I'm a big fan of Jody. We met a few months ago and pretty much immediately clicked. I didn't think I could love her more, and then I found out she was the only female doctor stationed at our local Navy base. She's super genuine, and more importantly, is always down for a good meal and an adult beverage. Interviewing kickass ladies from all over the world is cool, but knowing someone who's doing incredible things in my neighborhood is even cooler. Thanks for taking the time to be here, Jody!
Hometown: Birmingham, AL Current city:Jacksonville, FL Alma mater: The University of Alabama; The University of Alabama at Birmingham Degree: B.S. Nutrition, Doctor of Medicine Hustle: General Medical Officer @ Naval Station Mayport
Babe you admire and why? Sara Blakely. She invented SPANX and changed the way we wear clothes. She was so tenacious in getting her product out there, and believed in what she was doing. She’s also worth $1 billion, so that’s pretty legit.
How do you spend your free time? Working out, taking the dog on walks, baking, and watching trashy TV (aka The Bachelor.)
What food could you eat every single day? Broccoli. We go through bags and bags at my house!
Favorite social media account to follow? DogsBeingBasic on IG. You cannot look at it and have a bad day.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be? Ellen DeGeneres. She’s hilarious, a rule-breaker and a hero for so many.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? Since my husband was sick on our honeymoon, I'd say a beach somewhere. Maybe Fiji for a re-do!
Tell us about your hustle: I am a Lieutenant and Medical Doctor in the U.S. Navy, currently stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, FL. I do have duties as an officer, but my main role is to care for my patients as an MD.
What does your typical workday look like? I wake up around 5:45 and get to the gym by 7:00, as we are required to exercise 5x/week and fitness is super important in the Navy. I get to the clinic around 8:30 and answer emails, review lab results and double check my patient list. I start seeing patients at 9:00, and am really blessed to have 30 mins with each patient. Typically, my last appointment is at 3:00, but sometimes surprises pop up and people need to be seen ASAP. Throughout the day I'm also taking calls from ships, (which can be difficult when they're out in the middle of the ocean,) and I always review and prepare for the next day’s to-do list before going home by 4:30.
When did you become interested in being a doctor? Growing up, I wanted to be a marine biologist so I could play with dolphins, but I've been sold on medicine since dissecting a frog in my 7th grade Science class. Cliche but true.
When did you decide to join the military? So, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I also knew school is crazy expensive, so I had to come up with a way to pay for it. Both my dad and brother are in the Navy, and my uncle was a physician for the Air Force, so I was already really comfortable with the lifestyle and commitment. Once I got into medical school, I applied for the Navy scholarship, and they said they'd pay for my schooling if I'd give them four years of work afterward. To attend a civilian medical school, I had to send a common application to each school I wanted to attend, and they sent me back school-specific applications (and requested more money, because duh). I interviewed and was accepted to two schools, and just knew University of Alabama at Birmingham was a better fit for me.
How would you say that your hustle has influenced your everyday life? I can’t really take sick days, but I don’t really want to. People are counting on me to be there, and I love it. I basically live and breathe medicine. (You don’t want to watch Grey's Anatomy with me - so many inaccuracies.) After 8 years of hard work, it's amazing to be able to hang my diploma and license on my office wall, and they're reminders to constantly push myself to learn and study. I also love that my friends trust me to answer all of their medical questions!
Do you have any additional duties aside from working in the clinic? I will occasionally give group lectures to about 15 other providers, and I do weekly one-on-one teachings with providers stationed on ships. Additionally, I do visits for the ships I oversee, making sure they have the medical equipment and knowledge they need to carry out the mission.
How would you say your Navy medical experience been different from a typical clinic setting? I always have to keep the patient's mission in mind, constantly weighing questions like: is it better for the patient to be off the ship so he/she can heal? Or are they important to the military mission and need to delay that surgery or treatment for now?It’s a constant balancing act.
What's it like being the only female doctor? I'm kind of used to being in the Boy's Club. I was the middle child between two brothers until my sisters came along when I was 12. I also worked as a camp counselor for boys with special needs in college, but there's something different about being the only female when it comes to medicine. My supervisors tend to be more protective over me, and are very careful not to let me be the last person at work. At the same time, I'm the go-to for women’s health issues. I did a year-long OB/GYN internship prior to this job, which provided a lot of knowledge I was able to bring over here. I have to deal with so many male coworkers who are older than me, but thankfully, respect in the Navy is huge. The fact that I'm a doctor and an Officer really helps to break down the young, baby faced, female barrier.
Similarly, what is your experience with your patients in terms of your gender? When given a choice, the majority of female patients request me - especially for sensitive exams. I love educating them about how their bodies work and about which birth controls may be right for them. (I also am learning that sex ed in this country is pathetic!) In contrast, a lot of the male patients don't want to talk to me about their problems 'downthere.' It's honestly amazing how much grown men giggle when talking about personal things. Anyway - before I was stationed here, I was called a "nurse," "social worker," or even better - things like "honey" and "sweetie." People would question me and say “I’ll wait for the doctor” or “you’re delivering my baby?!” That definitely got frustrating. In talking to other female physicians my age, I learned they see the same kind of treatment. When I was in medical school, I worked with a physician who said “I’ll have to wrap my mind around all these women being doctors” and he would not allow me to speak to patients. Thankfully when someone’s unconscious or dying, they don't care what gender you are! (There is also a recent study that says your chances of living are higher with a female physician! Just saying.)
What is one of your greatest accomplishments (inside or outside of your hustle?) As cheesy at it may sound, it's still being best friends with the my high school girls. We graduated 10 years ago and are still as thick as thieves. It takes work to keep up the long distance relationships, but when you find your tribe, you love them hard.
What would your advice be to women trying to similarly break through a male-dominated career field? Stand up for yourself. Do not put up with being called "sweetie" or similar “endearing" terms. Remind yourself that you worked for what you have, and that you deserve it.
What is your favorite part about your job? Definitely educating my patients. They are so appreciative when I take a few extra minutes to explain the menstrual cycle or why controlling their blood pressure is important.
Least favorite? The uniform. I am proud to serve our country in the Navy, and it is a privilege to get to wear the uniform to work every day, but I really miss getting to wear ponytails or lazy top-knots.
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work? How’d you overcome it? Probably lack of knowledge. I went from solely focusing on OB/GYN to dealing with any and every kind of medical problem. I read and read and read, and I'm not afraid to ask for help and advice.
What helps you wind down / how do you manage stress? Definitely working out and watching stupid TV. I love watching The Bachelor and then discussing it with my friends. It’s dumb and lighthearted and helps me put stress on hold for an hour.
Do you have any noteworthy (intense, funny, embarrassing, etc.) work-related moments? My 3rd year of medical school was one big embarrassment after another. I was once scrubbed in on a surgery for someone who had been stabbed in the abdomen. The surgery started at about 2am, and I was supposed to round that morning on post-op patients, so at about 5a.m. while still scrubbed in, my phone alarm in my pants’ pocket went off, loudly. Shawty Get Loose.
What does success look like to you? Being happy at work and at home. Eventually I want to have it all: an amazing career saving lives, children and a husband who are happy and loved, and friends who can truly count on me.
What are your ultimate aspirations for the future? After I finish my commitment, I will go back to residency. Right now I'm thinking of going into Emergency Medicine. I went into medicine to save lives, and you can do that in almost any field, but I want the hands-on experience of emergency medicine. Overall, I want to be an example to other females that you can be a great physician, be an amazing teacher, and have an awesome family life. I hope to also be a mentor to other upcoming females in the medical field.
Career and/or life advice for other women? If you are willing to work hard enough, you can do just about anything. Medical School was incredibly challenging for me and some days I'd study from 5am - 9pm. I was not the smartest person in my class, but it was rare to find a person that out-worked me.
SPANX is a woman-owned company specializing in comfortable and slimming undergarments. Founder Sara Blakely was named the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People. SPANX also shapes the world by focusing on their mission: to help women feel great about themselves and their potential. (Sara is also an FSU alumna. Go Noles!)
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