LLP157: Uplifting and Empowering Women Doctors with Dr. Archana Shrestha

Women in White coats, Dr. Archana Shrestha, Women Empowerment

Let's talk about Uplifting and Empowering Women Doctors…

On this week's episode of the Lunch and Learn with Dr. Berry we have Dr. Archana Shrestha, an emergency physician, life coach, best-selling author and entrepreneur. She is the founder and chief wellness officer at Mighty Mom, MD and the co-founder of the widely-read Women in White Coats blog. Archana’s mission and purpose is to uplift and empower working women.

In this episode, we talk about the origin of Women in White Coats, her contribution to the latest series in the anthology and what is in store. In this current, challenging time, front liners need to be encouraged.

Text LUNCHLEARNPOD to 44222 today or sign up at www.listentodrberry.com to join the mailing list.

Remember to subscribe to the podcast and share the episode with a friend or family member.

Listen on Apple PodcastGoogle PlayStitcherSoundcloudiHeartRadioSpotify

Sponsors:

Links/Resources:

Social Links:

If you are looking to help the show out

  • Leave a Five Star Review on Apple Podcast because your ratings and reviews are what is going to make this show so much better
  • Share a screenshot of the podcast episode on all of your favorite social media outlets & tag me or add the hashtag. #lunchlearnpod

Download Episode 157

[showhide type=””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””post”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” more_text=””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””Episode 157
Transcript…”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” less_text=””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””Show less…””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””]

Introduction

Dr. Berry:
Welcome to another episode of the Lunch and Learn with Dr. Berry. I'm your host, Dr. Berry Pierre, your favorite Board Certified Internist. Founder of drberrypierre.com, as well the CEO of Pierre Medical Consulting. Helping you empower yourself for better health with the number one podcast for patient advocacy, affirmation and education This week, we bring you Dr. Archana Shrestha, who an Emergency Room Physician, a Life Coach, Bestselling Author and Entrepreneur. And more importantly, she is the founder and chief wellness officer in Mighty Mom MD and the co-founder of the widely read Women in White Coats blog. If you guys have cut some of my previous episodes, I've had the opportunity to interview, I think right now, going on four. Now, we have five authors from this series. It's an amazing opportunity for women professionals in white coats to really get their thoughts and their words and their emotions and our stories out to the world.

And I've had a blessed opportunity to be a part of promoting this series out to the masses. And I'm definitely thankful for it today. We have Dr. Archana she talks about really her purpose and her goal in starting Women in White Coats. What she actually contributed to the most recent volume two – The Chronicles Women in White Coats. And more importantly, what's the future to come with the organization of Women in White Coats in herself. So, remember to tell a friend, if not 10 to listen to the podcast episode, subscribe, and leave us a five star review. Let us know how you feel about today's episode and you guys have a great blessed day. Bye.

Episode

Dr. Berry:
Alright, Lunch and Learn Community. Just heard another amazing introduction from a guest who, again, I've had the privilege of being able to interview not one, not two, but I believe four of her co-authors. I believe it's up to four now. Don't kill me anyone if I miss. I think it's going to be my fourth or fifth one. But definitely blessed to have Dr. Shrestha on the show. Honestly, we're going to get to her business because that's what we do here on Lunch and Learn podcast. We're going to be talking about the Women in White Coats. We're going to talk about her book, her contribution to the most recent book, as well get some more business on a personal event that she got to. Dr. Shrestha, first of all, thank you for taking the time to join us here on Lunch and Learn community. Very, very appreciative of the time you spent here.

Dr. Shrestha:
Hey, Dr. Berry, thank you so much. I'm really, really excited to be here today and to have the opportunity to talk with you.

Dr. Berry:
For listener to those who again, maybe the first time they hear about you, tell us a little bit about yourself, right? They heard the bio, but I got listener who loves skipping the bio and I go right to this. So, tell us about yourself. What do you do on a day to day basis? And most importantly, because I love` to do this for my position. Let's talk about your general path in medicine.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. So, I'm a board certified emergency physician and I have been attending for 12 years out there practicing in the ER, seeing patients all different types of patients from pediatric patients all the way up to geriatrics, you know, so I've definitely had those newborns. I've had patients as old as 107 and one of the cool things about emergency medicine is you not only get to see that huge variety of the age, but also the different levels of acuity, so patients who maybe aren't that sick, sometimes a patients who might normally go to urgent care type of thing, or might choose to come to the ER, or patients who are very sick and need to go to the ICU. And, that was something I really enjoyed about emergency medicine and that's how I ended up choosing it.
Dr. Berry, I was one of those med students went into med school I had been exposed to medicine quite a bit growing up. My mom is a now retired family physician, but her family practice is solo private practice for entire career. And so her family practice was our family business in many ways. My dad would go in and help with their billing. And when I became a teenager would help out in her office as like the secretary and do some filing and my brothers would clean the rooms and vacuum and stuff like that. So it was definitely, in many ways a family business. And I grew up around the businesses of medicine. However, even though, I went to med school, not knowing for sure what field I wanted to do. I kind of thought maybe pediatrics. But then when I got to my pediatric rotation, there were certain things I really loved about it. I felt really heartbroken when I would see those really sick kids and sometimes wouldn't make it. And, who had cancer diagnosis like that just really broke my heart. I also, didn't like to hear kids crying and screaming from some of the procedures that we have to do. But then it kind of just kept an open mind, and I went to all my different rotations. I liked a little bit of everything. I liked a little bit of OB GYN. I liked some of the surgical aspects, like doing some procedures, like minor procedures that didn't necessarily being scrubbed into the OR doing a 10 hour case or anything like that.

I just really liked a little bit of everything. And then somehow I don't even know what it was that made me decide that it was going to give, well actually I do remember what it was. I rotated in the pediatric ER for about a week, and that was my first exposure to the ER. And that was actually part of my pediatrics rotation. And I said, wow, I like this place. This environment just seems like the perfect environment for me. And so then, later on, when it came time to doing electives, I said, I got to do a full month of rotating in the ER and see how it is. And, that was like the perfect thing for me. I was kind of love, I fell in love with it because I just felt like I jived. This was like my vibe, the people who worked there were my fit, my kind of people. And I also am the type of person who likes variety. I have a journalism background. So being on the frontlines and like where the action is. And so it's like, this is the place for me to be, this is where all the action is happening. This is like what I imagine medicine being like, you know, and really getting to be there for people during their emergencies that they're experiencing. And, um, I just found it so incredibly exciting. And, so that was it. That was how I decided I was going to do emergency medicine. And, it certainly wasn't a cakewalk to match into emergency medicine for residency. It can be a very challenging residency. And I actually write about that experience in our first book and some of the obstacles that I had to overcome to actually become an emergency physician.

Dr. Berry:
What I love about that is, especially the Lunch and Learn listeners who sometimes they don't necessarily see. They only typically see the end result. They just see the internist, the surgeon, but they don't see the thought process that it takes. They don't see the ups, they don't see the downs. And I think the importance of really kind of being able to humanize your physician and see them for all of the stuff they do, so grace. I definitely love. Especially as a student that moment, I just kind of clicked for you and say, Oh, you know what? Like this is it, I can't see myself. And I jokingly told a student the most students who I rotate with, like, alright guys, you had about a year and change to kind of decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.

So, if you're not one of those people who, when you were a first year medical student, Oh, I'm going to be the surgeon, that dermis, like, if you're not one of those people, which most of us aren't, you're going to find that within this next 12 months or 13 months, like what you want to do for the rest of your life and hopefully you're happy doing it. So, I definitely love that aspect of care. Now you mentioned it. And I definitely don't want to pass your journalism background. How does having that journalism background and what made you say, what maybe medicine.

Dr. Shrestha:
I had actually always planned to go to med school and the journalism part was actually kind of veer off the path to med school. And so I had been in one of these programs that there's students out there they might know about some of these direct programs where you basically get admitted to med school from high school. It's a guaranteed admission. And, at the university I went to, basically like as long as I kept up my GPA and I got a certain score on my MCAT, which is like a pretty high score. It wasn't a cakewalk kind of score. It was like a pretty good score that you had to get. And you had to keep your GPA up pretty high. And then as long as you met those requirements in your spot was guaranteed for you in med school. So, I decided that I was going to be a doctor at 17, started applying for these programs. So that was quite young. And then I always kind of in the back of my mind, wondered was I doing it because I wanted to? Or it somehow planted in my head that I was going to become a doctor?

My mom was mentoring me. And I kind of had to say, you know what, I got to make sure I'm doing this for the right reasons. Meanwhile, I started writing for the school paper, the university paper, newspaper, and I had always loved writing. And so my brother's girlfriend at the time was also in journalism school. And so I was just all of a sudden fascinating. I was like, Oh, this sounds really cool. And really interesting. I decided to cover sports. And, at my university, they actually had a professional women's tennis tournament, and Serena Williams and Venus Williams came to play and they got to interview them and watch them play. And I was like, this is amazing, this is so much fun. And again, I mentioned, I love the excitement. I love being on the front lines.

And then I just decided, I was wondering like, am I doing the right thing? Because I'm really loving this journalism stuff. And so I said, let me go. And, instead of going straight to med school, I'm going to take a year to explore further and ended up doing a masters in journalism. It was a yearlong program. They kept my seat for me in med school, in case I wrote one. So it was kind of a nice opportunity to explore. And when I did do journalism, I absolutely loved it and had a really great time. But then I started thinking, well, I still feel like I want to become a doctor and can I do both? And then I decided, well, yeah, I can do both. And there's this thing called medical journalism. And I looked up to people sort of the OJI before Sanjay Goop though was the chief medical correspondent for ABC news was like Dr. Timothy Johnson. And I'd always loved this work.

Dr. Berry:
Ok, I like that.

Dr. Shrestha:
When I was growing up and I always watched him and I like, Oh, wow, that's so cool. There are doctors out there who are doing journalism. And so finally things came full circle for me to really dive deeper into medical journalism. When I was in residency and my residency at George Washington University, they had this really cool, um, part of it where we were supposed to do a mini fellowship. And that just meant that we could focus on anything that we really wanted to within kind of medicine. And, they had this whole philosophy of, to prevent burnout you should have something else that you're passionate about beside the clinical practice of medicine. And so, they really highly encouraged us to use that mini fellowship and people did things like administrative things, or maybe they liked EMS or ultrasound, but for me, I'm going to do medical journalism.

And, so I spent a number of months. I guess, a rotate up in Boston at ABC News and doing the medical journalism internship, and I guess actually meets expert Timothy Johnson and, write for their blog and behind the scenes and see what was going on in the medical journalism world. And then things kind of kept going from there. I actually produced the documentary and produced a documentary. I kept writing. I've always been blogging over the years. Things kind of took a back seat with that. Once I have my kids and family, but then, in the past three, four years came back to it with Women and White Coats. So it's been quite the journey. But, what I think is important is that sometimes as physicians, we get channeled into one thing and being like it's medicine and I got to be all in and there's nothing else. I can't have any other side hobbies or any other side interests that I can develop. But, I think that we are multi-talented. Many physicians are multi-talented and have so many interests. And, many of us were actually quite talented in other areas before going into medicine. And we let those things die off or be dormant. But I love telling people to reconnect with those things. You see their face light up.

Dr. Berry:
What I love about that is so funny. Just this year, I'm a program director for those who may not know. Just this year I started like a business and medicine lecture series. And, one of my lectures was literally focused on what do you want to do for a city life? Hospitalist, outpatient medicine, academics. Okay. That's great, that's on the left side. Okay. Now you got that job. Now, what do you actually want to do after you have this? What are your hobbies? What are your strengths? What do you actually enjoy doing that? No one has to pay you for it to do. I want to know what those. You hit it right on the head. We get into medicine and we go so hard doing medicine that we just totally brush off these things. Totally brushed off the fact that I like writing. I like reading. I like doing… We just told her, I'm doing medicine, so I'm not even going to payday. And I love that you were able to do really both at the same time. Even at our residency, you are still writing, blogging and that's amazing.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. I've had a number of different blogs over the years. It keep evolving and iterating into what I'm doing. But, I've kept writing overall. I've done some type of media work overall. I was a spokesperson for the American college of emergency physicians for 10 years. And so did a lot of media work. So I was always doing something related to medical journalism. And certainly when my personal life got busy and I became a mom and I had young children, I had to prioritize, what was I going to spend my time on. So that's why I say things I couldn't spend as much time as I maybe would have on medical journalism at that time. But, what's interesting Dr. Berry is the I've been noticing, I realized this somewhat recently is that when my kids were born, when I had my first child, there was an entrepreneur that was born in me and I started to get into. In addition to writing, I also started to get into building a business. I've had number of different businesses over the years.

This business at first started when I had my son, my first son, actually a t-shirt business, a novelty t-shirt. As I just said. I started to really just fall in love with being an entrepreneur and learning this whole other skill set of things like marketing and how to grow a business. How to just spread your message out there. What I love about entrepreneurship is that it's all about solving problems. It's really, it's bringing value to the world and solving problems and taking a problem and finding a solution for it that other people could use and that they value. It's been really a cool journey and and I think that that's interesting about life. We all evolve, and I think that physicians tend to get, we've already mentioned kind of stuck in one lane but we're always growing. We're always evolving. And that's one of the things with Women in White Coats is I love connecting with women doctors and you don't have to do medicine this one way. There's so many different ways of doing it and you could really practice medicine, any multiple different ways and make it fit for you and make it work for you.

Dr. Berry:
Let's talk about the Women in White Coats now. Obviously just being in your situation and everything, did you feel this black hole of a need, where it was a frustration? What was the origin that said, you know what I have to do this because like, I just have to to know about the start of the things that tend to take off?

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah, absolutely. So, the whole idea of the concept of the book. So what our whole Women in White Coats really started from a book. We wrote a book called the Chronicles of Women and White Coats. It was published back in 2018. It was the brain child of Dr. Amber Robins. Who's my co-founder for Women in White Coats. But she came up with this idea of. A lot of us women doctors are in these private Facebook groups and we're sharing the real deal, the ups and downs of what we're going through, the struggles, the successes, and we were like, you know what? Amber had the idea of well, why is all this so private? Why are we keeping these stories private? Because women who are thinking about going into medicine, they should know the struggles, the ups, the downs. And that it's not always, like Grey's anatomy this Hollywood version of being a doctor, it's the real deal here.
And they should know that. And so she decided to put the book together and we were at the book launch and we had this audience of people were doing a Q and A, and people were just asking us all these questions. A lot of lay people, our family and friends, so not everybody there who was in medicine. And so they were just like, well, what's read the book. There's so many stories in there, well, when is the next book coming out? And, what we also realized that it wasn't just a book and it wasn't just a moment in time. This was really the beginning of a movement and where we really needed to share the stories. And this is also women empowerment is kind of really taking off around the country.

And, for me on a personal level, I also saw my mom as a doctor and she struggled a lot. She was a generation ago, a doctor and nowadays there's 50% of even students are women enrolling in med school. But when you look at the number of women physicians out there practicing, all ages, it's about one third are women physicians. And, at the time where she was practicing especially when she first started out in practice or when we were young children. When her kids were young, when we were young, she struggled a lot because there weren't very many women doctors. And I saw her go through a lot of different things. Not having much support from the men in the field. In fact, she actually wanted to be an OB GYN and male OB GYN would tell her, like, nobody wants to see a female OB GYN, which is actually quite the opposite. Right.
Nowadays. And they're like, well, women want to have a male. And she was like, really, okay, that seems kind of weird, but people just discouraged her and she would be like in the doctor's lounge, like one of only one, a few women there. And meanwhile, of course she had her friends, but many of them weren't doctors in many of the morning, even like working women. So she was very isolated throughout our journey. And as a physician, as a woman physician, and I saw her kind of internalize that struggle, and it did kind of lead to some chronic medical problems over time. And so that's my personal connection to why this is so important. Meanwhile, when I'm in med school and I'm out there, as an attending, even I'll walk into a room and see a patient.
And especially if it's like an older male, he'll be like, you're the doctor? And I'll be like, yup, I'm the doctor that's on when we wear in the white coat. And that's why my badge says physician on it. There's been times were like, I'll go see the patient and come out the room. And then the nurse will come up to me later and said, that patient said that haven't been seeing my doctor yet. I'm like, well, you know what? I always make it a point to like the reason I wear my white coat is because I feel like that makes me look more like a doctor. And then I even make it a point to say, I'm Dr. Shrestha, I'll be your doctor here today. I think doctor, at least a couple of times sees them. So that really sinks in.

Dr. Berry:
Drives home. Like, please, please…

Dr. Shrestha
Yeah. And so as then, you'll get comments about, Oh, you're too young to be a doctor. You're too pretty to be a doctor, stuff like that. And it's like, well, you're just kind of like, okay, well, and then you show them how good you are and you kind of have to feel like you have to prove yourself. And so, if you talk to any female physician you'll hear this story from every single one of them that they are assumed to be the nurse. And we love our nurses and we absolutely need our nurses. That's not what I'm saying, but it's just we want it to be recognized for our credentials. And all the years that we spend, many of us spent like a decade between med school and residency training to become a doctor. A board certified physician.

And so, it was no small feat took a lot of work. And so, we just started to realize that women doctors, we personally were going through a lot and then you get into like starting a family and then trying to juggle having kids and your career. And that's for me when I started to feel burnout, because I was basically not taking any time for my own self-care. I was feeling some parents will burn out, some career burnout because basically, you had the second shift. I'd go to a shift in the ER. And then I would come home and do a shift at home taking care of the kids. And so, that was when I first started to feel burnout. And, we just realized that there's so much going on, that women doctors need so much support in what they're going through.
And, we hate for them to have done all this training and then just walk away because it's just too much. So we, our mission is to uplift and empower women doctors throughout their life, throughout their career, through the ups and downs, and really just give them the tools that they need to succeed, to have a long fulfilling career in medicine or practice medicine on their own terms. We do that in many ways. One is through creating community. That's a big part of what we do.

Dr. Berry:
I was going to ask this because I saw it started out as a book. I want to know how people can be encompassed into the world of a Women in White Coats.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. That's such a great question Dr Berry. I mean, basically we've really, we started as a book and we evolved. We decided to do a blog because there were so many more stories that needed to be shared. So many more perspectives that need to be shared. And so many more women doctors who wanted to share their stories. So we said, let's not wait to do another book. Let's just start and get a blog out there. And so we put a blog together and it did really, really well. People love the content that we're publishing. They love the stories that we were sharing. And from there we just started building a community as well. And then as we built the community of course comes like, when are we going to get together and meet in person? Because it was all an online community.

And then we started doing a retreat, a wellness retreat, and then we would start doing some meet ups and in-person retreats. And then now we also have online courses and have many other people have been switching more and more too virtual meetings and things like that due to the pandemic. But, we've really evolved into a lot of different things even doing some coaching as well to really dig deeper with people, with doctors who really need that additional support to make it through the different things that they're going through, whether it's being a mom and medicine, or maybe they're wanting to figure out how to practice medicine on their own terms in a way that really fits their life and their family's life. And my goal is to hopefully make, I would love to see medicine be a really family friendly fields for men and women who have family, but especially for women who tend to carry more of the family responsibilities.

Dr. Berry:
It's definitely. As a program director, I kind of mentioned it to IG posts that this year alone we have, because we take six residents every year and we match all six women. Which is definitely been a feat that I've been shooting for. Because when I started as a program director the ratio was 12 and four, No, I'm sorry, 12 and six, like 12 men. And, this doesn't even make sense because this doesn't even match medical school stuff. So what is happening? What are we doing? Or what do us not portraying right. That doesn't make us like a viable spot. So to have six this year I'm very ecstatic about, but I always think about like, okay, what am I doing? And I have to be very active in my approach. Because you can't just read the idle, right? What can I do to make sure that this continues to be a safe environment for women? As they go through, I'd say some of the toughest part of being a doctor is the training aspect of it. Understanding that, lives are still going to be led. Once they leave the hospital after shift especially when it comes to family. And I've seen that burden on both ways where my male residents, their wife is pregnant. Wouldn't even realize it because it doesn't change them. They're just going through the motions. But when obviously my female residents are pregnant. There's appointments they got to get to. And then when the pregnancy comes is leave that has to occur in what do you do for the lead now? And am I now penalize? And having to stay extra time on my medical education. Just because I happened to be a woman and those are questions that again, I, as a man I'm never going to be able to relate. I can be empathetic and say like, yes I understand the problem, but I'm never going to really understand the problems. So I think it is active approach that you have to do active especially to make medicine, a safe environment for women. Because again, I don't want to say as you know, as I assume that for a lot of women, it hasn't been safe at 100 at a time as it may be for a man.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. And I really applaud you Dr. Berry for being active in seeking out women to join your program and being someone who, as a hashtag goes, he for she, standing up for. Because we need women also need men to do stand up for them and to advocate for them. And it can't just be women advocating for other women. We need men to also do that. I really applaud you for doing that. It's so important and so valuable. But yeah, I mean, as women we do go through a lot of different things. I mean, I can remember in my residency program, one of the former residency directors had highly discouraged the women physicians from getting pregnant during residency. And apparently it had been spoken a few times. You shouldn't have kids.

Dr. Berry:
It wasn't even an unspoken, not even unspoken.

Dr. Shrestha:
That's what I had heard. I never heard it directly from this attending, but I heard through the grapevine. So I don't know. It could just be hearsay, but that's what I heard. Nobody ever said that to me. I wasn't married at the time. I was not wanting to have kids at that time because I can barely keep myself afloat. I wouldn't be able to handle being pregnant at that time and taking care of a child. However, for some women, it is the time for them. And, there's of course all the infertility issues. There've been studies that actually show that women doctors have more infertility problems. I think it was a one in three of us. Even when your account for age the fact that we're tending to start having kids later.

And so even when you match that, so I don't know, maybe it's stress, maybe it's the environment who knows what it is, but we already having infertility issues too on top of that. And so, it's tough, but I would love to see more residency's doing things to make it more family friendly because I do think women doctors are real asset. And there's a lot of patients out there who want women doctors, and there's been a few studies that have shown how women doctors can have really good outcomes. Sometimes it's better than their male colleagues for certain things. And, I think that the more we can do to make it a more family and women friendly profession the better.

Dr. Berry:
Did you have any hurdles or were there any hurdles during the origination of the idea of women and white coats and just the thought process or just trying to get other women together was any like steps you had to go through or was it pretty readily accepted?

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah, I mean, I think they had a really good reception to what we're doing and, you know, we're, we always kept things really positive and uplifting and, just collaborative. So I think that we've been really lucky that way in that people have really loved what we've done and they really enjoy all the events that we put together and the content we're putting out, we get pretty much nothing but positive feedback on everything that we're doing, because I think people especially the women out there who are following us they just really feel this need for what we're doing and the content we're creating. And, every time we do an event especially, and we talk about things like burnout, the feedback we get. I didn't know that I felt so alone before I found this community. I felt so alone. I felt like it was this big dark secret of what I was going through. And then nobody could understand, and they just felt so alone in the hurdles that they were facing. The difficulties obstacles, and then also oftentimes that leading to burnout because women physicians have the most recent Medscape survey, actually published this year showed that nearly 50% of women doctors are feeling burnout. Whereas for men it's closer to about 40%. And so, half of us are feeling burnt out and we're just going around trying to hide it because we just feel like embarrassed. We feel like we've disappointed others. We feel like we're disappointing the system. If we don't practice full time at this, fit in the box like the cookie cutter way of practicing medicine. If we go down to part time or if we cut it in now decide to take the leave of absence, we were kind of like made to feel like we're less than for doing that. The main feedback we get is, wow. I finally found a community that gets me and understands what I'm going through and I don't have to feel alone anymore.

Dr. Berry:
I love it. So talk to us about your recent contribution. Because we talk about Women in White Coats, but you guys just dropped it out of the book. Talk to us about part two, talks about your contribution to the book.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. So the second book has been wonderful. Dr. Amber Robbins and I are the only two authors in the original book who also were writing for the second book. In this second book I write about superwoman syndrome and about what it was like for me to grow up with watching my mom, who I basically saw as a superwoman, because she was not only raising me, my brothers, I have two older brothers, but she was working private solo practice. And she did a lot of things on her own. And on top of that, she was really engaged in her community and was like a phenomenal Indian cook as well. My family is from India and she also dealt with so much between gender disparity and also some racism. She dealt with so much and I watched her deal with that.
And, when I became a mom, I thought I was supposed to be just like her in many ways or that I should achieve as much as she had. And then I realized, I'm like, wait, how did she do all that? I certainly am not able to do nearly half of what she's able to do. I can barely keep one area of my life straight, whether its career or family, it was like to do the both. And I have this inferiority complex about my cookie. I'm like, I'll never be as good a cook as her, and then I came to this realization of like, wait, why am I trying to be the super woman? Where did this whole thing come from? Who said, I have to be a superwoman, why can't I just accept who I am and that I'm doing the best I can do.
Where's this ideal of a super woman coming from. And so, I started to just question that in my own journey. Why am I trying to be a super woman? Do I even want to be a super woman? And what are the costs of trying to be a super woman? And basically what a super woman is like, there's actually a super superwoman syndrome is actually kind of a terminal term that psychologists use and what it is is basically giving so much to others and trying to do everything so not only being a career woman, but also a very present mom, a very engaged mom. So you're trying to like, not only do everything with your career, but also everything at home and you just kind of keep adding and adding and adding to the plate, never taking anything off.

Whereas a career woman kind of decides like I'm going to focus on my career and the home life is going to be someone else's responsibility not so much my focus, but a super woman tries to do at all. They try to do both things, and what is the cost of that? And so I kind of looked at my mom's life and the cost of it from my mom really was that she ended up with some chronic illnesses. She, over time, the chronic stress led to some chronic illnesses that she had, like hypertension and some other things and led to a lot of anxiety for her and feeling isolated and burnout. That's, that was the cost. I was surprised she paid being a superwoman.

And so, initially when I became a mom trying to be a superwoman, I started to really think about isn't that the way to go and what do I want my life to look like? And I consciously made a choice. I'm not going to try to be a superwoman. I'm going to ask my husband to help me as much as possible. We're going to get an nanny where we're going to use Amazon prime, like do all these things in small and big ways to just learn, to bring help, involve other people and not for me to try to do everything on my own. I'm only one person I can only do so much. As I mentioned I was also going through some burnout at that time.

And then I started to realize that the self-care was really, really important. And what oftentimes superwoman, super women do is they do everything for everyone else, for their career, for their work, for their family, except themselves. They put themselves last and they basically sacrifice themselves for the sake of everybody else. What I started to realize is that that is not sustainable. Like that is just basically running yourself into the ground. So basically I decided that that's not what I was going to do. I'm not going to try to be a super woman. I'm going to take time for myself and self-care and really try to give them from the overflow. So those people say, you can't give from an empty cup, which is absolutely true. And she could pour from a full cup, but I would say, actually you should give from the overflow, like fill yourself up so much that you have so much love to give. You have so much energy, so much passion, so much motivation to give to others that you're giving from the overflow. And I think that's, that's true giving when you're giving from the overflow cup by depleting yourself. And so that's kind of what I write about in the chapter. And, what's been really cool, Dr. Berry is that so many people have really related to it and can really resonate with that message. Even women who aren't in medicine, just women, especially just working women, working moms can really relate to the whole perspective on that and take away a lot from that chapter. So it was really fun chapter to write about. And, I think it really resonated to a lot of people.

Dr. Berry:
Now, has Women in White Coats, just the foundation origin, like everything that's kind of been a cup is from it. Has it helped you with the burnout? Has it helped you get back to recognize what is self-care for you? How has it had a positive effect on yourself?

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah, absolutely. It's been such a wonderful time for me to be a part of this and it really reconnected me to so many things, it got me back writing more. It got me doing more medical journalism and media work, but also got me to get the creative juices flowing. I'm a very creative person. And if somebody is a co-founder of it, it is also a business and then it got my entrepreneurial side kind of going too. So, it's really been so incredibly motivating. And I think one of the things that's so rewarding is just having a passion for helping others and making an impact in other people's lives. And, bringing that creativity, they're bringing the writing, you're using my entrepreneurial skills as well, and it's really all kind of accommodated.

And so many of the different aspects of my life, between medicine and journalism and my interest in being an entrepreneur. All kind of culminates with Women and White coats for me at this time. And, so it's really helped me a lot. It's also given me a huge, like a community it's helped me speak excited about life. I think that maybe you can relate to after being out practicing for a number of years. The clinical side, you're like, okay, I got this after the 1000 chest pain and abdominal pain evaluated, you're like, okay, it's not so intellectually challenging anymore. Um, so I think that for me, I feel my best when I'm just growing all the time, when I keep growing and I keep learning and doing different things and I think within medicine. I felt very comfortable like clinical practice of medicine. I felt very like, I'm good. I remember my stride with that, but I needed to keep growing in another area. And so, Women in White Coats has been an avenue and venue for me. So it's been really amazing.

Dr. Berry:
Now, where did Mighty Mom come from? Is that more of extension? It was that there before?

Dr. Shrestha
Yeah, so Mighty Mom MD is my personal brand. I mentioned it, I've had a number of businesses over the years. So my son is now 10, but when he was under a year old, I started this t-shirt business. And then after a couple of years of that, trying to overcome burnout. And what brought me back, as I mentioned, was diving deep into self-care, which meant, eating really well, focusing on my nutrition and I'm working out regularly. And the other thing that was happening of dealing with the mommy stress, career stress, the burnout, et cetera, is that I had gained a bunch of weight and I was wanting to lose it. And so I'm focusing on self-care, not only allowed me to lose about 35 pounds, but really got me feeling better mentally.

Because I was a super crabby person then. Just getting into really negative head space and mindset. And so I working out, brought me back and I had a coach who helped me on my fitness journey, who helped me get into really great self-care routine. And so what happened as I lost the weight and people were like, Hey, you look happy. Like what's going on? Like, you just seem like a happier person. And I was like, yeah, I am happier we've been doing these workouts. I've been following this nutrition plan. It's been amazing. They're like, well, I don't want to do it too. How do I do it? And so I decided to help them. And I became a coach focusing on wellness and lifestyle, nutrition and exercise.

So, I started coaching and that's what Mighty Mom MD is my personal brand for my wellness coaching. What I was doing as I got involved in a first book of Women in White Coats, the Chronicles of Women in White Coats, which was back in 2018. And so, now I kind of do both, but I am spending more time with Women in White Coats of lake. Because we're just growing so much and we have a lot of momentum, but it's interesting because a lot of the things really aligned in many ways. When I was coaching primarily with Mighty Mom MD many of my clients were in healthcare. Many of them were women physicians or nurses and, just because they could relate to me and I could relate to them and what they were going through. All those donuts that just show up in the hospital bake room. I was like, yeah, I got you. I totally know that like the cookies and the donuts. You don't even have a chance to eat in the ER, but somehow like donuts and pizza and show up.

Dr. Berry:
Right. Yeah. You never see who even brings it in. It just ends up like, Oh, okay. Or don't notice it here, but you look at the table and okay donuts okay.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. Donuts. And plus you're like, Hmm, I didn't even eat anything today. Maybe I should have a donut. And so then you start gaining weight so I can relate to what they're going through. And I was like, yeah, I totally hear you. And here's what I do. Here's my tricks for avoiding the donuts, so it always kind of converged in many ways, because with Women and White Coats, we do definitely talk a lot about wellness. We have a lot of talks about burnout and how to overcome it. And, obviously burnout is multifactorial and it can certainly be due to some institutional things that are going on within the hospital or EMR or, administrative burden that people feel doctors feel. But there's also the self-care side, which I think that we in med school are never taught that we need to take care of the healer. You can't just keep on giving and giving and never take care of yourself. So in many ways the two have kind of like converged and now we're doing some coaching through Women and White Coats too. So in many ways it's all kind of, one thing leads to the other to the other and you just kind of evaluating and growing. So that's the beautiful part about it.

Dr. Berry:
I love it. So speaking of evolving, what's happening next for us? What do we have to lose? I know I'm asking a lot, because I know you just did the book. But what's next for us? What's on horizon?

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. So with Woman and White Coats, we actually have a Birch full summit that we're putting together and it's called the Women in White Coats Virtual Summit. And the theme of it is called women docs thinking outside the box. So, I mean, I kind of referenced that as we've been talking, because I think that the book what we're doing basically is featuring 15 plus women doctors who are practicing medicine on their own terms, living life on their own terms, because so many of us especially when we're training, we see doctors who are practicing in one way. And many of us see that the academic doctor physicians. Where we're like, Oh, I got to be an academics. And then I was like that too. I was like, Oh, I got to get an academic job. And then I got to become a professor and this, that, and the other thing.

And then, I didn't get an academic job. I was super disappointed. I'm like, okay, I'm going to do community medicine. And It'll be great. I did community medicine, but then even there it's like people practice in a certain way. It's you got to do full time or you going to have this really huge practice. And we just start to feel like there's only one way to practice medicine. And what I love about these women doctors who were a part of this summit is that they're practicing medicine so many different ways. And we've got people talking on telemedicine and an expert who's going to talk about locum tenants and someone else talking about direct primary care and how to set that up. Also, you know, how to create a med spa or do like a concierge practice. And also just other things like getting into real estate investing or stock investing and so many different things because we just realized also lifestyle medicine. That's another huge thing people want to do or sleep medicine. There's so many different ways to practice medicine. We don't have to always just follow the traditional model or many of us now are employed by others and maybe it's time to take back your medical degree. And right now with the pandemic, so many people are transitioning and pivoting and realizing like, okay, maybe their job isn't so stable, they're employed position. Isn't quite so stable as they thought. Yeah. So I think that's the huge wakeup call happening for us in medicine is that we, yeah, I used to even tell my husband. I was like, yeah, healthcare is recession proof.

People always need healthcare. And then they're like, the pandemic happens and you've literally got dermatologists and ENT doctors who have no income. They're like, now I'm living. Yeah. I've just burned through my savings. And now I have nothing. And it's like, whoa, really? It's just kind of a huge wakeup call that maybe we all need to have other sources of income besides our regular job or regular position that we have. So we're trying to give women doctors out there, all the information that they could possibly want, on a variety of different topics, different ways to practice medicine and make it work for you. Especially given the fact that many of us also have family and family responsibilities. And also just concern about being sometimes in places where you were seeing COVID patients, maybe some people have family members at home who could be immuno compromised.

I don't want to bring that home to their family and that type of thing. So the whole healthcare landscape has really changed now. And so that's why we thought it would be really important to share what other women doctors are doing and how they're practicing medicine and doing things perhaps different than the traditional way. And, so far we've gotten a ton of people already signed up register for it. It's a free summit and it's going to be wonderful. I think people will absolutely love it. It's August 31st through September 4th, in case any of your listeners want to check it out, they can just go to our website, womeninwhitecoats.com and get registered for it.

Dr. Berry:
Oh, perfect. And we'll definitely make sure that is in the show notes. Once I'm done, I'm going to sign up for that because I want to listen to, I want to be empowered. Like I said I love the aspect of the women, women empowerment just in general especially in medicine, especially in healthcare because I know there are forces. There is nothing you have done but that continue to hold you guys down in a position that you don't need to be in. I'm one for always trying to circumvent those outside forces that have been historically and traditionally even as we speak. Right? Making sure that you don't really excel to a level that you need to, that you don't get paid at the level that you deserve. You don't get the time off, you don't get the respect. I could go, I could keep going but like again so shout out to that for sure. Before I let you go, I know Women in White Coats, so would make sure link, how can people find you, follow you, be in your world? Let them know this, give these call to actions out. Let's get people to work in.

Dr. Shrestha:
Yeah. Let me, so if you want to check out Women in White Coats, you can find us at womeninwhitecoats.com. We're also on Instagram at womeninwhitecoatsblog. And if you want to check out what I'm doing, you can follow me on Instagram as well at mightymommd or you can head on over to my website, its mightymommd.com.

Dr. Berry:
I love it. Again, thank you for taking the time once again. And, as a father of three, but two daughters. I just love seeing this change and seeing this level of determination of that women like you. I'm not going to allow you to allow my gender to be a handicap anymore. Like that's not going to happen. So I definitely thank you for serving as an amazing example not only for my daughter, it's not only for my mom, my sister and my cousin. And thank you for that.

Dr. Shrestha:
Thank you. Yeah. I really, really appreciate that. This has been such a wonderful conversation and I do have a daughter as well, and I was just thinking about it today. She tells me she wants to be a doctor. And I never told her to do that, but she's seen me and she has seen my mom, she knows we actually have a lot of doctors in our family, but she's seen many of us. She says she wants to be a doctor. And sometimes I'm like, Oh, it's a tough, it's a tough time, but then I realized we have the opportunity to change this. We can change it. If we work together, we can make it as family friendly as just the way nursing is. So female heavy. So many nurses I think it's 90% of nurses are women. So maybe we can make medicine into that too. One day we're women don't shy away from it because it seems like impossible to do with a family.

Dr. Berry:
Thank you for joining and much appreciative. And again, I wish you nothing but support and nothing but success, really for everything. It looks like it's going to be a huge umbrella now of Women in White Coats.
Dr. Shrestha
Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate it. It's been wonderful chatting with you.

[/showhide]

Download the MP3 Audio file, listen to the episode however you like.

About the Author:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top