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As you are now aware, the Indianapolis Medical Society and the Indianapolis Bar Association recently formed an Alliance to examine issues common to both. The goal is to identify topics of interest and develop programs that educate and foster dialogue. To take this a step further, it is then intended to bring about significant and meaningful changes, perhaps through legislative initiatives, that advance our fields and provide a safer, more effective medical and legal environment for those whom we serve. The programs are meant to be all-inclusive for members and non-members alike. It is hoped that these programs will bring value to both organizations and increase membership and participation. Increased numbers mean an increased voice, more important than ever in this changing political landscape.
Our first program, held in early February, was a great success! The topic was non-compete contracts. The platform presented was a point : counterpoint debate, with two lawyers dissecting all aspects of physician non-compete language, followed by pros and cons of the language, and examples in Indiana law where the non-compete clauses were upheld or “thrown out.” The floor was then open to challenging questions and lively discussion. The background for the discussion was that five states have now outlawed non-competes for physicians, and 22 states have greatly diminished the reaches of the non-competes. Non-competes for lawyers were previously outlawed by the Supreme Court, ruled as unethical in preventing legal clients from having access to and following their lawyers. As a result, it is intended that legislative initiatives to curb the reach of non-compete contracts for physicians will be pursued with the State Legislature.
The second program will take place at the Ritz Charles, April 19th, and will be an informative and motivational discussion regarding “Leading with Purpose,” to be delivered by renowned Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, MD, Eli Lilly and Company’s U.S. Medical Leader for Lilly’s Bio-Medicines, whose interesting and challenging journey started as a staff pediatric endocrinologist and researcher at IU Riley Hospital for Children. Fittingly, Naomi Pescovitz, of WTHR Eyewitness News, and Dr. Pescovitz’s daughter, will Emcee the event. The cocktail hour and dinner program will be open to physicians, lawyers and their guests. The venue is designed to offer a chance for collegial discussion regarding leadership and collaborative change.
Changing demographics in both medicine and law serve as a background for the program. Once male-dominated professions, both have seen huge growth in women joining the ranks. One hundred and sixty-eight years ago, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to obtain a medical degree in the United States. In 1975 there were just over 35,000 female physicians in the United States, and by 2012 the number grew six fold to over 321,000. In 2012, women represented 31% of all physicians, and 45% of all residents and fellows. Yet, there has been a less obvious shift at the top, where women represent only 24% of division chiefs, 16% of medical school deans, 15% of department chairs and less than 2% of hospital CEO’s.
Medscape surveyed women as physician leaders in 2015 and found some interesting results. The results run counter to trends pointing to widespread physician professional dissatisfaction and the presumption that work-life balance and gender bias dissuade female physicians from valuing and aspiring to leadership roles. In fact, the results show that female physicians place high value on attaining a leadership role at work, and once there, report being “very happy” at work – even more than non-leaders. The results also showed that female physicians pursue leadership roles more for altruistic reasons, such as effecting change and inspiring others, rather than strictly for career advancement – interestingly something that rings true with me. The highlights of the “Women as Physician Leaders” 2015 Medscape Survey, composed of 50% women in leadership roles and 50% women in non-leadership roles can be viewed at the end of this article (to view the full report and related content, visit: http://www.medscape.com/womeninmedicine).
Whether male or female, when choosing a career in medicine, we are choosing not just a job but our passion, and the job that we take becomes our community. We all aspire to improve our community, to improve patient care. In becoming a leader, it is important to have not only a mentor – someone who will tell us, “This is how to get from here to there” – but also a sponsor, who will nominate us to a committee and guide us through the process. Becoming a member of the Indianapolis Medical Society offers us the opportunity for mentorship, sponsorship and leadership – we can make a positive change in the practice of medicine, the care of our patients, and the satisfaction and enjoyment of our profession!
Women in Medicine - 2015 Medscape SurveyJob Happiness and Motivation
Overall job and life satisfaction were generally high among respondents, most of whom were married (74%) and had children (81%).
•More than half of respondents (53%) held at least one leadership post.
•A comparable number (47%) of those not in leadership positions view attaining one in their main practice setting as important.
•Although more than half (53%) stated that their careers interfere with their personal lives, more than two thirds reported being happy in their jobs (68%) and more than three quarters were happy in their private lives (83%).
Leaders report greater happiness. The view from the top was especially positive in terms of job satisfaction.
•A greater percentage of leaders said they were somewhat/very happy in their work (72%) compared with non-leaders (63%).
•Among those reporting to be “very happy,” leaders outnumbered non-leaders by 2 to 1, with 30% of leaders reporting the highest degree of work-related happiness compared with non-leaders (21%).
•The “happiness quotient” favored leaders despite their reporting more significant work-life balance issues than non-leaders (57% vs 48%, respectively).
Women motivated by selfless goals. Similarities appeared in respondents’ leadership goals:
Both leaders and non-leaders identified altruistic motivations behind their job aspirations. In response to the question “Why is maintaining/attaining a leadership role important?” the data show:
•Leaders and non-leaders most commonly answered “to effect change” (68% and 57%, respectively) and “to be a positive influence to others in the organization” (70% and 49%).
•Less than a quarter of respondents cited other motivations, such as financial compensation (21% and 22%), bolstering a resume (16% and 14%), or prestige (14% and 12%).
Leadership Challenges: Perception and Reality
Attitudinal differences emerged between the two groups on a broad range of leadership challenges, including time management, gender bias, work politics, and the best way to secure a leadership position. For each, the hands-on perspective reported by current leaders differed from the beliefs and expectations of their non-leader colleagues.
•Approximately two thirds of leaders and non-leaders (69% and 64%, respectively) identified time pressure as a major challenge to fulfilling the responsibilities of a top post.
Yet, fewer than half of leaders (44%) find that it has significantly affected their personal lives, while 62% of non-leaders anticipate that it will, should they assume a leadership role.
•Regarding office politics, only about one third of leaders (35%) consider infighting a significant issue and even fewer (24%) find gender bias to affect their leadership opportunities. Among non-leaders, however, 55% expect infighting to occupy significant leadership time, and 40% anticipate gender bias problems.
The Path to Leadership: Ability, Connections, and Desire
Both groups also have widely varied views on what it takes to become a leader. Nearly three quarters of leaders (72%) attribute personal success to their own job performance while only half of non-leaders (55%) expect that to be a significant factor.
•Non-leaders are more likely than leaders to consider organizational alliances (60% vs 44%), peer support (54% vs 35%), and help from a mentor (50% vs 24%) as instrumental to securing a leadership spot.
The importance of leadership – for oneself and for others. Perhaps the biggest difference between the groups is the degree to which they personally value and desire a leadership role.
The vast majority of leaders (77%) consider their position personally important while only a minority of non-leaders (42%) view securing a leadership role as a personal priority. In fact, approximately 20% of non-leaders are uninterested in such a goal. Yet, nearly 9 out of 10 respondents in both groups (90% of leaders and 86% of non-leaders) believe that leadership roles are an important pursuit for women in general.**