Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Women in Surgery Podcast: Operating Through Opportunities and Challenges

By: Christine Finck, MD, FACS

The number of women surgeons in the United States is growing; however, it remains a field heavily dominated by men. In an effort to discuss and work to eliminate barriers, our Women in Surgery group at Connecticut Children’s has launched a new podcast to highlight how we operate. In this podcast, we aim to share our successes, challenges and real-life experiences with surgeons, physicians, and future healthcare professionals – and of course, to support each other.

The Women in Surgery Podcast series is part of Connecticut Children’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey, in which we are working to make sure all team members feel respected, a sense of belonging, and empowered to be the best we can be in service to our mission and each other.

The podcast series is now available on the Connecticut Children’s website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. Make sure to subscribe to never miss an episode and allow our podcast to reach new listeners.

Podcast Episode 1: Imposter Syndrome

In the first episode, six of our women surgeons at Connecticut Children’s share their thoughts on what’s known as imposter syndrome, which is defined by the Harvard Business Review as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. ”

Our surgeons, pediatric ophthalmologist Janine Collinge, MD, pediatric orthopedic sports surgeon Allison Crepeau, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist Cara DeBenedictis, MD, pediatric otolaryngologist Nancy Grover, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon Kristan Pierz, MD, and pediatric and adult congenital cardiac surgeon Raina Sinha, MD, MPH, FACC, all participate in the podcast.

In this episode, the surgeons share moments in their lives when they felt like an imposter – not only in their profession but also in their personal lives. Some of their experiences occurred during life milestones such as starting a new job, taking on new responsibilities, and relocating to a new area.

“When I was first in practice, and I didn’t even realize what it was, I just had this feeling of self-doubt. Was I really qualified to do this job? Am I good enough? Am I doing well enough? Am I taking good enough care of my patients?” shared Dr. Collinge. “As I grew the self-confidence to overcome it and feel comfortable in my role and comfortable in the care I was providing to children, it went away.”

The surgeons talk about the challenge of managing their own expectations of themselves, both professionally and personally, while also managing the expectations and perceptions of others.

“What are people’s perception of me as a woman, as an ENT surgeon, as a person of whatever culture I am from and how do I overcome those barriers?” stated Dr. Grover.

The surgeons share strategies they use to feel confident and empowered, including delegating appropriate responsibilities to others at home and at work, as well as taking time to reflect on their extensive accomplishments.

Listen and subscribe to the Women in Surgery Podcast.

The Goal of the Podcast Series

The goal of the podcast series is to open minds and elevate a sense of connection among the healthcare community and beyond. We also hope to inspire medical students to enter the field of surgery and encourage discussions around topics they may encounter in order to foster and promote positive change.

We strongly believe these topics of discussion resonate with many professionals and students, even outside the field of surgery. In fact, this series was picked up by the international platform Stay Current, given its relevant topics to healthcare providers.

Future podcast episodes will focus on a range of topics, such as maintaining a sense of wellness through work-life integration, motherhood, pay equity, and additional unique challenges women surgeons face when breaking into this male-dominated field.

We look forward to sharing additional episodes to help break barriers and pave the way for current and future women surgeons through these candid conversations on how we operate. We hope you continue to join us along this journey. Thank you for listening.

Learn more about Connecticut Children’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework.

Christine Finck, MD, FACS is surgeon-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s. Dr. Finck is one of six women surgeon-in-chiefs at 45 children’s hospitals around the country.

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