Revel in the wonder and the joy that is new parenthood. The privilege of practicing medicine will be here when you return.
Lifelong Learning in Clinical Excellence | August 9, 2022 | 1 min read
By Jessica Bienstock, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins Medicine
I was asked to write a piece to help healthcare professionals figure out how to maintain their clinical skills when out on leave due to welcoming a new child into their home. My reflexive (and continued) response surprised me. . . you absolutely should NOT worry about maintaining your clinical skills during this time. Yes, you will miss some educational opportunities, but there will always be more teaching rounds to attend and more simulation sessions.
There aren’t many opportunities to establish a relationship with a child who is new to our nuclear family. Welcoming a child can also be an opportunity to reflect on our place in the world and the contributions we wish to make. Introspection is a valuable trait in any healthcare professional. A new child often makes it very clear to many of us that, though we are but a single link in the long chain of humanity, our role can be vital to the thriving of both the small person in front of us and those we serve when we return to our professional roles.
Having a new child at home is also a remarkably humbling (and exhausting) experience. As clinicians we’re used to easily mastering new information and skills and receiving positive feedback when we do so. New children require so many new skills to be mastered so quickly and the best you can hope for in terms of feedback is a fleeting smile and even that usually doesn’t arrive for weeks.
It’s often said that residency is the best experience of your life that you’d never want to repeat. I think many people feel the same about being the parent of a new child. Enjoy the time learning your new role in the world and getting to know the newest member of your home and of our human family. Revel in the wonder and the joy that is new parenthood. The privilege of practicing medicine will be here when you return.
This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.