By Jacqueline Weaver-Agostoni, DO, MPH, FACOFP; Member, ACOFP Women in Leadership Committee
I am a mom, wife, daughter, program director and proud osteopathic family physician at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Shadyside in Pittsburgh. I am also co-chair of the UPMC Accreditation, Review and Quality Committee for graduate medical education, Pennsylvania Osteopathic Family Physicians Society board member, ACOFP Women’s Leadership committee member, pet owner, organizer, scheduler, cook, chauffeur, volunteer, problem-solver, innovator…you get the idea! I am ABFM and AOBFP board certified in family medicine, have an MPH that I earned during a two-year faculty development fellowship, and most recently, became a diplomate of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine.
Trying to outline a day in my life has been an interesting proposition. It turns out that no two days are alike. This is part of what I love about my life. I took one of the most unpredictable, versatile jobs in medicine (family medicine) and made it as chaotic as possible by becoming a program director four years ago.
I wake up at 6:15 am every weekday to get ready to drive my 15-year-old daughter to school so she can avoid the bus. She hates to miss school, and I’ve been trying to do what I can to balance her safety with her sanity as a teenage girl. I pick her up when I can so I can hear interesting stories from her day; this is one time we get to sit and talk for a minute. My husband works from home full-time currently, so we can usually cover all the transportation needs. Prior to the pandemic, my dad helped drive my daughter everywhere on Mondays and my mom would stay with us Tuesday through Friday to fulfill the childcare/transportation needs. We were incredibly lucky to have their help.
I work late every Tuesday night, either seeing patients or precepting residents who are seeing theirs. That evening, my husband and daughter are on their own for dinner, and I pick up sushi on my 30-minute drive home. Sushi is my Tuesday night treat for surviving a long day. It’s also Buster’s (my shih tzu) treat as I share little bits of the crab stick from my California rolls with him. I cook dinner three days a week so that my husband, daughter and I can eat together. Otherwise, we get food while we are running around.
I see patients one half-day a week, though when several need to get in to see me sooner, I will add another half day to my schedule. My patient panel is extremely diverse in age, race, pathology and socioeconomic status—which I love! Some have been my patients for the 14 years I’ve been at Shadyside. I check my patient inbox at least once a day to take care of patient needs. Despite starting my day at sunrise now, I’m a night owl and don’t usually go to bed before 11:00 pm, and that’s only because I know I need sleep.
The rest of my week looks like 1–2 sessions of precepting, including OMT clinic, attending/running a lot of meetings and general problem-solving and program facilitation. My meetings are primarily remote since the pandemic, and I enjoy spending more time at home. I have decided to lead our redesign efforts in our quality improvement curriculum and have had meetings with an organization to talk about expanding our access to homeless health care for my residents interested in urban underserved care and marginalized patient populations. During residency interview months, I entertain and interview applicants Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings; prep for all of those interviews the evenings before by reading all their files; and send follow-up emails and communications.
I round at a nursing home with my trainees 12 days a year, round on our inpatient rotation four weeks a year, take six weekend calls and cover one holiday a year—the luxury of being in a large group practice! In the office, I do women’s health, prenatal care while precepting residents and medication-assisted therapy for opioid and alcohol abuse disorders, and I manage a lot of chronic diseases and behavioral health needs for my patients. I have gotten to do a bit of gender-affirming care and am hoping to do more of that in the future.
My evenings consist of me doing work while sitting in coffee shops or in my car at my daughter’s various lessons. Mental breaks consist of playing phone games. I constantly listen to audiobooks on my commutes (rarely medically related ones), and my family and I watch a few TV shows while I’m sitting on the sofa doing work. Fortunately, my family is very understanding of my need to get things done. My schedule might be crazy, but I have never missed one of my daughter’s performances/shows, and I just volunteered to chaperone this year’s orchestra trip. We also take advantage of the numerous festivals, holiday events and shows that come to Pittsburgh on the weekends.
I make it to the gym twice a week and walk on my treadmill three times a week. I put this on my schedule like an appointment to try to stick with it. I keep both my personal life and work life on one calendar—along with all my family’s events—because I’m all just one person, and this is all just one great, chaotic life.
I am a remarkably busy, incredibly happy, sometimes tired program director who loves being an osteopathic family physician, mom and wife. I am inspired by the phenomenal work of my colleagues and residents, I am in awe of what my patients overcome, and I am motivated to keep making things better for my program, my patients and my community.