This week on Resident Options we share the story of Maria S. Ortiz-Tweed, M.D. and her insights for both General Pediatrics and the challenges or re-entering the profession after a hiatus.
Maria S. Ortiz-Tweed, M.D. was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States to finish her last year of high school in Florida. She attended the University of South Florida and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1992. Dr. Ortiz-Tweed then attended the University of South Florida College of Medicine and obtained her Doctorate of Medicine degree in 1997. After completing her residency in Pediatrics at Orlando Health in 2000, she returned to Tampa and worked at several pediatric private practices, both as a full-time and part-time employee.
In 2008 Dr. Ortiz-Tweed left private practice and happily became a "stay at home" mom. Since then, she has volunteered as a pediatrician at the Clínica Guadalupana, a non-profit health clinic that provides free medical care to indigent patients located in Clearwater, Florida. She has also organized and lead two medical mission trips to Panama and provided medical aid and care to an indigent population in need.
Currently, she is looking for part-time job opportunities; it is Dr. Ortiz-Tweed's intention to transition into a non-clinical medical career. She is a wife and mother of three children living in the Tampa Bay area.
Here is her story:
What Medical School did you attend?
University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, FL
Where was your Place of Residency?
Orlando Health (formerly known as Orlando Regional Healthcare System)
When did you do your Residency?1997-2000
Did you have a mentor during Residency?
I was very fortunate. ALL of my attending physicians were incredible teachers, especially Michael Muszynski MD and Janice Howell MD. Both of them were amazing mentors during my 3 years of residency.
What is your specialty or area of practice?
What particular skill set is necessary to work in your specialty?
A pediatrician must love children, of course. Must be a very thorough, detailed oriented person. Also,must have great communication skills, especially with the parents/families. Empathy,
kindness and compassion are absolutely necessary. Simply said, a pediatrician should "treat patients and their families the way he/she would want to be treated."
What are the currently the biggest challenges your face professionally?
As a wife and mother of 3 children, it was very difficult to find balance between my personal life and professional life, while I worked as a full-time physician for several years. Once we had our second child, my husband and I decided that it would be best for me to work part time,which I did.
After working part-time for a couple of different employers and realizing that neither one offered the work schedule I needed at the time, I decided to leave private practice and become a "stay at home" mother. Personally, leaving medicine to spend time with my family was an easy decision, but professionally, was a different story. It was extremely disappointing to find out that as a physician AND mother, if your intention is to take a "leave of absence" from your job (more than the 3 months of maternity leave), it implicates a lot of factors, especially financial (mainly, the very expensive tail coverage from medical malpractice insurance).
Since leaving private practice, I have had the privilege of volunteering at a free health clinic for indigent patients, as well as organizing and leading medical teams in two medical mission trips to Panama. These experiences have given me much more personal and professional satisfaction than in private practice, and in many ways, have changed my life.
In the last couple of years, I have been researching ways to transition into a nonclinical medical career. I am exploring different ways I can apply my medical knowledge and still have flexibility with my work hours. It has been a very difficult challenge to find opportunities, but I am optimistic in finding the right position for my family and me.
What decisions would you change on your path to Residency?
Residency was a great experience. The only thing I would change would be to obtain training and/or experience in non-clinical areas, such as research, medical writing, management, etc. This would have expanded my knowledge tremendously before entering into the workforce.
What advice would you give a Med Student about to graduate and go into their Residency?
As a woman, I would advise each female medical student to really think about her priorities in life, such as family, faith, career, etc. Based on these priorities, she should discern and decide which medical specialty best fits with her life. Also, she should educate herself about each medical specialty, so that she can make an informed decision, a decision based on facts, not on hearsay or other people's opinions.
What advice would you give a student considering Med School?
Only those who truly want to help others should consider a career in medicine. It should not be based on potential personal wealth. College students should shadow other physicians (male students shadow male physicians, and female students shadow female physicians), so they can witness the lifestyle and personal sacrifices this career demands. Based on this information, each student should discern if this is the path he/she would like to pursue.
If you are a physician who is interested in sharing advice on their area of practice, please contact us via email.