After completing her medical degree in 1999, Dr Katie Yazbek managed to obtain an impressive track record in the medical field and is now working as a medical officer at a successful oncology practice.
She worked at both Universitas and Pelonomi Hospitals in Bloemfontein before moving to Mpumalanga where she gained valuable experience in rural medicine. “After my community service, I worked at 3 Military Hospital and simultaneously completed an MBA in health care management in 2005.”
Dr Katie then transitioned into private medicine in 2006 where she enjoyed “15 rewarding years” working at Mediclinic Bloemfontein first as a casualty officer and then as a general practitioner. This all while running an aesthetics practice in the northern suburbs. She recently joined Cachet Nel Oncology at Life Rosepark Hospital as a medical officer. “I am excited to spend the second half of my career dedicated to oncology and palliative medicine.”
Her position at the oncology practice entails ward rounds, follow-up cases, emergencies and unscheduled visits. She loves interacting with patients as they navigate their way through the uncertainties and challenges of their cancer diagnosis. She especially enjoys working with the team of inspiring doctors, nurses, and support staff at the 26-year-old practice. She regards the practice as competitive because of the combined experience of competent and dedicated personnel. “The cumulative experience of the clinical and administrative staff is unparalleled. The team approach and collaboration between all the role players is exemplary and results in the patients getting world-class treatment in the quickest possible time to ensure the best outcome for their cancer.”
Dr Katie is a firm believer in self-care as it makes her a much better mother and doctor. “I neglected self-care for far too long and I paid the price and was burnt out. Now I’m enjoying more precious time with my children and my friends who I fondly call my ‘Sisterhood’. I practice yoga and mindfulness meditation and enjoy reading, massages and travel.”
As a woman in the driver’s seat, Katie shares some advice to young women in business. “Firstly, it is important to put in the time, pay your dues and not expect instant results. Secondly, adopt the principles of minimalism, essentialism and effortless strategies. Don’t over-think, over-complicate and over-engineer the process.”
She does not shy away from collaborating with other women in her field as this allows the best results for patients. Without the collaboration with other female health professionals, the outcome for the patient would be inferior. “There can be no room for jealousy and ego, there is only place for mutual respect and humble enquiry. The end goal is ultimately to provide the best possible care for the patient.”
Working in the medical industry and trying to survive a global pandemic can be daunting but Katie advises that in order to do so, one should never get swept up in the social media frenzy, conspiracies, unsupported opinions and experimental remedies. Stick to the facts and react only to scientifically prov- en evidence-based data. “We need to settle down and prepare for the long haul; Churchill was not referring to Covid-19 when he said this but it is equally applicable now as it was then: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”