Women in dermatology

January 1, 2006

National report — Women dermatologists contacted by Dermatology Times say they chose their specialty because it permits a manageable schedule, enabling them to immerse themselves in creative, artistic medicine while maintaining quality of life — in parenting and otherwise — outside of their profession.

National report - Women dermatologists contacted by Dermatology Times say they chose their specialty because it permits a manageable schedule, enabling them to immerse themselves in creative, artistic medicine while maintaining quality of life - in parenting and otherwise - outside of their profession.

Dermatology Times interviewed several women dermatologists to try to ascertain just why women select this field over others.

Dr. Narins notes that in medical school 30 years ago, she hadn't at first considered dermatology; surgery had been her first choice. But while - as the mother of a newborn - she was embarking on an exhausting surgical internship, a chance meeting on the street changed her life. The colleague suggested a change to dermatology.

Enticing variability

In dermatology, Dr. Narins explains, a physician can practice anything - immunology, surgery, oncology, general practice, rheumatology. It's always interesting, and there is always something new to learn, see and do.

Furthermore, Dr. Narins says that the lifestyle - with few on-call hours, emergency hours or night hours - allowed her to do the two things that were vitally important to her: to be a great doctor, and to be a great mother.

"I had a full-time practice at the same time as being a mother; then I had an entire academic career once the kids were out of the house," she says. She continues to be involved in academia, and is also active in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials for fillers.

She loves what she does, and notes that young doctors and prospective doctors are also seeing the light; dermatology is one of the hardest residencies to get in to.

"I love being a dermatologist. Everyone I talk to wishes they had done this. They're all jealous," she says with a chuckle.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., a Dermatology Times editorial adviser, is in love with her profession, as well. Interestingly, she also started out with another specialty in mind.