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On My Mind
October 03, 2016

Thank You

Author Affiliations
  • 1Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
  • 2currently at Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, California
JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 3, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.1546

Some days I don’t know if I can continue my training as a pediatric intensivist.

A while ago I had a call that I wasn’t sure I could emotionally recover from. A patient died quickly and unexpectedly. For weeks I would wake up in the middle of the night wondering what I could have done better. What did I miss? I started to question my career choice. I was watching my family make sacrifices for me to pursue a profession that many times made me feel replaceable. And, perhaps, that day in the intensive care unit I was replaceable with someone who could have reacted faster and led the code better to ultimately save this child’s life. Self-doubt began to seep in. Maybe I wasn’t smart or capable enough to be a pediatric intensivist. Wouldn’t my time be better spent focused on being the best mother, wife, daughter, and sister that I could be?

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