EP 37: Women in Medicine

Episode Description:
This week, the Hope4Med podcast features a sports medicine/lifestyle medicine physician/coach in New York who has a story to tell about being a woman in the sports medicine world. She overcame negativity and doubt on her path to achieving her dream of becoming a sports medicine physician, emerging more resilient than before. She shares how she learned to balance being a mother, a wife, and a physician while still prioritizing self-care for her own physical and mental wellness. We also discuss student loan burden and how it contributes to feelings of burnout.

Transcript:
[00:00:00] Dr. JB: Welcome to Hope4Med.

[00:00:03] Welcome to the Hope4Med podcast with me, Dr. JB, as your host. Today’s featured guest is a sports medicine/lifestyle medicine physician coach in New York. Welcome to the show!

[00:00:15] Dr. N: Thank you so much for having me, Dr. JB.

[00:00:17] Dr. JB: So I love starting from the beginning of people’s stories, so please share with my listener. Tell me your origin story.

[00:00:25] Dr. N: Yeah, so I became interested in going to medical school I would say partly in high school. I had an idea that I wanted to be an eye doctor at the time, I think I was debating whether to be an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. And then I went to college and learned more about what optometry was versus ophthalmology and being a physician, and decided that I wanted to set my sights on becoming a physician. So in college I really focused in on being pre-med and getting into medical school. So when I was in college, I took all the pre-med classes and made it through, really studied hard. I was also a two sport athlete in college, so I really just buckled down after my first trimester, having kind of the normal college experience and not getting the grades I needed to, I really had to get serious about my studies. So I was either on the athletic field or studying in the library almost all the time, and I got through it. It wasn’t easy.

[00:01:33] And along the way in college, I had a pre-med advisor. I think every student who said that they were pre-med had an advisor and in particular, mine was a female advisor who also ran a course that I loved. And so I would meet with her from time to time, not super often, but I remember a particular time when she called me in for a meeting and we were talking about medicine. And I said that I wanted to go to medical school and she really made a statement like, ” I think that you’re better suited with going to something like podiatry school or optometry school or one of the other types of schools rather than medical school.” And the reason that she gave me at the time was that I was just too, something like I was just too active or she couldn’t see, you know, because I was an athlete and she thought that maybe this would fit into my lifestyle better than medical school. And I was like– I looked up to her in a way because she was a great professor, I took a course that I really loved, and I was really disappointed by that statement, by that suggestion and it affected me for a really long time. And I really thought that she kind of like pushed me off and almost gave up on me, as far as going to medical school. And I don’t remember getting much help from her. I did everything on my own, I ended up taking a year between college and medical school, and one of the reasons for that is another one of the discouraging situations that I had.

[00:03:12] So when I was a senior in college, I took a term abroad to Spain and it was my, I think it was the winter term, I was at a school that had trimesters, and I went to Spain and I absolutely had the most wonderful experience and loved it. And when I came back, I had a couple of interviews for medical school. I went to the one medical school that I was interviewing for, for the interview on campus and met with the Dean. And the Dean sat me down and had a meeting and really disparaged me for having gone on a term abroad during the year that I was applying to medical schools and told me it was a bad decision, and didn’t admit me, to be honest, but during the interview, he really just harped on the fact that he was almost taken aback by the fact that I had had the nerve to go on a term abroad during my senior year, while I was applying to medical school. As if I had not given going to medical school the importance of it needed.

[00:04:10] Dr. JB: Wait, I don’t understand that at all. So were you abroad and therefore you weren’t able to attend your interviews or what was the problem?

[00:04:22] Dr. N: Well, yeah, I set up an interview when I got home. So I’m sure that the interview season had been going on, but certainly they granted me an interview and I was home for it and I went to the interview. But he flat out said that it was the wrong choice and I never should have done that. Now my defense to that, and I told him was, hey, listen, I went to Spain, it’s my minor in college and there is a rapidly growing Spanish-speaking population in this country and I feel that I’m much better able to serve that population with my increased Spanish language speaking skills that I got while I was abroad.

[00:05:09] Dr. JB: Yeah, that’s true.

[00:05:11] Dr. N: And like just ignored it. And by the way, this interview was in south Florida, so like, it couldn’t have been more ironic in my mind, but I went outside, I was crying. I mean, I was like devastated and I did not get into medical school that year. I only had, I believe two interviews and the other school wait-listed me, but didn’t give me that kind of grief at all. Like I don’t think they even, they didn’t make it negative at all, you know, I got in the following year, but that was a really, really gut wrenching and just, it shook me, that experience, and I just doubted myself so much.

[00:05:59] Dr. JB: So how did you overcome all these negative experiences with these people that were supposed to be advising you? How did you overcome and apply?

[00:06:12] Dr. N: Yeah, I mean, I just didn’t give up. That’s all I can say is, like as upsetting, especially the second one was very upsetting to me. The first one was just, I just felt like that person just gave up on me, and so for my advisor in college, well, let me just prove that person wrong. And, I had been an athlete throughout college and high school, obviously, and I had always found a way to study and play sports and have social life, so I figured, okay, I found a way and I could find a way again. And then with the medical school interview, I just was like I can’t– I just chalked it up to somebody that was really on a power trip and not understanding what I had to offer. So I didn’t apply to that school again and I moved on, because I still use Spanish to this day. It’s still useful, and it would be even more useful if I was a better Spanish speaker.

[00:07:26] Dr. JB: If you’d spent more time in Spain.

[00:07:29] Dr. N: Yeah, exactly. It’s just so ironic, but just so like shattering at that moment in time. So how did I get over it? I think I just said, well, I have to pick up the pieces and go on and let’s see if I can do this.

[00:07:49] Dr. JB: I wonder how being an athlete helped you.

[00:07:53] Dr. N: Yeah. I mean, because you lose all the time when you play sports, right? You learn how to fail. And you learn how to just like put your game face on the next time and get in there. I mean, there’s always a chance you could win if you don’t give up before the end, so yeah, I think it helps. Which brings about a third story actually, which was actually my second story until I remembered the other one. When I was in residency, I did a family medicine residency, and I knew I was interested in sports medicine because I was always interested in sports, being an athlete myself, and I just loved being around athletes. I had a physician, a sports medicine physician, come to my residency and give us some type of workshop about sports medicine. And afterwards, I was super excited and my program director had a connection with this particular physician, so I was like, oh, this is great. So I went up to him after the conference and I said, oh, with regards to getting into fellowship for sports medicine, I said, does it help to be an athlete? And he like looked at me like I was some, like I had said something ridiculous. And he was like, “no.” Just like that. And I was like, felt so small and like I had asked the dumbest question that anybody had ever asked in the history of the world, and I just like walked away and I was like, oh gosh, how could I have asked that, you know, like doubting myself. But you know what I would say to him now is that, listen, buddy, it clearly does help. Like I’m living it now and it helps to be able to relate to people, especially young athletes and older athletes. I guess I shouldn’t say especially young athletes, but I mean, any athlete, anybody that goes out and you don’t even have to consider yourself an athlete, if you’re going out there and getting some physical activity and you get injured or have some type of dysfunction related to it, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I know how it can affect you negatively and how you might be thinking, so it does 100% help.

[00:10:14] Dr. JB: Oh 100%, of course.

[00:10:18] Dr. N: Yeah, it’s just, so yeah.

[00:10:20] Dr. JB: I don’t know if I understand how that person could have said that it didn’t help at all. I mean, it clearly helps.

[00:10:29] Dr. N: I don’t either, but to be honest, this is real life. This is what happened. And I was like, you know, like, talk about doubting yourself. Wow. I was like, oh my gosh, why would I think that? Why would I think that? Because it’s true.

[00:10:43] Dr. JB: Because it’s a fact.

[00:10:45] Dr. N: So, I think that’s where academia and athletics can clash, and there are still people– obviously you have to be a great student and have great dedication and study your craft, in this case, sports medicine and family medicine, but that stigma that people have that “well, geez, you’re out there exercising, you must not be studying.” So there are certainly all these types of, these thoughts that go through people’s head. I won’t even say it’s a stereotype, but maybe it is, where, “oh, well, if you have the time to go out and play soccer or go for a run or be on any type of organized sport or even just go to the gym, well, then you must not be studying enough.” I think there was a lot of that going around, even in sports medicine. Wasn’t any different than any other fellowship that you might be trying to get into where I think medicine, at that time at least, was, “you better be studying at all times or else you’re not showing the dedication to the academics that you need.”

[00:11:54] Dr. JB: And what are your thoughts about that? Do you think that’s actually legit?

[00:11:58] Dr. N: No, I don’t. I mean, one of the things that I’ve learned, I wouldn’t say I learned it in coaching, but I think it was cemented because I may not have put the actual words to the thoughts, but I always knew that if you give yourself a certain amount of time to do something, you’ll get it done. And so if I gave myself 20 hours a day to study, it would take me 20 hours a day. But if I go play a soccer game, and I only have, I don’t know, let’s say eight hours, which is ridiculous anyway, but let’s say I have eight hours and somebody else’s studying 20 hours, well, I think I’m going to get that studying done in the eight hours that somebody else takes 20 hours to do because they went to Dunkin’ Donuts five times or whatever. So I think that there’s a concept of time that, even with working out, you’ll get it done in whatever time you give yourself to get it done, because you’ll be focused to get it done in that amount of time.

[00:12:57] Dr. JB: And you’re more efficient with your time.

[00:12:59] Dr. N: Exactly. It’s just, it’s when you have, when you’re well-rounded, let’s say, or you have multiple other things to do, you’re not just doing one thing, you are more efficient with each and every one of those things. I mean, there’s countless stories of people who have jobs going through medical school, maybe one, maybe two jobs, like me playing a sport and doing medical school, maybe having a job, there’s so many stories of people like that. And it’s not because we’re like superhumans, it’s because like, I said before, you’re just more efficient with your time.

[00:13:39] Dr. JB: And what sport did you play?

[00:13:42] Dr. N: I was playing a lot of soccer and I’ve recently gone back to playing soccer, too.

[00:13:48] Dr. JB: Exercise is so key in terms of your wellbeing, and for somebody to degrade the fact that you’re, or berate the fact that you’re out there exercising and optimizing your health is ridiculous, especially in healthcare.

[00:14:08] Dr. N: Yeah, exactly. I mean, we both know, and I’m sure all the listeners know, that for years and years and years, it’s not until I would say the recent years that we’re finally starting to give the importance to self care in medicine as physicians. it’s just we have to take care of ourselves and being physically active can be a huge part of that. There are so many positive effects to being physically active or even just giving yourself whatever type of self care that serves you is paramount to not getting burned out or at least decreasing our mood, you know, it enhances our mood, it can help decrease stress, as we spoke about, it can help us be more efficient with our time. So I think that the benefits of self care can’t be overstated.

[00:15:11] Dr. JB: And going back to all these different incidences that you’ve listed, where people doubted your ability to continue pursuing a career in medicine, or go down the path of sports medicine. All of these examples, and the fact that you currently are working in sports medicine, really shows that you have a tremendous amount of resiliency.

[00:15:43] Dr. N: Yeah. Yeah, like I said, I didn’t, it wasn’t that it wasn’t a struggle and it’s not that I was like, I didn’t just brush it off. It affected me. It was tough emotionally, but in some ways I would say it propelled me to just prove to myself, I would say, that I can do it.

[00:16:13] Dr. JB: Yeah. Because the definition of resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulties, right? From setbacks. And this conversation is providing some examples of some of the setbacks that we experience as we’re going through trying to become healthcare professionals. There’s the external world that doubts our abilities, there’s our own internal negativity and negative thoughts that doubt our abilities. And we have to overcome all of that to get to that end goal.

[00:16:50] Dr. N: Yeah. And going back to what you had said earlier in the conversation, I think being an athlete and being, especially, I did team sports, but earlier in my high school career, I did some track activity and so I had some experience with individual sports as well, and just having the ability to get back out there after a loss can help with being resilient, I would say, in your life as well.

[00:17:20] Dr. JB: Because we’re going to have losses. This isn’t an easy path. And even once you get there and you’re practicing, life isn’t easy.

[00:17:29] Dr. N: No, there’s always the 50/50, where you have, no matter what’s happening, you’re not going to always have positive emotions.

[00:17:38] Dr. JB: And so, one of the arguments that I’ve made is that the path to becoming a healthcare professional is hard. It’s uphill, uphill, both ways, if you want to quote some of the elders and walking that path forces us to develop resiliency.

[00:17:58] Dr. N: Yes.

[00:17:59] Dr. JB: And so we are a resilient breed.

[00:18:02] Dr. N: Yes, for sure. And I think in the past, the resilience has been, as you said, forced. You would kind of push through your pain and not pay attention to it and just kind of bulldoze your way through. And that ended up not working out in the end, a lot of burnout, a lot of really bad results, and it’s finally coming to a head where we are realizing that we can’t ignore the negative experiences we have that bring up really negative emotion. It’s not that we’re going to make everything positive, but we have to process it and deal with it and get help when we need it, or give ourselves the ability to take care of ourselves in whatever way we can, rather than resisting or avoiding that negative, you know, the failures or the negative experiences.

[00:19:13] Dr. JB: There’s always so much that can be learned from failure. It’s an opportunity to make some adjustments, right? People view failing as woe is me, this is the worst thing that could’ve ever happened to me, but there’s so much benefit from failure if you look at it right. Like what are the lessons that I can learn from this experience that I can incorporate into my tomorrow to make tomorrow better?

[00:19:46] Dr. N: Right. I mean, a common saying, and truth, is you either win or you learn. There’s no such thing as failure, you win or you learn. And certainly, I’ve learned from those experiences that I’ve described, but also from other failures that I’ve had. You learn. I mean, if you fail an exam, study harder next time, you learn from your mistakes. So it’s the same thing in life.

[00:20:17] Dr. JB: So you did it, you applied, you took a year off, you applied, you got into medical school. When you went into medical school, did you always know that you wanted to do something sports medicine related?

[00:20:34] Dr. N: I don’t know that at the beginning of medical school that I even knew about, I’m a primary care sports medicine physician, so I don’t even know that I knew that that existed and I didn’t know what field I wanted to go into. I always had some type of, I guess I always had ophthalmology in the back of my mind, but I always loved sports, so I was definitely I would say always seeking out games and leagues and so, I was heavily involved in that light and it came naturally to me when I, there was a sports medicine club in my medical school and I joined that right away. And then that’s when I think I learned about sports medicine and was like, yeah, that’s for me.

[00:21:24] Dr. JB: And so when you decided to do sports medicine, was there a lot of other females that went down that path with you?

[00:21:31] Dr. N: That’s a good question. I don’t remember who was in the club, I think there were a good amount of females that were in that club, but as far as anybody from my medical school that applied for a sports medicine fellowship, well, actually it would have been from my residency, but I didn’t have anybody in my, you know, I had a small residency for family medicine and I think there was a woman a few years after me that did it, but I didn’t know any women at that time. The only people that I had contact with when I was in residency were male orthopedic surgeons. I didn’t have a female sports medicine physician, either orthopedic surgery or primary care, that I could look up to or anything like that.

[00:22:16] Dr. JB: And how was that experience for you?

[00:22:20] Dr. N: Well, when I went to the interview for the program that I eventually got a fellowship in, several of the attendings that were going to be teaching me were women, so that was really good. But other than that, when I actually got to fellowship, I mean, it certainly presented some interesting issues, and I wasn’t the first woman to go through, I’m not going to say that, but it’s just that you still get comments and some pushback or difficulty with being in the locker room at halftime or after the game or what have you. It wasn’t a hundred percent the same as being a male, let’s put it that way. There was still some stigma attached to a woman being around male athletes at times.

[00:23:14] Dr. JB: And since you’ve been working in sports medicine, has that changed?

[00:23:21] Dr. N: I would say it has changed for the better. Is it all gone? No. But certainly since the early two thousands, there have been changes as far as just more extent and it’s much more common for females to be in orthopedics or sports medicine all around. I mean, not just as physicians either, as athletic trainers, as physical therapy, so I think that it just continues to get better.

[00:23:56] Dr. JB: And when you’ve been going through this process of schooling and fellowship, did you at any point ever experienced any symptoms of burnout?

[00:24:06] Dr. N: Yeah, I mean, fellowship, I would say no, but because I just loved it so much. Residency, I don’t remember it being too bad. I would say it mostly as an attending, just dealing with student loan burden has caused some of my feelings of burnout. And I would say, I realize more now than ever that being a woman in a practice with men over the years has contributed to some feelings of burnout.

[00:24:48] Dr. JB: Could you elaborate a little bit about how the student loan burden and being the only female is contributing to feelings of burnout?

[00:24:55] Dr. N: Yeah, so the student loans, I just, there’s so much, it’s a huge amount and I know I just attached some thought to that, but I had a lot of students, high amount of student loans and I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I don’t know that I still can. It just feels like I’m going to be paying them forever and like, well, when am I going to be able to stop working? And so I constantly had the money scarcity mindset, fighting for more money and having feelings of just being stuck because I didn’t feel like I have an option to not work. I am the only breadwinner in my household because I made more money and we don’t have any family around here, so my husband stays home and gets my daughter to her practices and things like that. So the student loans have been the biggest contributor to any burnout that I have just because when you feel like you can’t change or you can’t stop something, you, I automatically feel like I’m just stuck and that’s not, it’s just not a good feeling.

[00:26:21] And then being a woman in a man’s world, I mean, for instance, when I had my first child, I had to go back to work at six weeks and it was hard. It was really hard. And they were just like, well figure it out. There was definitely no compassion. And at the time my husband was still working, so my daughter went to daycare at six weeks and so she got sick a few times. And so then what would happen when she got sick? Well, we’d have to, my husband and I, would quick have to call my mother to come down and she lived two hours away and just wasn’t a very smooth transition at all. And there was no compassion, there was no helping to figure it out. It was just like, well, you gotta be back at work at six weeks, so just do it, put her in daycare. So, I think that, that was one of the biggies with being the only woman physician in a practice with all male physicians.

[00:27:31] Dr. JB: No, I’m sure that was so hard to put your baby in daycare at six weeks.

[00:27:37] Dr. N: It was. Yeah.

[00:27:43] Dr. JB: And is that when you decided to have a conversation with your husband and you guys decided that he would be a stay-at-home dad?

[00:27:50] Dr. N: Well it wasn’t right away, that’s for sure. I mean, we struggled for, I think he stayed working until she was almost, well, I think she was about two, and we just reached a breaking point where we were like, all right, this is not working. Then I actually had a child who passed away in that time, who was 10 months old when he passed away. And–

[00:28:19] Dr. JB: I’m so sorry.

[00:28:22] Dr. N: Yeah. So we had moved upstate, nearer to my family, and I think he was still trying to work at that time and after that, we moved back down here, back down two hours from my family. And we were like, all right, this is not happening anymore. So he stayed, he decided that he was going to stay home and we were going to, that was going to be what we did because we didn’t have anybody as far as family around to kind of pick up the slack if our daughter got sick. And it didn’t seem worth it for him to be driving two hours each way, really stressed, and have us both come home and you know, the economics didn’t work out too well either, because you’re spending a lot of money on daycare, and both stressed and coming home. So, it was around that time that we decided that he was going to stay home. But it wasn’t like right away, and we tried to grind through it, so…

[00:29:38] Dr. JB: Wow. You’ve gone through so much.

[00:29:41] Dr. N: Yeah. It has not been, certainly hasn’t like we said earlier, it hasn’t been smooth. I’ve certainly had a lot of failures along the way, and not that that was a failure, that was just something that we had to go through.

[00:29:57] Dr. JB: So when your baby died at 10 months, were you able to take time off?

[00:30:06] Dr. N: I took, I think it was a total of two weeks, which I mean, clearly was not, probably not the best thing to do, but we’re going through a lot of financial strife at that time, too. And I was the only one working and that’s what happened. I went back to work, I think it was two to three weeks later.

[00:30:39] Dr. JB: Oh, wow. And so when you took time off, I mean, this position, is this an hourly, is it salaried?

[00:30:51] Dr. N: My current?

[00:30:52] Dr. JB: Where you were working.

[00:30:54] Dr. N: Oh, up there. It was salaried.

[00:30:56] Dr. JB: So you were still able to get a paycheck, even if you weren’t physically working?

[00:31:01] Dr. N: Yes.

[00:31:03] Dr. JB: Yeah, because one of the things that we don’t always talk about in terms of how we get reimbursed, some of us are hourly, so if you are not working, you’re not getting paid. There’s no sick days. There’s no vacation days. You get paid if you work. And so if something like, like what you experienced, you had a death in the family and you needed to be off for several weeks, you weren’t making a paycheck for several weeks. And then if you’re the main breadwinner of your family, then that can be detrimental.

[00:31:47] Dr. N: Yeah, I did make a paycheck. Yes, totally I did. Yeah. And I did have paychecks when I was on maternity leave as well.

[00:31:58] Dr. JB: But two weeks to grieve a child.

[00:32:00] Dr. N: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m not going to say it was, I was getting pressure from family as well. Going back to work, when are you —

[00:32:15] Dr. JB: Going back to work after your baby died?

[00:32:17] Dr. N: Yeah.

[00:32:17] Dr. JB: Wow.

[00:32:19] Dr. N: Yeah.

[00:32:19] Dr. JB: And what was the reason behind that?

[00:32:22] Dr. N: Well, they knew I was in financial trouble too. They were quote, unquote, worried about that, that’s the reason that I was getting pressure.

[00:32:32] Dr. JB: Got it. And so since that time, have you been able to process all that you’ve experienced?

[00:32:42] Dr. N: Oh yes, yes.

[00:32:46] Dr. JB: Okay. So you have been able to talk it out and…

[00:32:49] Dr. N: Yeah.

[00:32:49] Dr. JB: Because sometimes we’ll just sweep it under the rug and just keep on going.

[00:32:55] Dr. N: Yeah, I did. I sought some, yeah. I had somebody to talk to, my husband and I talk it out sometimes, coaching has helped too, but that’s been recent.

[00:33:07] Dr. JB: And so are you still working at that same original place or you transitioned?

[00:33:12] Dr. N: Actually, I’m back. I started at this practice that I’m at about 15 years ago and I was only gone for about a year and that was when my son passed away, I came back here and I’ve been back for nine years.

[00:33:30] Dr. JB: Okay. And so with these, when I asked you about things that have contributed to burnout, you listed that it’s the loan burden or the debt burden, which is, which can be huge, averaging about $200,000 in debt nowadays.

[00:33:47] Dr. N: Yeah, mine was more. I still, I think it’s still is more.

[00:33:53] Dr. JB: Well, because of the interest, if you’re not paying interest or you’re not paying anything when you’re in residency, you know, you defer it.

[00:34:02] Dr. N: I didn’t, and I was advised to, and I didn’t.

[00:34:05] Dr. JB: And then you leave and you owe twice as much as when you started.

[00:34:10] Dr. N: I mean, hopefully it wasn’t twice, but yeah, I didn’t pay the interest. Nope.

[00:34:14] Dr. JB: Which is ridiculous. And sometimes we don’t get the best advice, financial advice.

[00:34:20] Dr. N: Well, somebody, I mean, I had physicians advise me, hey, why don’t you at least try to pay your interest? And I didn’t. So I can’t say that, I did have some advice from other physicians that I, that were mentoring me or whatever, but I don’t think I got great advice leaving medical school.

[00:34:41] Dr. JB: What was the advice you got when you left medical school?

[00:34:43] Dr. N: I don’t even remember having the exit interview. I’m not sure that I did, but I know you’re supposed to. I may have, I just don’t remember it. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking much, let’s put it that way.

[00:34:58] Dr. JB: And so we have this debt burden and then you were one of just, you were the only female at that practice then. Are you still, is that still the case now at your current practice?

[00:35:09] Dr. N: I’m still the only female physician there’s a, physician’s assistant that’s a female, but I’m the only female physician.

[00:35:17] Dr. JB: And with all those experiences, have you been able to, or what are your skills for coping with this reality of still working in a practice where you are the only female?

[00:35:29] Dr. N: Right. So, I think I’m better now about pointing out that, pointing out when there’s a disparity because of gender, but my coping skills could be better. I think coaching and being in a, I’ve been in a program where the coach does coach on burnout for about a year and a half now, and that certainly has helped to be in a community of women physicians who talk about different types of, different issues that have caused burnout and a lot of them are the same, no matter what specialty we’re in, or a lot of us have the same issues to deal with, maybe a slightly different scenario, but still comes back to the same issue. So that has certainly helped me to process different situations that come up and deal with it.

[00:36:23] Dr. JB: And what are some of those similarities you found between other female physicians?

[00:36:27] Dr. N: I think fighting or having discussions about salary, showing our value, showing how we can actually be more valuable. In my case, I think showing that being a female will, a lot of females want to see another female as a physician, especially in sports. So certainly fostering women’s sport medicine atmosphere and bringing femininity to medicine has helped. I mean, some people appreciate that and that and so I bring that out.

[00:37:05] Dr. JB: And how do you go about balancing? So you’re a mom, you’re a wife, you’re the main breadwinner of the family. How do you balance all that?

[00:37:18] Dr. N: I give myself a lot of time. Like I structure, I think the way that I make it work for me is that I make sure I go to bed early and I get up really early to do what I want to do, which is exercise. And so I plan my days around me and I find that it works really well for me because I wake up, I get my exercise done, which is exactly what I want to do. I go to work. And when I get out of work, I am free to go to my daughter’s game or pick her up or come home and maybe make dinner or whatever else I have to do. I find that that works really well for me, is to have the structure of getting myself up early, which for me is not a struggle because I know exactly what I want to do, and getting that stuff done early in the morning, which I love. And then kind of having the evening and afternoon to be a mom or do what do the other things.

[00:38:35] Dr. JB: Yeah. So it really sounds like you’re doing the best that you absolutely can. And I like that whole structuring my day around me to make sure that you get your self care taken care of.

[00:38:47] Dr. N: Yeah. Yeah. It works out really well for me because that’s a non-negotiable. I mean, I’ll be honest, when my daughter was really young and I had gone back to work, I couldn’t get up and work out. So, I would work out at lunch. I would run down to the gym, there was a– I mean, it was convenient. There was a gym right below my office and would run down, work out for like 25 minutes. And like I said before, if you give yourself 25 minutes, guess what? You’re going to get a really good workout in 25 minutes, because you know you only have 25 minutes. So I would get a really good workout and I would shower and I would go back up to my office and be ready to see patients. So sometimes I would only have an hour, I would make it work for me. So again, I’m not cutting into that evening time, because for me that evening time is when kind of anything can happen. And I will not have the structure to be able to go to the gym in the evening. Like I just know for me, that’s not going to work with husband and the daughter and games and practices and who knows what else? That just does not work for me.

[00:40:00] Dr. JB: What you have control over is the early morning,

[00:40:04] Dr. N: Early morning and lunchtime. And if I had to move it to lunchtime, guess what I would, because it’s super important to me and it’s built into my day and it doesn’t involve that afternoon, evening time that I think is kind of like chaotic and anything can happen and it may prevent me from doing the self care. So I don’t leave anything for the evening.

[00:40:29] Dr. JB: So I love that. I love that prioritizing self care, scheduling it in, and allowing you to be able to engage in it daily.

[00:40:37] Dr. N: Right. I mean, I think I learned that in some part from my father, because he became physically active in his late thirties, started being a pretty avid runner after not being athletic, or actually being a little bit overweight. He was like a casual smoker for awhile, so he looked outside the window one time when we were on vacation and saw people running on the beach and decided that he was going to start running and that’s what he did. And he used to do it at his lunch. He didn’t do it in the morning, but– or on the weekends, he did it in the morning, but during the week when he was at work, he would do it on a lunch hour. There was some type of running club and they would go at lunch, and he would work flex hours so he could take extra time at lunch to do the running and then go in a little bit earlier so that he had time. And so I think subconsciously I saw that he kind of built that into his day and then it didn’t affect what he did after work or anything like that, so. And he was always an early riser, so on the weekends, when he would go run or be in a race or whatever, it was always on early in the morning.

[00:41:49] Dr. JB: Well, I think those are fantastic habits to have, especially in terms of like your own mental wellness and wellbeing, incorporating things that make you happy, that fulfill you each day while you balance everything else that you’re doing in life and tackle all those stressors, head on.

[00:42:10] Dr. N: Right.

[00:42:11] Dr. JB: So, in closing, what word of advice would you have for my listener, if they find themselves faced with either internal or external negativity?

[00:42:30] Dr. N: I guess it’s kind of a cliche, but I guess having your own back. And trust yourself. There was some, some sense of trust I had in myself that got me through that negativity. Like, gosh, that can’t be right, I feel like I can do it. And so I think if you trust yourself and have your own back, you’ll really, you’ll find a way.

[00:42:59] Dr. JB: Yeah. Who says a doc can’t rap? D O C T O R J B. The greatest doctor to ever touch the mic. The greatest podcast ever broadcasted or prerecorded. Come learn some, each one, teach one. I’m done.

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