As a junior specialist, my feet hit the ground running with full-time work, oncall demands, a working husband and an 18-month-old toddler in tow. I thereafter experienced the regret of having left it too late as career opportunities took precedence over my biological clock. An increasing proportion of our Trainees are women. Long working hours and the pressure of examinations during six years of full-time training all too often coincide with our fertile years.
Family planning is important to Trainees of both genders as, increasingly, spouses are also in demanding work roles. Susan Evans reflects back on life as a female O and G specialist, while Alex Mowat reviews the challenges of taking maternity leave while training. Achieving sufficient quality clinical exposure as Trainees, but working safer hours, is a modern-day challenge.
The College and the medical regulatory bodies face the realities of workforce feminisation, subspecialist training, distribution of specialists owing to geographical issues and urbanisation. In New Zealand, the contribution of specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) and feminisation will shape the future workforce. There is competition between a career in purely clinical practice and one dedicated to academic pursuit. Both Celia Devenish and Ian Symonds write about the personal and professional satisfaction to be gained from a career in academic O and G.
In the past decade, a resurgence of interest in O and G as a career choice has occurred, with applicants for Integrated Training Program (ITP) positions exceeding places available both in Australia and New Zealand. Jeff Taylor reports on the success of the Certificate of Women’s Health in attracting Australian GPs back to postgraduate training – essential to maternity service delivery in remote and rural Australia.
Whetting the appetite of undergraduates to undertake the Diploma or specialist training is our collective responsibility as we encounter students in everyday work life. O and G presents an alluring mix of medicine and surgery in a relatively young healthy patient group. Alexa Bendall, DRANZCOG graduate and ITP Trainee, inspires with her experience of training in provincial Queensland
Nurture is defined as ‘to care for and encourage growth or development’. This issue of O&G Magazine explores aspects of nurturing our workforce of obstetricians and gynaecologists. This is essential for the healthy future of the profession and the health of women in Australia and New Zealand.