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When I was at Catholic college for a nursing degree I was a resident advisor responsible for a dorm. I tried to arrange for Planned Parenthood to come to speak about birth control because that was what everyone was asking me about but I did not have the information. I was called by the Dean and told that this was not an option. I wanted to be certain that everyone irrespective of their faith had access to information about family planning and I did not believe that information alone was harmful and should be at least provided irrespective of religious beliefs..
My husband was doing his residency in Boston at MGH and thus I wanted to follow him to Boston. BWH/MGH was the natural choice for training that would expose me to every aspect of OBGYN. My Latin American studies in college also gave me an interest in serving a Hispanic population which was part of the BWH program.
During the 1980’s the Brigham had a large group of very busy private practitioners who were excellent role models not only for academic careers but also life balance. The subspecialists were also very impressive and gave balance to options for future research areas.
I evolved my interests over time. Initially interested in many areas- alternating between high risk pregnancies and gynecologic surgery. Ultimately, I decided that the breadth of options in private practice at a tertiary care hospital met my needs.
It was caring for a woman whose baby was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. When I went to tell her this, the look on my face gave away that I was going to give her bad news. When I revealed the information she quickly told me that she thought I was going to tell her something terrible about the baby. She then followed up with a comment I will never forget. “God choses who gets children with Downs syndrome.”
I miss the teaching and then independence. I feel that supervision is very important but also learning to be independent is important.
As hard as residency is you must always treat every patient like they are one of your family. Never lose your sensitivity and take care of your soul by respecting yourself and your needs as well.
The patients are the most rewarding part of the job. It is so rewarding to be stopped and thanked for things you do and advice you give over years with the same family!