Work-Life Integration for Academic Surgeons
The Society of University Surgeons (SUS) welcomed Dr. Rebekah White as its 2022-2023 President, introduced by SUS President-Elect, Dr. Timothy Donahue. Dr. Donahue presented a captivating account of President White’s life through a series of photos from her friends and family, describing her as an exceptional scientist, fearless leader, outstanding surgeon, passionate educator, and a devoted mother/partner.
In her SUS Presidential Address titled “Work-Life Integration for Academic Surgeons,” Dr. Rebekah White delivered a profound message that inspired the entire community. She started by highlighting the difference between “balance” and “integration,” explaining that the typical notion of work-life “balance” may not be appropriate in academic surgery. The term work-life “balance” may imply an equilibrium where one has to give up some “work” to gain “life” experiences. Instead, Dr. White focused her presentation on how individuals may achieve incorporating both work and life without necessarily sacrificing one or the other.
According to Dr. White, the key to integrating work and life is time management. She emphasized that managing time is more than just creating a table; it is about identifying efficient and flexible ways of incorporating both work and life needs. Furthermore, Dr. White believes that it is possible to be a successful academic surgeon while being a great mother and partner at the same time. The concept of quality over quantity becomes critically important when one has a demanding career. Not only do individuals need to be efficient at work, but prioritizing quality over quantity of family time becomes even more important at home.
Dr. White also demonstrated that exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function while increasing long-term cardiovascular health, proving the importance of self-care for a well-balanced life. She concluded her speech by reminding everyone that work-life integration does not mean working less; it simply means being creative with how to use time.
Dr. Rebekah White’s Presidential Address was a true masterpiece, inspiring individuals to pursue their passions without sacrificing their personal lives. Her message of work-life integration will undoubtedly have a deep impact on the entire academic surgical community, making her a true leader and inspiration to all