Dr Amna Subhan Butt
“As a child I was very scared of becoming a doctor. I thought if I would write a wrong prescription, it would damage someone’s health!” says the young and successful Dr.Amna. “It’s safer to be a scientist rather than a doctor I thought. There’s less responsibility involved.” She grew up as someone who was hesitant to be a doctor but her family played an instrumental role in supporting her to achieve the height of success that she has today.
Dr. Amna’s journey as a medical professional finally began and her first clinical rotation started in the children’s ward. She kept asking herself if this is what she really wanted to do, and soon enough, she got a green signal from her heart. Dr.Amna then resigned herself to the fact that she will be allocating most of her time to others, and that she would be doing this throughout her life. She started working as a consultant gastroenterologist at Aga khan University & Hospital and has 3 postgraduate degrees under her belt. She has completed fellowships, is an active researcher, has taught undergraduate as well as postgraduate students, represented her institution at various international levels and has also been elected as joint secretary for Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology. Indeed, her record of achievements is something anyone would be envious of.
Dr.Amna’s field is very challenging and requires a great deal of commitment, time and dedication. “50% of medical students are female and 50% of the residents are females but only 25% of students who apply for my field are females. This calls to show how demanding my field is and why most females shy away from it.” Dr. Amna too, finds it difficult to maintain a balance between her personal and professional life. It’s a hotchpotch situation and she has to prioritize daily, reschedule and decide how to allocate time between work and family. “This balance is important. If you’re happy from the family side, you will be happy at the workplace. Definitely you can’t cut down on the time related to patients and research and that does take up the major chunk of my day,” she explains.
Genetically and hormonally, men and women are different, according to Dr.Amna. “You have to work 3 times more to make yourself as efficient as your male counterparts. They have more stamina, yet it is the woman who has to play so many roles at one time,” she reaffirms. Dr.Amna believes that the society still considers professional men to be more efficient than professional women. Even though she herself has had a pleasurable experience with most of her clients, a lot of patients opt for male doctors unless there’s a real need, for example when a woman is shy of male doctors. However, sometimes at the workplace, it is the females that create issues, reveals Dr. Amna. “You face 2 types of biases – bias from the opposite gender and also from the same gender. Many times males are helpful to you and I was lucky to have various male mentors who supported me.”
Dr.Amna believes it is important to be financially as well as emotionally independent. “Being emotionally independent will reduce your stress level and help you make complex decisions. You won’t be depending on anyone else for your own decisions and you won’t have regrets and disappointments,” she explains. Financial independence gives a woman the confidence and the reassurance she needs to help herself and her family
Dr. Amna considers her whole life as a miracle. From being given a beautiful name by her parents to the series of her achievements, all the highlights of her life tied together make her Miracle Moments. “I was given the opportunity to be a helpful and contributing member of the society and I have to thank my mother for that. She has been the kind of a mother you get to read about in books. She has given immense love and support to me and my siblings.” Dr. Amna’s Miracle Journey bears testament to the fact that medicine may be a daunting profession but it is also a gateway to help those who are in pain. If you persevere like her, the possibilities are limitless as well as rewarding.