Category Archives: Group on Women in Family Medicine

Staying Present in Chaos

Sarina Schrager, MD, MS

Sarina Schrager, MD, MS

My house is full of 7th graders; it’s a big party to say goodbye to my son’s friend who is moving away. As I begin to fall asleep over my computer in the home office, I think about the chaotic nature of my job.

Earlier that day I was awoken at 1 am with the news that an obstetrics patient was ruptured, and the resident was going to start Pitocin. Great, I thought, now I won’t have to worry about her anymore and stress out about the planned induction for next week that I probably was not going to be able to go to because of clinic and after-school activities.

I couldn’t sleep after that call, so I went to the hospital at 5 am and worked in the call room until I had to come home to prepare for the 19 children coming to my house after school—all before my patient delivered.

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A Dynamic Equilibrium

Sarina Schrager, MD, MS

Sarina Schrager, MD, MS

The debate about work-life balance seemingly has a life of its own. Every few months there is a new book or blog with the answers. I have two issues with the concept of work-life balance and its meaning in my life. First, most discussion of work-life balance implies that the life part is good, and the work part is bad. We all work too much, so don’t have enough time for “life.” Our conversation revolves around how to do more in less time, how to hire out chores that we don’t enjoy, how to not feel guilty about being away from home. My issue is that this black and white, good and bad, is just not reality. I spent a lot of time training to be a physician. It is a big part of who I am. There are lots of parts of my job that I love to do. It is not inherently bad. In fact, when I am happy at work, I am happier at home and in my life.

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Mentoring Female Residents

Sarina Schrager, MD, MS

Sarina Schrager,
MD, MS

There are many unique aspects to being a female physician. Being a female faculty member brings with it another layer of complexity to the relationships with female residents. As a mentor and role model for female residents, we have a unique responsibility to help shape their future.  Like it or not, our residents look to faculty as not only teachers of medicine but teachers about life as a physician. And, a female physician at that.

The female residents in my program often seek me out to discuss issues not related to their education in family medicine but related instead to how they want their lives to look after residency or how they can balance residency with their current lives.

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