Happy National Women Physician’s Day


Yesterday was National Women Physician’s Day. Today I share a letter that was shared with me a few years ago (1999) by a colleague and find it interesting how so much of what is written still remains true. Including the not so fun parts of medicine. Here’s to us making a change… one physician at a time.

🌼Those who went to medical school didn’t do it for the salary. Business school would have been a financially savvier path for that.Many physicians are still paying what amounts to a second mortgage to their loans 10 and 20 years out of training.

🌼The training for physicians is long. On average 4 years post college degree and then 3-10 years after medical school for internship, residency, fellowships….11-18 years of school and training after high school to take care of people.

🌼Despite this extensive training, there are messages in the community, on social media, and in our political houses, that others can do our work without that training.

🌼The Latin root of “doctor” means to teach. And we do. We taught medical students and residents in training. We teach each-other and of course we teach our patients. Learning and teaching are fundamental to the caring that we do.

🌼Physicians learn to compartmentalize emotions, especially fear and sorrow, which is protective for the work we need to do. Unfortunately, sometimes that makes it harder to tap into those internal spaces when we are with our families.

🌼We have held hands as people have died. We have cradled babies as they are born. We have looked into the eyes of patients we cannot bear to tell horrible news.

🌼We have been thanked, and we have been yelled at. We have been told we are amazing. And we have had people snap at us that we are not enough, our options don’t work for them, that we don’t care.

🌼We have been threatened or assaulted by patients.

🌼We have been told that we are not treating pain adequately and that we are also the problem for opiate addiction.

🌼Physicians spend more time clicking on computers than we do in direct patient care. And we don’t love that. Refill and Insurance authorization, note taking, forms completed, care by telephone, administrative requirements…all unpaid work. We suffer this because that is what we have to do to take care of our patients.

🌼We are trying to do better, always.

🌼”Part Time” for physicians is considered 40 hours a week. Full time is a million hours. Give or take.

🌼We are asked to do more, always.

🌼We are a team. Physicians, whether we work in different clinics or specialties, and despite who our employer is, or if we are self employed, are connected. When we share patients, we all share in their health. When our peers suffer, so too do we all.


On National Women Physician’s Day, and EVERYDAY, I am proud to be in this group. I’m proud to have the letters after my name, the training, the numerous years of experience post medical school.

I would do it all over again.