“Times were different then – no work hour restrictions, no maternity leave, very little vacation, yet we managed to make it work. My advice to women following this path is that you can do anything you set your mind to, but you need to surround yourself with support and help. My husband was a stay at home dad after residency, but he worked full time plus during my residency. I credit our success to his ability to accept role reversal and to our ability to ‘divide and conquer’ as a team. I chose to work in a smaller town in the Midwest, as I felt this would be afford me the opportunity to be a wife, mother and surgeon – the concept of work-life balance was not even talked about then, but I guess that was what I was seeking.
My passion outside of the OR has become community education and healthcare literacy. Fortunately my hospital has supported these endeavors, which have greatly enriched my life as well as the groups we have been able to reach. Working as a non-academic surgeon has been extremely rewarding and I would encourage any woman interested to jump in head first! I hear now of many physicians saying they would not go down this career path again, but I love what I do and would do it all again.”
Dr. Jane L. Schwabe is a thoracic surgeon in Saint Joseph, Missouri and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area. She has been in practice for more than 20 years. Dr. Schwabe attended medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. She matched there for her general surgery training and did her cardiothoracic surgery training at the University of Washington in Seattle.
As highlighted in her nomination by Dr. Helen Merritt-Genore:
“Dr. Jane Schwabe practices cardiothoracic surgery program in St Joseph, MO at Heartland Health. Though we’ve only met once in person (at STS this last year) I’ve had the privilege of mentoring her son Michael over the past 4 years (who is also a budding CT surgeon!) and we’ve been in contact via email and text. She is universally described as kind and talented by all who know her. She is a pioneer and role model in the field, leading the program in St Joseph MO since her arrival. In addition, she is just a real rockstar who had four children during general surgical residency (including twins!) and two step-children.”