Spine surgeon by day, mother all the time: How high-energy spine surgeon Dr. Jocelyn Idema strikes the perfect balance

By Laura Dyrda

How does a high-energy spine surgeon start the day?

Jocelyn Idema, DO, is the perfect case study. As a busy spine surgeon, mother and wife, she is able to balance a successful career with a growing family. She usually starts the day around 5 a.m. with exercise and then gets her children ready for school so they’re out the door by 6:30 am. Then she goes to her practice — either the office or operating room — for a full day before returning home in time for family time, bath time and quality time with her husband. She also takes general orthopedic call.

Before going to medical school, Dr. Idema was a labor and delivery nurse. When she began her training as a physician, she gravitated toward being an OB/GYN, but then realized the specialty wasn’t for her; she wanted more instant gratification when treating patients, which was satisfied during a sports medicine rotation when a patient would come in with an injury, like a dislocated shoulder, and she could fix it quickly.

Orthopedics was then — and still is — a male-dominated field. But Dr. Idema had examples of strong women who were successful in male-dominated fields and her own mentors encourage her to continue pursing orthopedics and eventually spine.



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