I work in a male-dominated field. As a cardiac anesthesiologist, I work with mostly male cardiac surgeons in a department where the majority of my fellow anesthesiologists are male. I work with some fantastic male colleagues. They are caring, skilled doctors, and I consider many of them to be friends. While most of them know how to handle emergencies, trauma and difficult work situations, many times they clam up when we ...

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“He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge I was a third-year medical student on a Sunday morning when the reality of what I had chosen as my life career truly hit me in the gut. At that moment, I realized how intimate the practice of medicine was and that I would have to bring not only my brain and skills to work ...

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I read something recently that shocked me. Despite working in health care for 15 years, I had no idea that nearly 80 percent of the U.S. health care workforce is comprised of women (according to the Bureau of Statistics.) I did know, however, that women make up less than 20 percent of executive boards and less than 40 percent of middle management in health care. Those that do exist in the ...

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If you had told me I would be writing someday on women’s issues, I would have grabbed a pulse oximeter and placed it on your finger to check your oxygen levels. As a physician scientist, I have spent the majority of my career reading, studying and writing on clinical medicine. Then, something changed. For years, I have had the pleasure of working with and for some pretty phenomenal men in medicine. ...

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As a physician, I am often discouraged when I turn on the news and read about the state of health care in our country. I can see all 397 sides of the debate and some truth in all sides. The enormous cost of medicine is overwhelming to comprehend for patients and families and even to those of us in medicine. I think it is important to know all that goes into ...

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Since I was a little girl, I have been called a lot of things. Sensitive. Funny. Strong-willed. Outgoing. Take-charge. Friendly. Bossy. Focused. And my favorite — domineering. I’ve always been a direct person. I’m an extrovert, which means I walk into a room and I am energized by the people around me. I am also a positive person; I assume you are my friend until you prove otherwise. On most days ...

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It’s still dark out when I walk into the busy and bustling preoperative area where patients and their family members crowd into small bays. They hand over their personal belongings to the RNs and their trust to me. As I walk in, I grab my patient’s hand, smile and say, “Hello. My name is Dr. Shillcutt. I am a cardiac anesthesiologist, and I am going to take care of you ...

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I was approaching 24 hours in the hospital and waiting for my partner to come into my operating room so we could do “hand-off." That's when I spend 15 minutes going over all of the events of the surgical case and explain my patient’s health history, his current status, my current treatment strategies, the heart ultrasound findings, and our plan for the rest of the case. As I was awaiting ...

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