FACEM Hemal Patel works across two sites, one in the Central Coast and the other in Hunter New England Local Health District, in New South Wales.
A father to two boys – four years and six months – he says his first came when he was preparing for his written Fellowship exam.
‘I was working full time but took three weeks off to spend time with my family.’
He said his workplace at the time was extremely supportive.
‘They were very accommodating and I had no issues getting leave. I was the only one needing to take parental leave at the time, which I think made it easier.’
Hemal’s wife is the main caregiver, while he works four days a week, which is fixed to support his family responsibilities.
‘My eldest is in daycare three days and my wife is currently on maternity leave. I’m lucky that the rosters at both of my current workplaces are very supportive.’
His team has also been incredibly supportive.
‘The greatest challenge I have found at maintaining a good work–life balance is trying to curb my enthusiasm in my professional life.
‘Being a new FACEM I find that I am constantly picking up things to do. I have tried to become more conscious of this. Luckily, I work in a team who are very good at reminding me of trying to maintain a balance.’
Hemal says mostly he looks to his own dad for advice, but he’s taking on board advice from his peers and other sources as well.
‘Primarily, I speak to my dad a lot about parenting and working so I can find a lot of solutions quickly just chatting to him.
‘I have several people across both sites that I speak to about parenting and working – I tend to seek advice from emergency medicine colleagues / friends who have ‘been there, done that’ and who can look back on their working careers and provide strategies to maintain a good work–life balance.’
One of those bits of advice was to not access his emails on his day off, which is something he is now practising.
‘There are some great resources that I have been reading, particularly online. I realised I could be more proactive and conscious about being a dad/ parent/ husband/ doctor/ friend, but I have found be able to be open with friends and colleagues about maintaining a balance between work and life and share experiences has been most valuable.’
Hemal’s recommended reading