Dr. Jennifer Pisano is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Rush Medical College. She completed her internal medicine residency and fellowship in infectious disease at the University of Chicago. She joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 2011. Jen’s current focus is in Transplant Infectious Diseases and she serves as the Medical Director of the UCM Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.
I met my husband during my 3rd year of medical school, during my clinical rotations. He is currently a Director of Product at Expedia and it was fantastic to grow with someone who was completely outside of the medical arena. We find we have a lot of the same struggles with managing teams and moving ideas and initiatives forward – we learn a great deal from each other and benefit often from how different our worlds are.
We were married in 2010 and were living in the South Loop when we had our first child in 2011. We completely lucked out by finding a nanny share with a local family who also worked at the University of Chicago and found our current nanny through these connections. We moved to Riverside, IL in 2014 after we had our second child. We have 3 kids, Christopher (7y), and Evie (4y) and Luci (2y) and a noisy, busy, chaotic home life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Work-life balance still seems like an unattainable goal at times but I do my best, and I have never been happier. My parents and in-laws help and we prioritize time with extended family. The kids are at a neighborhood school and we have a wonderful community that we have met through school, sports and local activities. I am very happy that I took the advice from those before me, even many that have written this section of the newsletter before, and hired out as many tasks as possible. It took me a long time believe that it selfish with my time as possible and that those few precious hours at night and on the weekends should not be spent at the grocery store and running errands, but enjoying your family.
Advice to Women Faculty and Trainees
Prioritize self-care: I am a better wife, mother and physician when I eat well, sleep 7 hours and exercise 4-5 times a week. This is not negotiable at this point.
Find good help: I am thankful that our nanny, Carolina, came into our lives and has been with us the last 4+ years. She has helped us raise our kids, run our household and maintain our sanity. We have help with house-cleaning twice a month. Amazon prime and Target deliver what we can’t buy at Aldi/Costco. I now run errands without kids and pride myself on being in and out of Aldi in 15 minutes.
Minimize disruptions: Dedicate blocks of time for e-mail and close Outlook when working on other things. Even though multi-tasking in evitable, I try to focus on completing one task at a time at work as well as at home and have found I am more efficient this way
Invest in your relationships: Ensure time for your partner (without the kids!) and invest in your close friendships at work and home. Share your struggles as we often have similar experiences. Be honest and laugh a lot. Use your connections to curate a long list of babysitters.
Learn to say no or at least not say yes right away: This is very hard early in training when you are still finding your path and an area that I only recently began to focus on. Thoughtfulness and honesty in managing expectations go a long way.