Juggling a medical career and motherhood can often be challenging, but Mater neurosurgeon Amelia Jardim wouldn’t have it any other way.
The 38-year-old mother-of-three is a specialist neurosurgeon with experience in both adult and paediatric surgery and a particular interest in neuro-oncology, spinal surgery and complex craniofacial surgery.
Dr Jardim is one of the thousands of female nurses, doctors and other health professionals that Mater will be celebrating on International Women’s Day (March 8).
“I’m not your stereotypical neurosurgeon. I don’t look like what a neurosurgeon looks like,” Dr Jardim said.
“Juggling motherhood and having a full-time career brings me joy.”
While Dr Jardim works in a male-dominated field and is the only-female neurosurgeon at the Brisbane Clinical Neuroscience Centre, she feels privileged to work among a large cohort of Queensland female neurosurgeons.
“I have been mentored by women and men throughout my medical career. As a junior doctor I looked up to many women doing neurosurgery,” Dr Jardim said.
“The male surgeons have been just as welcoming as the women and that’s really important to me – that I am seen as a surgeon, not just a female surgeon.
“I have wanted to be a neurosurgeon since I was a medical student.”
Many of Dr Jardim’s patients have spinal abnormalities, brain tumours, or skull problems.
“I operated on a baby who was just four days old with a brain tumour and it’s a really rewarding feeling when my patients come back and I can see how well they are doing,” she said.
Together with her husband Chris, a plastic surgeon, they have two young sons, John and Michael, aged 4 and 2, and their latest addition, six-month-old Camille.
Dr Jardim said becoming a neurosurgeon had given her a lot of freedom in life.
“I have the ability to design my life the way I want it. I can live this life and do this important job at work and be a parent at the same time. It’s like having the best of both worlds,” she said.
“Being able to value time with my own children has given me an incredible understanding and connection with families I look after.”
Dr Jardim described every day as different.
“I start early most days and finish at 5pm. By the time I get home and get dinner on the table I don’t have time to think about work – it’s about the boys and baby Camille,” she said.