Dr. Pruitt, a father and an ER doctor June 14, 2016

Joshua Pruitt, MD is a doctor in St. Luke's Emergency Room and shares his experience of balancing work and fatherhood.

Being a dad and a doctor is the only kind of dad I’ve ever been. I was in residency when our first two children were born, and then an ER doctor at St. Luke’s when our youngest two were born. I’m sure, however, that it’s very similar to being a dad in any other profession. When I get home, my kids don’t really care that I’m a doctor. At home, I’m just daddy. I like it that way. Being a doctor is my career, and I love it, but that pales in comparison with being a husband and dad. Other dads with other careers have the same responsibilities and challenges I do. I’m very blessed to have my wife as such an incredible teammate in life.

I work crazy shifts in the ER, sometimes days, sometimes nights, and many weekends and holidays. Because of this, my family has learned to celebrate special occasions when we can all be together rather than on specific days. It has been so good to teach my children that the most important thing about the birthday or holiday or other special occasion is not the date on the calendar, but the people with whom you’re able to spend it.

Is there anything that makes being a doctor while being a dad uniquely challenging? Maybe. I’m pretty certain I freak out more than most dads over things like the kids’ fingers being closed in a door, or the kids falling off of (insert playground implement of death of choice here), or dying of some random tick-borne zoonotic illness. Other than that, I’m pretty much facing the same things any other dad faces on a day-to-day basis.