Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Maternity Leave Over

Good afternoon. I am back to work after 13 weeks off for maternity leave and the birth of my daughter. I missed work but not as much as I did with the first two kids. Number three is such a doll that she was a pleasure to take care of and nurture. She has such a sweet disposition that leaving her yesterday, albeit with my mom (aka in great hands), was heartbreaking. I think it was particularly hard this time mostly because of the finality of such a milestone. I will never again be the mother of a 3-month-old. We will never again be in such sync as we were. I will never again be able to spend hours just watching her develop before my eyes. I am sad that I am going to miss the little developmental things, and that someone else (my mom or the nanny) will get the honor and privilege to witness. Such miracles should be for mommies to relish in. I guess this will not the case for this working mommy. I must be grateful for the blessings and gifts that have been bestowed upon me, which include my husband, 3 happy and healthy daughters, my career, and subsequently my role as director of faculty development at a prestigious southern California medical school. Hence the purpose of this blog...

Even though I was on maternity leave I still checked and answered work emails. I even found some time to be interviewed for a journal about faculty development, submit an abstract to the 2010 Ottawa conference in Miami (which subsequently was accepted for an oral presentation) and participated in the GI, Endocrine and Reproductive Block (3) orientation. I hate being out of the loop thus I made sure I wasn't. I regularly communicated with the appropriate staff and faculty. I was never farther than a text, email or phone call away during my three-month hiatus. It has not taken but a moment for my calender to fill up with meetings, workshops, teaching obligations, projects and daily tasks. Faculty development waits for no one, including me. Thankfully, my boss, the pinnacle faculty developer, covered my butt while I was out. I know she is relieved and happy to have me back. This Friday is the first of many Block 3 PBL (problem-based learning) case preview sessions where faculty development is critical. The PBL faculty (also known as tutors) congregate at these meetings to learn about the case of the week and discuss relevant teaching topics. That's where I come in. I initiate important teaching and educational topics related to facilitating a small group discussion where PBL is the modality in which information is delivered. PBL facilitation is challenging for even the most veteran faculty tutor but it is most difficult for the newcomer. Facilitating a small group discussion using pedagogical tenets of PBL is unlike anything most faculty have experienced. Whether a basic scientist or clinician the process can be overwhelming and underestimated by the subtleties. I am always surprised by the level of difficulty people have initially but then I am equally impressed by the growth and enjoyment shared by most at the end of the experience. The only way to ensure this growth and enjoyment to take place is through faculty development. I love the fact that it only through my work that many can be successful. I am looking forward to seeing it all unfold again over the next 8 weeks. It never gets old.