I am writing this this post after reading a post by Miriam Bayona, CTO of Wonnova .She tells how difficult it was being a woman in that field, getting paid less than the men for the same job, having to do things that had nothing to do with her work (serving coffee?). As she puts it, being a woman is always being a minority.
In a way, I started doing patient advocacy because I couldn't find my place in the workforce after having two children. I remember how my three pregnancies and their management got me interested in patient advocacy. In a nutshell I couldn't believe that the scant participation my colleagues were giving me in my own healthcare decisions would lead to a good quality healthcare, I knew that was not the way I treated my patients, but I didn't have a name for what I did.
In those long hours of maternity leave I listened to a radio show in NPR that spoke about patient advocacy, I loved the concept and started researching more. I knew I would love to do that, but I also loved my job, so I let it pass by. Circumstances changed, I had to leave my job and change cities, where I started practising in private medicine. But I had a problem: now I had two children......
BC (before children) I never had a problem with work, I never had to miss even a day, as they had taught me in residency.
But now I had two toddlers, so what would happen if they got sick?, my husband was in residency, he couldn't miss work, this meant that it was up to me to solve the problem. I was afraid that if one of my children got sick, and I had to miss work, that would be the end of my job. Private practice is very different from working in the national health system. I was afraid that if I couldn't go to work they would fire me,
I knew I had to find somebody to take care of the children if they were sick, but I couldn't find anybody that fit the profile: somebody that could take care of them only in the days that they were sick, as I couldn't afford somebody that came every day.
This put me in an impossible situation, I couldn't find somebody to stay with them, what would I do when one of them fell sick?
Finally it happened, my little boy woke up with a fever, my husband left cheerfully to his job and I had to give him some paracetamol and drive them to his daycare, with a lump in my throat .
I cried all the way to the hospital, and had tears in my eyes during the clinic and hospital rounds, until I could get out and pick him up
So there and then I decided that small children, jobs in the private sector and no support network make for a very bad combination, for myself and my children.
The hospital lost a great employee, someone caring and responsible, I gained peace of mind and found another passion that lets me take care of my children.
And the costa gained its first patient advocate, now let's hope we are a good match!