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The ‘Mommy Track’ Debate In Medicine

One female doctor argues that not working full-time is a waste of a medical education and a disservice to both patients and the profession. Others argue that trying to have it all is impossible. We explore what we should expect from our doctors — both as professionals and as parents.

Medicine is a demanding field. Here medical students and paramedics rush a man with gunshot wounds to the operating room. (AP)

Medicine is a demanding field. Here medical students and paramedics rush a man with gunshot wounds to the operating room. (AP)

Karen Sibert is a doctor and mother in Los Angeles. Four kids. A practice in anesthesiology. A big career.

And this week she threw a big rock in the pond of women in medicine. In a high-profile essay that has rocketed through the online world, Dr. Sibert said too many woman doctors are taking too much time off to take care of their own kids.

Working part-time. Leaving the field. She portrayed these personal decisions as a betrayal of a higher calling, and a problem for the country.

The pushback has been fierce.

This hour On Point: Dr. Karen Sibert, and the debate over work, family and medicine.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist practicing in Los Angeles. She recently wrote the New York Times op-ed Don’t Quit This Day Job.

Kathleen Fairfield , the associate chief of medicine at Maine Medical Center and the volunteer medical director at the Free Clinic of Portland. She’s a primary care physician and an epidemiologist and also researches shared decision making in primary care.

Maureen Connelly, the dean for faculty affairs and assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research has focused on women in academic medicine, and she is the principle investigator of the faculty survey at Harvard’s medical and dental schools. She practiced internal medicine before joining the dean’s office.

And later in the hour, we’ll hear some of the commencement address by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg this year at Barnard College.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

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Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

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Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

 
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

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