Remember enduring those seemingly endless years of residency and fellowship training? The grueling pattern of long hours and endless clinics is something most surgeons compare with an ophthalmic version of boot camp. Now, imagine trying to earn that badge of honor while having a child. Well, two of them. Sonia Rana, MD, managed to do just that while still graduating on time.
"Usually people who did not know me in training are shocked that I survived," said Dr. Rana, who is now a glaucoma and cataract specialist at Lansing Ophthalmology, East Lansing, MI. "I think there' s never really a good time to have kids." Not only was Dr. Rana in training during both of her pregnancies, she was also Chief Resident at Kresge Eye Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit.
She had her first child in 2011 while in her residency, and her second in 2014, the week before her fellowship began. Not wanting to delay her graduation, she figured out a way to have her children without taking extensive time off.
"I took three and a half weeks off each time," she explained, adding that she pooled her vacation time for the rest of the year in order to take time off for the births of her daughters.
While she could have taken maternity leave, she didn't want to risk her standing in her training programs. "It's the law," Dr. Rana said, referring to how she could have legally taken off 6 to 8 weeks, and possibly longer, with maternity leave, "but they can punish you in other ways," such as delaying her graduation.
Because the application process for the training programs was so extensive and time consuming, she wanted to avoid the reapplication process at all costs.