Female Faculty Share Healthcare Journeys, Provide Tips for Students: Part One

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September 26, 2023 | Midwestern University

The faculty members sharing their slices of their wisdom from left to right are Ms. Edwards, Dr. Kroleski, Dr. Wang, and Dr. Wright.

In honor of Women in Medicine Month, four Midwestern University faculty members from both campuses reflected on their experiences and offered advice for female students pursuing healthcare careers. The faculty members include Sheila Wang, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP, Professor, Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, and Parres Wright, O.D., FAAO, Associate Professor, Chicago College of Optometry from the Downers Grove Campus, and Janna Kroleski, D.P.M., Assistant Professor, Arizona College of Podiatric Medicine, and Sharon Edwards, M.S., CCC-SLP, Clinical Assistant Professor, Speech-Language Pathology, from the Glendale Campus. This is the first article in a four-part series. Look for more coming soon.

What advice do you give to women pursuing healthcare fields?

Dr. Wang: “Talk to women working in the areas of your interest to gain insight into not just the current atmosphere, but how their career evolves over time. My career goals and objectives today are different from when I was just graduating from pharmacy school, largely because of my decision to have a family. Working women will face their own unique challenges while juggling a career they are passionate about. Understanding and recognizing this is important, and knowing and being aware of some of these challenges could be of benefit in making early career decisions. However, I have found even taking the long road or experiencing the mistakes and failures in my career journey have been just as significant, shaping much of who I am today. Work-life balance is more than a tagline. It is something we should all strive for, employers and employees, especially to retain talented, hard-working women in the workforce.”

Dr. Wright: “Think about what you want your life to look like, and what you want your career to look like. There’s no one particular way to be a doctor or a researcher. You have to figure out what works for you, how to mold the career path you’ve chosen in healthcare and make it what you want it to be.”

Dr. Kroleski: "I typically advise young women to think carefully about their personal life goals prior to choosing a particular medical profession. As a college student, having a family was very important for me. I searched different medical professions to find a career that would have a good balance between home life and work. Podiatry was a perfect fit for me, as the profession is very malleable and customizable. For example, I could choose to take a position in emergency call, work full or part-time, or work in a large hospital-based setting or small private practice. Because of my decision to pursue podiatric medicine, I am completely satisfied with the balance I have achieved between my personal and professional life."

Ms. Edwards: "The key piece of advice that I tend to give to women who want to pursue a career in healthcare is to maintain balance. I believe it is the key to success with most things in life. I advise them to work hard and set high professional standards, but also to take the time to enjoy things unrelated to your profession – the things that spark joy. Keep all your buckets full: work, family, friends, health, community, and hobbies."