June 10, 2016

joanna_webbI returned to work 10 months after my son was born.  I was anxious about the transition and sad that the intimate time of exclusively caring for my baby was coming to an end.  But I was also excited to regain a large part of my identity and I looked forward to some independence during the day and to think about things outside of breastfeeding, diaper changes and nursery rhythms!

I graduated from Manitoba’s family medicine residency program in 2013 and immediately entered a one year enhanced skills program in palliative care.  My maternity leave started very close to the end of the 12-month fellowship and I was fortunate to time my baby’s arrival once the bulk of my training had been completed.  I had six weeks of training left before I was to become fully fledged, which made my transition back to work much easier.  I was grateful to enter a familiar and supportive environment and had some back-up to regain my skills before becoming ultimately responsible.

A few months after returning to work I had completed my palliative care training and had found additional locum work in a small fee-for-service family medicine clinic.  I was more nervous about starting work as a family physician as it had been over two years since the completion of my family medicine residency training.  I have been so fortunate to work for a kind, compassionate and dedicated family physician that will eagerly discusses difficult cases with me and will walk me through new or challenging situations.

I work one full week a month for the WRHA palliative care program and three days a week in the family medicine clinic.  This allows me to read around my patients, keep up with self-care and stay on top of house hold chores.  My son is in a home daycare full time that he loves.  He is thriving at daycare and I am thankful that I don’t worry about him during the day.

There is never a perfect time to start a family and I struggled with my desire to have kids and the fear of losing skills.  There is a lot of talk about the knowledge growth that occurs during the first five years in practice and my first five years are going to be very disjointed, especially as we are planning to continue to expand our family.  That being said I feel residency prepared with me a general approach to clinical problems and my schedule allows me to research knowledge gaps as they arise.  Life is busy but fun and I am enjoying being a physician mum.

Joanna Webb