Predicting a bright future for women in hospital medicine

Dana Tiganu, MD, brings a fresh perspective to the field.

Occupation: Director of Hospitalist Services, Stamford Hospital, Stamford, Conn.

Current residence: Stony Point, N.Y.


Hometown: Bucharest, Romania.

Family: Married.

Medical school: Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania.

Externships: Nephrology, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; cardiology, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City.

Residency: Internal medicine and infectious disease, Colentina Hospital, Bucharest, Romania; internal medicine, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, Mass., and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Specialty: Internal medicine; hospital medicine.

I became a hospitalist because: I like inpatient medicine; it's more exciting, more challenging. It keeps you on your toes, every day.

First job: A hospitalist for a large private group of physicians in Middletown, N.Y.

Most rewarding aspect of my job: As a program medical director, most rewarding is making changes. I like to organize the program, set goals and see the goals met. As a physician, most rewarding is when patients come to me—and sometimes I don't even remember them—to thank me for what I did for them. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to you.

Most meaningful professional accomplishment: I am from a different country, and most meaningful for me was when I was able to pass the boards and enter into a residency here. And then, when I became director of Good Samaritan Hospital in New York.

Hardest medical lesson learned: Sometimes, even if you do the right thing for a patient, it doesn't go in the direction you would like, and the outcome for the patient is not the right one. You are human and sometimes you are limited in what you can do for a patient.

Future goals: I would like to restructure the program at my facility. I'd like to be able to hire more physicians and make this a model program for hospitalists in the area, and to better integrate the hospitalist service with the residency program.

Career advice for hospitalists coming out of residency: The only way to improve is by being more involved, seeing more patients and being there for your patients. You should treat patients the way you would treat yourself or your family.

On U.S. health care: The quality of care in the U.S. is among the best in the world. All physicians, and especially hospitalists, are focused every day on quality issues.

On women in medicine: I feel women are a great force in medicine, and in hospital medicine. Sometimes women are even better physicians than men because they can be more caring than men, and more detail oriented. I see a bright future for women as I see a lot of residents now are women. I'm a strong believer that women will have a huge role in medicine in the next few years, as physicians and leaders.

Personal heroes: My professor in internal medicine in medical school was a great physician and a great human being, in how he taught and how he cared for patients. The way he behaved with patients made me think about how I want to be as a physician. Another hero is my uncle, who was an oncologic surgeon. He got a lot of respect from his patients. They loved him very much.

Pet peeves: I can't say I have any. I'm usually a calm person and have a lot of patience dealing with people. Before I judge somebody, I try to put myself in their shoes.

Favorite ways to spend free time: Travel… everywhere in the world. I love to see other people's cultures and history. I love museums. Every year, my husband and I try to take in another country.

Favorite author or poet: The Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu.

Books on my nightstand: Mostly medical books.

Most meaningful non-medical accomplishment: When I came into this country.

Item I can't live without: My cell phone.

Most surprising thing about me: If I want something I get it. Usually, I'm nice and accommodating. But I can be very forceful in making decisions and getting what I want.

Biggest regret: I was not able to bring my parents here to live with me.

If I weren't a physician, I would be: An engineer. I like math and physics.