The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists

Category: Women in Critical Care

Women in Critical Care
by Shahla Siddiqui, MD, MSc, FCCM

We hope you are well and have seen the new uploads on our Women in Critical Care website (SOCCA) and our column in the SOCCA Interchange. We are adding more content and intend to bring new Webinars, Fireside Chats, and—hopefully—some more creative content designed for the busy woman in CCM.

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Women in Critical Care: Suggestions to Organizations/ Societies for Female Representation in Critical Care

Disclaimer: This is a work product of Women in Critical Care and does not represent the views of the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists

Background: Despite the increasing percentage of female intensivists and their multifaceted involvement in healthcare over the last decades, to date, their representation in physician workforce, academic positions and leadership roles in critical care remains disproportionately low.

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Burnout: No Easy Answers in a Post-Pandemic World
by Sarah Alber, MD

As I sit here writing a piece about work-life balance for women critical care physicians, I feel compelled to paint the picture of my current situation: in-house on call at 9pm on a Friday night, an AirPod in one ear teleconferencing my children to say goodnight, strapped into a portable breast pump, eating the fastest thing I could get from the hospital cafeteria (which is invariably fried), all while typing away at this piece in the physician work room. I am awash in irony. Is this the image of the prototypical woman intensivist? Not at all. Am I currently burned out? Actually, I don’t think so. Have I been burned out at some point during my medical career thus far? Definitely. How do I refine my career plan to achieve work-life balance and sustainability for a satisfying and productive professional career? Unclear, check back later.

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Belonging to an Organization: Professional Advancement & Personal Gains
by Nazish Hashmi, MD

Our realities changed during the pandemic and many people asked a very important question, possibly for the first time in their lives: what brings me joy and fulfilment? Is my choice of career a good fit for me? Outside of medicine, it is this feeling of being unfulfilled that has led to what is being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. Amongst physicians, the lack of connectedness and satisfaction with one’s specialty has led to high rates of burnout. Pre-pandemic literature on burnout suggested that engaged physicians tend to have less burnout. Engagement outside of clinical work can be driven by continued learning, faculty development and mentorship, having a social network and many more things. For me, engagement included interacting with my trainees, seeking ways to improve my clinical practice and finding mentorship from other physicians in my area of interest. This is where the role of belonging to a professional organization became very important.

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Mentors and Mentees: A Powerful Connection
by May Hua, MD, MS

A 2018 viewpoint published in JAMA Internal Medicine highlighted four archetypes of “mentorship”: the traditional mentor, the coach, the sponsor and the connector.1 The authors explain, “To put it simply, the mentor guides, the coach improves, the sponsor nominates, and the connector empowers, but always the mentee benefits.” As I read this article, I was struck by how rare it is for one person to be able to fulfill all these needs, and how I was lucky enough to have a mentor, Dr. Hannah Wunsch, who can and does embody all four roles.

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Women in Critical Care: Where We Are & Where We Want to Be
by Shahla Siddiqui, MD, MSc, FCCM

Where We Are

Over the past decade, the need to promote gender diversity in medicine has been embraced by several medical societies. In the USA in 2017, 33% of critical care trainees and 26% of ICU physicians were women. There are many reasons for this disparity and work is being done to understand these reasons to some extent. It was noted in literature that an explicit focus on “eliminating gender inequity will help to gradually change societal views of the roles played by women and men critical care physicians so that it will become the norm for women and men to be both critical care physicians and leaders in critical care.”

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Women in Critical Care
by Shahla Siddiqui, MD

Meeting Updates

Women in Critical Care’s Mission Statement and Vision:

Mission: To provide a community of mentorship, sponsorship and support that promotes the recruitment, development, advancement, and well-being of women in Critical Care Anesthesiology.

Vision: To foster women leaders in Critical Care Anesthesiology.

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Women in Critical Care
by Shahla Siddiqui, MD

We had our first ‘kick off’ meeting for Women in Critical Care. We had 59 pre-registrants and 17 participants for the first zoom meeting on February 23. Our objective was to introduce the mission as well as to decide a structure and goals for the year. We discussed a website launch as well as a first, official meeting on March 17 at the 2022 SOCCA Virtual Annual Meeting where we will have an invited guest speaker: Dr. Deborah Cook (a truly inspiring woman intensivist).

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