Vital Signs: Thriving as a Woman in Medicine

Vital Signs: Thriving as a Woman in Medicine

In healthcare, burnout rates are higher in women. In fact, forty percent of women physicians have cut back or left medicine within 6 years of completing training. Why? Is it added responsibilities at home? Gender bias at work? Invisible work at work? Mom guilt? Too much self-sacrifice and inability to say no? Poor boundaries, lack of time management skills, lack of self-care? In this podcast, we’ll explore the reasons why women in medicine are struggling—and more importantly, what to do about it. We can banish burnout and thrive as women in medicine.


June 11, 2024 26 mins

The journey to become a physician can lead us to focus on achieving, sometimes to our own detriment. In fact, many clinicians miss getting basic needs met (think Maslow’s hierarchy) as they try to meet perceived expectations. How can we begin to set boundaries around those expectations so that we can preserve our energy and be our best selves?  Listen to our conversation to find out!

Diane Sliwka, MD, is a Hospital Medicine Physici...

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At first glance, you might not see the parallels between predicting the potential damage of climate change and improving the retention of clinicians. I didn’t either–until I spoke with Dr. Sisi Hu. She helped me understand the value of predictive modeling and the power of data to help leverage change in our clinical workplaces. Intrigued? Listen to our conversation!

Dr. Sisi Hu is an economist at Harvard University and co-founder a...

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Unhealthy organizational culture is a key driver of burnout for everyone in healthcare. Women in medicine also struggle with asking for what they need to advance their careers and thrive at work. Join my conversation with my friend and colleague, healthcare consultant Nancy Jacoby, to get a better handle on these challenges and specific steps we can take as individuals to create a healthy culture where we work and get more of what ...

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Leaders, especially our immediate supervisors, have a huge impact on our daily work experience and our risk of burnout. But what exactly is the relationship between leadership behaviors and clinician well-being? And what steps can an individual physician take to better lead their clinical team? To find out, join my conversation with Dr. Paul DeChant, a healthcare thought leader who spent 25 years as a family physician and five year...

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Many women in medicine miscategorize their struggles to advance. They believe it’s their fault–if only they were smarter or worked harder, they would have reached full professor or a leadership position by now. Dr. Shikha Jain realized she was facing some system issues that were holding her back. She now advocates for greater awareness of gender inequity in medicine, mentors others, and helps highlight solutions. Join our conversat...

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Burnout steals from us: our energy, our sense of self, our connections with others. Dr. Jennie Draper found herself heading for a second bout of burnout and knew she needed help to turn things around. Listen to hear Jennie’s personal story of recovery–and how she manages to work full-time and climb mountains as well. 

Jennie Draper, MD, is an OB/GYN in private practice at Virginia Physicians for Women in Richmond, Virginia and Chai...

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Women in medicine have had higher burnout rates than their male colleagues for years–and with the pandemic the disparity increased. Part of my mission is highlighting the underlying drivers of this disparity so we can work together to reduce burnout for all. Join my conversation with Dr. Jessica Dudley and learn why flexibility, advancement opportunities, and respect are key elements to the solution. 

Jessica Dudley, MD, is Chief C...

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Women in medicine are less represented in leadership than their male colleagues. One of the causes is that we may doubt our leadership potential due to internal voices or past experiences of not being heard. What can we do to overcome the barriers and become the leaders we want to be? Join my conversation with Dr. Katie Cole to learn some key strategies for individuals and to hear about what physicians across the country are doing ...

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You know that feeling of dread when you anticipate the documentation you still need to finish? Join my conversation with Thea Nolan to hear about the small changes she made in her workflow that moved her from dread to empowerment–and the positive impact on her professional and personal life.

Thea Nolan, a physician assistant in interventional radiology, is President-Elect of the Massachusetts Physician Assistants Association.


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With the growth of large healthcare systems, physicians can feel powerless to have a say in workflow changes that affect their daily life and patient care. Join my conversation with Dr. Karen Weiner to learn the key steps to influence your workplace and negotiate with leaders and managers. Dr. Karen Weiner, MD, MMM, MA, is former CEO of a large multispecialty group and founder/CEO of Proprio Consulting.

Like what you heard?  Listen...

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Trying to “do it all” or at least keep up at home and at work can leave us feeling demoralized, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Join with me to hear Dr. Liz Cruz share her realization that “50-50 work-life balance” is a set up for guilt–and how she used two strategies to tame Work Outside of Work, giving her at least one full day off every week. Elizabeth Cruz, MD is a primary care physician and section chief of Internal Medicine curre...

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Juggling the roles of mom and doctor can easily spawn feelings of guilt when you feel you’re not giving enough to one aspect of your life. How do we get out from under? Join my conversation with Dr. Shah-Haque to hear how this busy, rural primary care physician has successfully managed to quiet the guilt. Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque, MD, MBA is a board certified Internal Medicine physician. After experiencing burnout herself, and watching...

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As women in medicine, we struggle to meet the needs of our patients and our families. Time for ourselves often gets short shrift. Years ago, I was so impressed by Dr. Ehlman’s strategies for navigating life as a doctor mom that I invited her to help me launch my new podcast. Learn the tactics she’s used to find and protect time for herself, even to hang out with a friend on a weeknight! Dr. Molly Ehlman is an internal...

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