just want Mama, and, of course, Mama also wants to be right there for them.
I hope as more women getting into the upper echelons of medicine, there will be real reform in term of medical education. While I understand the whole apprentice approach is critical in a field like medicine, I do not believe that having residents work for 14 – 16 hours for days on end does anybody any good. Sleep deprivation is not healthy, most especially for healthcare practitioners who have such huge levels of responsibility. A more balanced training method is needed, one that nurtures the physician so he/she can better care for his/her patients. I realize I am speaking as a protective mother here, but having watched the medical education system over these past eight years, I can say that some serious changes are needed.
But at this point for Sarah, all I can say is, “Hooray!” Life may actually shift back to a semblance of normal for her in just a few short months.
Of course, I am pleased and proud. As a parent, who wouldn’t be? But more importantly, I feel a deep level of respect for Sarah’s unwavering determination to reach her goal.
Well done, sweet daughter. Well done indeed.
You are almost there.