“Being a woman in a surgical field is difficult. You not only fight the stigma with your colleagues, but you also do with your patients. It feels like a constant effort to prove that you stand where you do, based on your merit, knowledge, and skills.”
In honor of National Women Physicians Day, Dr. Sukaina Hasnie MD, an ENT Surgery Resident from Oklahoma 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?
The medical field stood out to me after my baby brother received his first cochlear implant. I was young at that time but even then, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to create that same impact for another kid and family. My passion for ENT arose from this experience and throughout medical school I stayed consistent to this dream.
WHAT IS A PASSION PROJECT OF YOURS?
From the beginning of my career path, I noticed a gap between physicians and those making the guidelines; determining how much time we spend with patients, how we code, how the hospital functions, etc. It always astonished me that these individuals, who were not in the medical field, regulated our daily interactions. To understand the system we work in better, and to close this loop, I obtained a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. I hope to influence our system rather than just be a part of it.
WHAT IS AN AWARENESS CAMPAIGN THAT IS MOST PERSONAL TO YOU? AND WHY?Better Hearing Awareness Month, which occurs in May. It is estimated that 466 million people have disabling hearing loss, unfortunately, many kids with hearing loss go undiagnosed and many adults go on with life not being able to hear the person in the passenger seat. This campaign was started to educate the general population about communication disorders and the available treatment options that are available.
WHAT ARE SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF?
I absolutely love traveling and have been to 24 countries and hope to increase the list each year!
WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN YOUR LIFE?
My father has to be the most influential person in my life. He came to the US as just a college graduate and worked extremely hard his entire life only so his kids could achieve more. He’s the one that has taught me that life is too short to be upset over anything.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO FUTURE MDS?
Wake up every morning and remember why you chose medicine. It will help you get through the tough days, the exams, pimping, long hours, and sacrifices.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEDELITA PRODUCT?
I absolutely love the Merit P. Lab Coat! I’m 5 foot nothing and curvy. The white coats that I had previously were always too long and fit boxy. My favorite part is the tapered sleeves!
DOES BEING A WOMAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN HOW YOU APPROACH YOUR CAREER? WHY?
Being a woman in a surgical field is difficult. You not only fight the stigma with your colleagues, but you also do with your patients. It feels like a constant effort to prove that you stand where you do, based on your merit, knowledge, and skills.
DO OTHER PATIENTS PERCEIVE YOU DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE YOU’RE A WOMAN?
Many times, when I walk into a patient room to pre-op them, I visibly watch jaws drop when I say I’m the surgeon. If that isn’t the case, then I go through the entire pre-op process with the patient, with an introduction as, “Hey, I’m Dr. Hasnie with ENT”, and yet when walking out of the room, I still get the question, “So when will the doctor come by?”.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE YOU FACE AS A FEMALE PHYSICIAN?
The biggest personal challenge is finding the right time to move forward in your personal life. My other surgery resident friends and I often discuss the lack of time our field allows for growth in that aspect from a female perspective.
WHAT DO YOU DO THAT HELPS EMPOWER YOU TO BE THE BEST FEMALE PHYSICIAN YOU CAN BE?
I stay determined, work my hardest every single day, continue to educate myself, and don’t take no for an answer.