Should My Child Say Yes To Medicine?
Don’t Be Intimidated By Numbers
For decades, plastic surgery was dominated by men, with only a few women willing to step into the arena of specialty medicine. That’s changing, albeit slowly. There were very few women when Dr. Pat McGuire became a plastic surgeon and even fewer left-handed surgeons. “It’s really unheard of, so I had to work very hard to prove myself, and I did and earned respect,” says McGuire.
She is a board certified plastic surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri, who follows the numbers closely. She says more women are getting into medicine, but too few are tackling surgery. “Medical schools are over 50 percent women, surgical residencies are 30-50 percent women, but there are still not many women surgeons.” McGuire says women opt for other specialties once they leave med school. “They are becoming gynecologists, pediatricians, general practitioners – that’s where women are going, not plastic surgery.”
McGuire thinks it’s a noble profession, with rewards for the right person and would also cheer on one of her two children, if they decide to pick medicine. “A lot of physicians will say they don’t want their kids to be doctors, because it is a difficult road, but I would want one of my kids to be a physician.”
Why Pick Plastic Surgery?
Parents may have to advise their medically-minded children that the big paycheck will have to wait. Dr. Caroline Glicksman says she sat on the sidelines, watching her friends earn money and work odd jobs, while she trained and studied. “Plastic surgery is a long haul,” she explains. Glicksman says the hardest part is always watching her friends have fun and hang around, while she would have to study.
Having children may also have to be put on hold. Glicksman and McGuire say it’s important to talk to wanna-be docs about family. “It’s also a lot for women putting off family until their thirties, and that’s a life decision,” says Glicksman. Still, with all the hard work and time poured into career, Glicksman, a mother of four, says she would like her children to be doctors, if they want. “If you have a passion for it, if you love what you do go for it, if not it’s going to be a miserable road.”
Ultimately the decision has to be put in the hands of the emerging adult, who must have a passion for helping others and be pretty good at math and science. Glicksman says in the ever-changing world of health care there is uncertainty and that is also a consideration, but if the passion is there, it’s hard to deny. “It may not be the smartest thing moving forward, but you can probably make a wonderful living, and you have to be happy every day in what you do,” she shares.