My son has been accepted into medical school, we learned last week, and I must say I’m about as happy a mother and a physician as you could find anywhere. For everything that’s wrong with the American healthcare system today, medicine is a wonderful profession and it’s still the greatest honor in the world for a patient to have faith in your skills and care.
It will be interesting to see how my son navigates the still controversial issue of how to manage family and “work-life balance”. How do you do justice to the trust that was placed in you when that invitation to medical school was extended? That trust came from the college faculty members who recommended you, the medical school faculty who evaluated your application, the public whose tax dollars help support your medical training, and the patients–now and in the future–who will need you to take care of them. No, that doesn’t imply that you’ve accepted a life sentence to work 80 or 100 hours a week until the day you retire. But it does imply that all those people believed that you accepted the calling to make the practice of medicine one of the highest priorities in your life.
You’ll hear the argument that the desire for “work-life balance” is a generational thing, not a gender issue–that young men in their 20s and 30s today don’t want to work as hard as their fathers did at their age. That may be true.