International Women’s Day 2019 - a Celebration
It’s an exciting time to be a woman. We’re excited about the future for women. Really excited. More and more we are seeing women in leadership roles driving change from the top down. This month we celebrate International Women’s Day and the achievements of the many kick ass women around us. We also take this time to reflect on what we can do to effect positive change for us and our future generations of women. This year the theme is #BalanceForBetter, which asks us how we can collectively build a gender-balanced world.
We are so fortunate to be surrounded by a whole bunch of incredibly inspiring female entrepreneurs who are paving the way in their fields. We asked some of these Remarkable Robe Women who work in fields from swimwear design to medicine to share their experiences (good and bad!) and tell us what it means to be a working woman in 2019.
Dr Bridget Sutton
Dr Bridget Sutton is a Radiologist who specialises in gynaecological and obstetric ultrasound and MRI at SOGI SCAN. Bridget is seriously seriously smart, poised and elegant. She has a natural and genuine interest in supporting women through her clinical practice and makes everyone who has the fortune to be in her consulting rooms feel comfortable and informed. She is also my very good friend who introduced me (many years ago) to the joys of online shopping, how to properly holiday in New York and Europe and she was there at the beginning of my [hair brained] idea to start a label over several champagnes a few years ago. She is also the inspiration for ‘The Bridget’, one of our new designs being released later this month. While we really wanted to ask about any new hot tips for great online stores, we thought we would delve a little bit into this incredible woman’s life to see if we can’t learn from her success.
What inspired you to become a doctor and specifically a radiologist?
I don’t recall exactly when I decided to do medicine, only that I have never wanted to do anything else. After my intern year, I was on a path to paediatrics and had procured a non-training registrar position at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, when I began to have doubts as to whether it was the right speciality for me. While working a night shift in Emergency, I had a fortuitous conversation with a colleague who had been accepted onto the Radiology training program. It was a case of the speaking with exactly the right person at the right time. Several weeks later, I was working shifts in the ICU of a private hospital and studying for my first part exam for Radiology.
How many years have you been in medicine and do you still love what you do? Why?
Medicine is a wonderful profession and I am so lucky to have spent the last 25 years working in it. Having an O&G imaging practice is incredibly rewarding but can be very stressful. Work can mean long hours and little time to spend with your husband and family. Days can turn from patient’s elation to despair and back again, but despite the difficult days, I truly believe that I have the best job in the world.
What was the culture like in the field of medicine for a woman 15 years ago? Seriously - how bad was it really?
I feel that the amazing women who have gone before me have done the hard work advocating for gender equity in medicine. Mindful that this has not been every woman’s experience, I was lucky enough to have never experienced harassment or felt discriminated against as a medical student, as a training registrar or as a specialist.
What, do you think, has been the most significant shift for women in medicine in recent years and has it had a real impact for the women in medicine you personally know?
Women make up more than half of medical school graduates, yet up until the last 10-15 years they remained under-represented in many speciality areas.
This seems to be changing with women becoming more evenly represented in specialist-in-training programs. Perhaps as a consequence of this shift, there are increasingly more women involved in the governance of their respective specialty colleges. This will surely continue to have a positive impact upon women working in medicine.
You co-founded SOGI Scan in 2005. The practice has recently joined the I-Med Network. What was the hardest part of owning your own practice?
It is wonderful to be rewarded for of all of the hard work that you put into the practice with a solid reputation in the industry and amongst your peers, and a loyal group of satisfied patients returning for your services time and again. The administrative side of running a small business, namely managing staff and trying to stay relevant in the rapidly changing environment of private practice, can be difficult.
When you founded SOGI, what was the transition like between being purely clinical to running a busy practice and continuing your clinical work?
In the beginning there was a steep learning curve. However, being at liberty to design and run the practice in our own way made the clinical work even more rewarding.
What were your reasons for merging with I-Med and have you been able to find a better work life balance post sale?
The private medical imaging landscape has changed significantly over the last 14 years, as has the technology for teleradiology and off-site reporting. I-Med Queensland had approached us several years ago to lend our O&G imaging subspecialty skills to them in the form of remote reporting women’s imaging for their clinics. We had a wonderful relationship with them working as contractors. It made sense to formalise the relationship and join their big (nation-wide) family. The fact that we could surrender the administration side of the business to I-Med has meant there is now more time for other things.
Regardless of whether or not you solely run the practice within which you work, medicine is notorious for long hours and ongoing training. What are three key things you do to balance work and life?
- My husband also has a very busy medical practice, sits on multiple boards, lectures widely and is heavily involved in teaching trainees. This means that we are often travelling separately and when at home, we are both working on our computers. We try to book one or two trips each year to somewhere from our list of most coveted destinations.
- We found a little beach shack about 2 years ago and promised ourselves that we would use it at least once a month. It has become our happy place.
- I watch mindless movies and a lot of crime television. Like, a lot.
How do you start your day and why do you think that contributes to your success?
I get up early each morning and find that I can get a lot of things done before work. I exercise most mornings at 5am and then spend an hour or so paying bills and writing emails, often while I get a load of washing done. I can focus on clinical work during the day If I am not trying to do these things at the practice. Of course it doesn’t always work out that neatly…
How do you relax and take your mind off work?
Having a dog forces us to go outside for a walk each evening. Breathing the fresh air whilst talking about our day has proven to be an excellent way to debrief after a stressful work day.
And finally (a completely gratuitous question of course), which Robe is your favourite and why?
I have fair skin which burns easily in the Australian sun so I have to be vigilant with the 50+ sunscreen and cover up whenever I am outdoors. I also have an obscenely large collection of hats. The Bridget is my favourite Robe, and not just because of its wonderful name. Rebecca has cleverly designed a piece that provides protection from the sun, in an infinitely flattering shape and crafted from a lovely, breezy material. I love wearing it with any one of my ten zillion hats.
OK Ok – what are your current favourite online shopping spots?
I have two serious vices. One is a teensy tiny peanut butter addiction. The other is the shameful amount of online shopping that occurs in our household. I am responsible for most (but not all) of it. I keep largely to Net-a-Porter, ShopBop , MatchesFashion and Farfetch.com but recently I have been dabbling a little into the dizzying world of vintage gear. Vestaire Collective and TheRealReal are fun to troll through. Shameful.
THANK YOU beautiful Bridget! We do not think there is anything wrong with a peanut butter addiction and can factually state that 99% of doctors recommend online shopping for stress relief*
You can find Dr Bridget here if you are in need of a gynaecological or obstetric scan. Bridget scanned both my babies during pregnancy and not only was she incredibly thorough and clinically brilliant but she got me some beautiful 3D pics too. xx
*Ok Ok - we just made this up. Any excuse though right!