Dr. Nina Solomon
Q1. Why did you choose podiatry?
I always wanting to be in medicine, I happily stumbled upon podiatry through a family friend whose brother was a podiatrist in NJ. I loved the instant gratification of someone walking in with pain/problem and leaving without it. And I loved that I wasn’t restricted- pediatrics, adults, dermatology, orthopedics, surgery- endless choices!
Q2. Is there something you specialized in?
I guess that by default practicing in south Florida, geriatric medicine becomes a subspecialty.
Q3. What is a typical work environment for you?
My practice is primarily a two-practioner office with: house calls, assisted living, and nursing facilities appointments available for our homebound patients.
Q4. What does a typical week look like for you?
A typical week is non-existent!
My days start at 5:45 A.M. getting my high school senior
up, fed, and off to school. Then it’s attending to our animals, throwing in a load of wash or similar errands before office hours. We tend to start our days about 9 in the morning and hope for a mix of basically whatever walks in the door. One week could be back to back geriatric care and the next could be ulcers, infections, heel spurs and pediatric warts. That is the exciting part of a general podiatric practice because there is never a dull moment and working with others in the field keeps you current and fresh. A lot of our free time for the past few years has generated around our son who is a varsity wrestler. Juggling his tournaments with the needs of his sister in college takes a divide and conquer approach but is worth every minute of the crazy.
Q5. Have you ever faced any prejudice or discrimination being a woman podiatrist, in practice or training?
Initially, and remember, it was the early 90’s and the “me too” movement was not even a twinkle, the biggest barrier was to be taken seriously. I was one of twenty females in a class of 120 people. You knew you had to work harder, be smarter than your male colleagues because you had to prove that the space you occupied wasn’t being wasted. In interviews for residency, I was asked by male attendings if I would cut my hair or nails if I was asked to even though my nails were short and my hair could go into a ponytail. I remember even being asked if I was going to get married and have children! As a resident, I had to pass through the men’sI locker room to get to the Doctor’s Lounge. That changed quickly after I made a point of passing through multiple times a day just to prove a point. I remember an attending telling me not to be “Suzy Homemaker” in the OR and I had to remind him I wouldn’t need to be if he would stop throwing the sharp instruments at me.
Q6. Any advice you have been given that you still use?
The best financial advice I was given was never to be greedy and hire the best people to represent you and your interests.
Q7. Have you ever faced any prejudice or discrimination being a woman podiatrist, in practice or training?
Unfortunately, people make unwanted comments about many things that they shouldn’t both personal and professional. If you can take it with a grain of salt so to speak then that’s what I do. If someone really steps out of line, is harassing or completely inappropriate, I have reported it to residency directors, hospital directors, and have even spoken directly to the person in question. You never have to tolerate someone who is not respectful whether it’s a colleague, administrator, or patient. I frankly tell them that what was said or done is inappropriate and if it continues the relationship, whether professional or personal, will be terminated. I also put it into writing, into a patient’s chart what was spoken about and the outcome if there is one.
Q8. What advice would you give to women that are coming into this field?
The advice I would give every aspiring doctor is to never compromise your principles because YOU will have to look in the mirror each and every day and like what you see.
Q9. Do you have a memorial experience that inspired you to work harder in your profession?
My most memorable case was when, along with my chief attending, we performed a clubfoot procedure on a middle-aged Indian gentleman who worked at our clinics. After the procedure, I went in to see him in recovery and he was crying. I asked him why and he said it was because he had never seen the top of his foot before! It was then and there I realized that the work that we did was so important that it could change people’s lives.
Interview by Tiffany Cerda
School: Barry Unviersity School of Podiatric Medicine
Breaking the Mold: Today’s Podiatric Women
March 2020, Special Edition, Student, Lifestyle, Motivation
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