Dr. Gabrielle Clark is a practicing podiatrist in Louisiana.
Q1. What led you to a career in Podiatric Medicine?
I’ve always wanted to be a physician. I experienced foot issues as a child, and my mom took me to see a Podiatrist while I was in High School. He became my foot surgeon. After my procedure, he became my mentor and allowed me to shadow him during his clinical office and hospital surgical hours. I gained an immediate love for the field and began my journey as a Podiatric Surgeon.
Q2. Is podiatry a good career for a work/life balance?
I believe Podiatry is a wonderful career for work/life balance. In the beginning, it will be difficult with crazy hours, on-call schedules, etc. However, the great thing about our field is that you can specialize in podiatry and build the work/life balance that you desire.
Q3. Is there a specific or ideal time that is best to get married or have kids?
I’m not sure. During school and Residency, your main goal is to focus on your studies. This question is more of a personal assessment of what YOU FEEL that YOU can handle at the time of your studies. To share my experience, I had both of my sweet kids during podiatry school. For me, it was a difficult challenge balancing life as a student throughout both of my pregnancies, as a new mother, and when I became a mother of two. One of the hindrances to my studies while pregnant during externship rotations is having to avoid certain surgical cases where radiographs and imaging are being taken to prevent harm to my baby.
Q4. As a female physician, what has been your biggest barrier in medicine?
The stereotype of not being strong enough to handle the same workload as men. The stereotype of being a mother and having to sometimes choose between work and my kids.
Q5. What does a typical day look like for you (including personal life, social life, and career)?
A typical day is me getting my kids ready and driving them to school every morning. Then, I go to work. I see about 15 patients per day. After work, I get my kids from school. Their father and I assist with homework and getting them to after school activities. I finish up at work for a few more hours completing patient charts, following-up on orders, managing my business, etc. Then, I go home, spend time with my family, and get myself and kids ready for bed and school the next day.
Q6. How is your practice structured?
My practice is fairly new. For now, I focus on general podiatry, cosmetic podiatry, and soon will be structured with a mixture of surgery and clinic.
Q7. What financial advice can you give to a young podiatrist as they transition into his/her career?
Save, Save, Save!!! During Residency save as much money as you can from your residency stipend each pay period.
Q8. What advice would you give a current aspiring female Podiatric Medical doctor?
Stay focused on your end goal. If you desire to have a practice that fits around your family and kids; then stay focused and choose a residency program and practice whose culture will fit your lifestyle.
Q9. What do you think is the best way to address the question residencies want to know but they can’t ask such as “are you planning to have a child in residency”?
While they are not supposed to directly ask this question, unfortunately, they do. I have been asked this question before, and I’d say just answer it truthfully. If it’s the program for you then your answer shouldn’t matter. During my residency interviews, I shared with the program interviewers that I had a family. It was important in my program selections. I wanted to be sure I had the proper set-up and structure for my kids’ well-being while training at my program for the next 3 years.
Q10. Are you treated or seen differently if you mention children during residency?
Yes, you are. However, be honest and show them that you are as hard of a worker if not better than your counterparts.
interview by Diksha Mohapatra
School: California School of Podiatric Medicine
Breaking the Mold: Today’s Podiatric Women
March 2020, Special Edition, Student, Lifestyle, Motivation
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