Many procedural and surgically-oriented fields in medicine are still male-dominated. Take interventional radiology (IR), for example. This is the field I practice in. Comprised of more than 90% men, it is easy to see why female med students and residents have shied away from IR in the past. It’s intimidating, and they’re told they can’t have work-life balance. I want to change that narrative, and help make my specialty (and others like it) more welcoming to women by sharing my story.
There were no female role models in my specialty in medical school or residency. I wondered what life would look like, should I pursue the field I was most interested in. That’s why I write about my experience. I aim to demystify what it’s like to live this life: to be a woman in a surgically-oriented field, a physician leader, and a mom on call.
As a female doctor, you stand out, especially in male-dominated fields. This can increase the intimidation factor for many fields classically known as “boys’ clubs, like IR and surgery. It’s part of the reason I hid my interest in IR when I was in training. It felt easier to hide, so I wouldn’t be as vulnerable. But I realized I needed to step out of the shadows and grab control of my future. I want to encourage you to stop hiding too.
People told me I should go into a field in radiology with better hours, where I could diagnose from 8 to 5, and get home to my family, which was just a faint dream at that time. Who even knew if a family would materialize? On the other hand, I knew I’d be an IR from the time I was introduced to the field. Unfortunately, trainees can be swayed from their true path by well-intentioned advisors.
So my goal with this website is to help those who know what they want to do, but are discouraged in subtle and overt ways. Don’t listen to the guy who hears your plan and says, “Yeah, right.” Listen to the guy who says, “Of course you can.” You can pursue your career of choice and find your own balance.
IR Symposia are held around the country, giving students exposure to our field. If there is a Women in IR component, the same questions often come up again and again. Some examples include:
“Is it safe to perform fluoroscopy while pregnant?”
“What is maternity leave like for an IR?”
“What are the major deterrents keeping women from becoming interventional radiologists?”
“How do you balance work and family responsibilities?”
“What advice would you give to a woman going into a male-dominated specialty?”
These are some of the topics I address on this blog. I hope to provide a sampling of what life is like on the other side of training.
How do you approach maternity leave, or negotiate your pay? How do you become Section Chief, or face setbacks? I share to show an example of what’s possible as a woman in a male-dominated field.
Please share your thoughts & experiences in the comments. We could all use a little support. Beyond the blog, you can connect with me and others like me on Twitter, IG, and IRL. Welcome to the Tired Superheroine community.
Also, sign up for my private Facebook group, Tired Superheroines, which can be found here.
If you (or someone you know) is navigating their early career in medicine– as a premed, in medical school, or even as a resident, check out my new book, Save Lives, Enjoy Your Own. You can get a signed special edition of the book by clicking here.
This book is about how to transform into a confident physician through finding your people… and your rightful place in medicine.
This book is written for you, especially if you’re eyeing the surgically-oriented and traditionally male-dominated fields like IR and surgery. That said, the book has value for all women in medicine (& the guys should really read it, too).
Best of all, when you buy a book for a mentee or friend, you’ll support a woman in medicine, which will have ripple effects for years to come. Your action could affect hundreds if not thousands of lives. So buy a book, save a life!
...and perfect is the enemy of good.
These concepts in medicine & parenting are parallel.
The Why of Tired Superheroine Many procedural and surgically-oriented fields in medicine are still male-dominated. Take interventional radiology (IR), for example. This is the field I practice in. Comprised of more than 90% men, it is easy to see why female med students and residents have shied away from IR in the past. It’s intimidating, and […]
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