We sat down with Jamie Powers, M.D., MBA-HCM, FAAP, neonatologist at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California. Dr. Powers began her career in research in 2008. Shortly thereafter, she decided her heart was with the babies and taking care of patients and joined Mednax in 2010. She currently leads the group as practice medical director, splitting her time between administrative and clinical duties.
Watch the video for the full interview or check out the highlights below!
Did a woman inspire you to pursue a career in medicine?
Ever since I was a little girl, and everybody asks you in kindergarten what you want to do when you grow up, I always said I wanted to be a doctor. That was the only thing that ever crossed my mind, and going through school, that was the only thing I worked toward — I never considered anything else seriously. When I was in grade school, my dad worked nights and my mom worked days, so there was a period of time when they had an overlap in their schedule. My mom would drop me off at the hospital where my dad worked in the mornings, and I would sit there in my little uniform and listen to the doctors do rounds in the neonatal ICU. I did that for probably five or six years, and it was really exciting to me to listen to them talk, go back and forth and debate how to take care of these little babies and actually get to see them from time to time — my dad would walk me through the unit. So, I was actually inspired by my dad to enter into medicine. It was never a consideration that it wasn’t something I could do because I was a woman — that never really entered my mind until I got into medical school where you see it’s a little bit of a different world being a woman in medicine.
What are some of the positives?
I think the advantage, especially for neonatology and working through the unit, is when I talk to parents or mothers in the unit. I can speak to them from experience as a mother. I never had a child in the intensive care unit, but I am a mother. I can empathize with some of the emotions they may be feeling. I’ve gone through the experience of breastfeeding and the challenges that come with that. So, I think being a woman in neonatology gives you a unique perspective when you talk to your families and being able to empathize with them and the perspective that they come from.
What advice do you have for other women?
Medicine has changed so much in the last 20 years that I’ve been a part of it. You really can do anything you want with medicine. If you want to be at the bedside just taking care of patients and doing that day in and day out, you absolutely can do that. If you want to do a little of both like what I do, some of the business side of medicine, as well as some of the patient care, you can do that. If you only want to do the business of medicine, which is a huge field these days, it’s ever-changing with the laws and regulations that are coming about with the Affordable Care Act and different governmental regulations. There is so much you can do in medicine. The field is wide open, and you really don’t have to limit yourself anymore to just being in the clinic or just being in the hospital. And, there are so many opportunities that if you decide you don’t want to do health care anymore, you don’t want to be seeing the patients, you can do another aspect of medicine and you’re really not tied down to one aspect of it. So, regardless of what you choose to do, there’s job security in it, which is something that everybody is kind of looking for, especially now, in the times that we’re in, which is probably going to last for a little while. The opportunities are limitless, and if you have a passion for it and it's something you’re interested in, you should go for it. There’s no reason why you can’t do anything that you want to do and reinvent yourself within it.
How can women physicians best support fellow women physicians?
I think the biggest thing is knowing that you have a sister in there with you. We’re all going through a lot of the same stressors and frustrations, and knowing that you have somebody else that’s going through it with you is huge. I can talk to some of my male colleagues and tell them what I’m going through, and it’s just not quite the same. So, it’s nice to be able to talk to somebody who’s right in the same playing field as you and really understands where you’re coming from. It gives you a different sense of comfort just being able to talk to somebody else and tell them how you’re feeling and what’s going through your mind. That’s huge in supporting each other through these hard times.
Interested in joining our team of talented neonatologists?