September is Women in Medicine Month. We are pleased to share the stories of some of our female physicians.
Dr. Suzanne Holroyd is our next feature. She is board-certified in Psychiatry and a subspecialty certification in Geriatric Psychiatry. She is both the Chair of the Psychiatry Department and the Residency Program Director here at Marshall Health.
A career in medicine is a collaborative experience, and support from others is incredibly important. Was there a female mentor in your life that helped you navigate any obstacles in your medical career?
I really didn’t have a female mentor in my medical career. My mentors were wonderful male physicians, largely psychiatrists, who were so supportive and helped me realize my goals! In terms of female mentors, that would be my mother was a very bright and competent person who also demonstrated anything is possible! She was a musician.
Last year the #medbikini broke the internet when a journal article listed wearing a bikini on the beach on personal social media as unprofessional behavior. Do you feel that women are held to a different professionalism standard than men?
There are probably some areas where women are held to a different or stricter standard than men, and other issues where men are held to a different or stricter standard than women. I think over the years in my career, I see much improvement in the equal acceptance of both genders in medicine.
For those of you that have chosen to have children, do you ever feel that society (or even fellow colleagues) attempt to dictate that it is “impossible” to be both a good doctor and a good parent? If so, how do you handle this criticism in your own personal life, and how do you propose we navigate those wrongful judgements in the future?
I was never told or advised not to have children while pursuing an academic medical career. In fact, my male colleagues were quite supportive. I think it also depends what field of medicine you pursue, and how it mixes with being a parent. As a psychiatrist who did much nursing home and outreach work, I had a flexible schedule, so I could be the Boy Scout leader of my boys, go on field trips with my children, and see all their plays and concerts. Not every field of medicine has that flexibility. I also had support of my family who helped watch my children when they were very young, so that alleviated concern or guilt about being at work with having young children! I think children benefit from seeing both parents being successful and pursuing their interests. It can lead to expectations in their own lives and relationships.
What advice would you give to a young woman pursuing a career in medicine?
Pursue your dreams and be realistic in deciding your field and job, so it can work for the lifestyle you also want to pursue. You will not regret it!
Date Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021