“I think showing other women - especially those still in training or new in the field - that we can be strong women without sacrificing our femininity empowers not only myself, but the whole profession!”
In honor of National Women Physicians Day, Dr. Jennifer Lincoln MD, an Obstetrician Gynecologist from Oregon shares with us how being a female physician has made a difference in her career and personal life and some of the challenges she faces every day. #ThisFemPhysicianCan
WHY DID YOU GO INTO MEDICINE?
I became a physician because it was the only job I ever saw myself doing! I'm the first person in my family to go to college and despite my parents being teens when they had me and being financially challenged, they told me I could become whatever I wanted. Their belief in me helped get me where I am today.
DOES BEING A WOMAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN HOW YOU APPROACH YOUR CAREER? WHY?
In training, I thought I'd never have kids because I didn't want to compromise my career. Now I have two boys and I work as a doctor, serve on executive boards, and am a medical director of a clinic. Being a woman means I can be both - a clinician AND a mother. And not lose my femininity in the process.
DO OTHER PATIENTS AND COLLEAGUES PERCEIVE YOU DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE YOU’RE A WOMAN? HOW?
Absolutely. I am an OB/GYN who is trained to provide excellent medical care, but as a woman I know I can connect with my patients on a deeper level that no book can teach. I can commiserate about those contractions or your breastfeeding challenges, because I have definitely been there!
WHAT IS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE YOU FACE AS A FEMALE PHYSICIAN?
I continue to work on feeling more comfortable with conflict. I'm a perfectionist and a pleaser - I want people to like me. Connecting with other female physicians on social media, however, has helped shape my voice and realize it is OK to stop worrying about what people think about me. It's been very empowering.
WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE YOU FACE AS A FEMALE PHYSICIAN?
We continue to be paid less than our male counterparts, despite providing statistically better medical care. Yeah, I'd call that a challenge for sure.
WHAT CAN (and DO) YOU DO THAT HELPS EMPOWER YOU TO BE THE BEST FEMALE PHYSICIAN YOU CAN BE?
I am not afraid to speak up and take charge in a crisis situation. I am proud that I can both doctor and mother and be a woman. I think showing other women - especially those still in training or new in the field - that we can be strong women without sacrificing our femininity empowers not only myself but the whole profession!