Bridging the Gap
In the U.S., one recent study calculated that as much as 66% of employees – both men and women- feel unhappy with their current work/life balance situations. While the study highlighted that finding a balance between career and family goals is important to both genders, seeking a balance is often heavily prioritized by working mothers who find themselves in the midst of birthing and raising children, while also being in the prime of their careers.
Relias Healthcare, an emergency department, telehealth, and hospitalist staffing and management company comprised of over 100 emergency medicine providers, is based out of Tupelo and is leading the way in both quality care and the pursuit of sustainable work/life balance solutions for their employees. While Relias makes accessibility to quality and timely healthcare a priority for their emergency room patients, they are equally as committed to their physicians and creating a bridge between physician’s work and their individual family lives at home.
Dr. Misty Rea, Dr. Kirti Patel, and Dr. Elizabeth Adams, each emergency room physicians with Relias at the North Mississippi Medical Center, are also working mothers with young children and are examples of this. The doctors spoke with us a bit about how they work in partnership with Relias to provide care for emergency room patients while also caring for their growing families at home.
“As with any working mom, there is guilt about work/ life balance, but I also know that I am setting a great example for my children,” said Dr. Kirti Patel, who has been an emergency room physician at Relias for two years and also works alongside her husband. “Since both my husband and I work in the ER, Relias has been very supportive so that we can have our days off together. The scheduling also allows us to plan ahead for any school activities so we can be there for our children.”
Dr. Elizabeth Adams also echoed her colleague’s statement by explaining that the way Relias allows their physicians to have flexibility in creating their work schedules has given her the room to grow as a new mother while also growing in a career that she loves and is equally passionate about.
“Working in the emergency room allows you to make an drastic impact on someone’s life. Usually if you’re in the ER, you’re in serious trouble,” said Dr. Adams. “I love being able to help patients begin their road to recovery.
Between discussing how multi-tasking at home can look a lot like multitasking in the emergency room, all three physicians and working mothers agreed that maintaining a clear perspective amidst the chaos can make the difference.
“I want my kids to have a good work ethic and, while I struggle with mommy-guilt in my career, I teach them to find things they love and work hard for them whatever that may be,” said Dr. Misty Rea. “The thousands of tiny interactions we have every day over time add up to the adults they become.”
As the days at work and days at home collide, the chaos and to-do lists that come with caring for children and caring for emergency room patients are all part of the normal that each of these doctors and working mothers tackle, day in and day out.
While Relias focuses on the clinical aspects of their specialty in regards to emergency room care, their focus on physician well-being has fostered an environment for teamwork. With all of their doctors having families – most with young kids – there is a real and evident sense of community among employees who each understand the importance of practicing medicine and maintaining work/life balance.