Dr. Harshini Sriskanda opened Star Kids Clinic in August 2019 – building it into one of the largest pediatric clinics in the GTA, while balancing the demands of being a mother to three active children.
What made you decide to become a doctor, specifically a pediatrician?
After I graduated high school, I entered the Biology & Psychology program at McMaster University. I was good at the Sciences and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Science, but I had no interest in lab work. I applied for and was accepted to Queen’s University School of Medicine and it was during my rotations that I found I enjoyed Pediatrics. I found it deeply rewarding to care for children and families and to help set a positive course for a child’s life. Children have a great capacity to heal and overcome challenges. As a community pediatrician, watching a child grow is one of the best parts of the job. I started practicing independently in 2015, and my first patients, who were newborns at the time, are now in kindergarten and starting school and I find this amazing.
I have several friends who are now doctors and the journey is a long and demanding one. How did your friends & family support you along your journey? Did you ever want to give up? If so, what made you push forward?
My parents supported me from the very beginning and provided me with absolutely everything so I could focus on my academics and my career. Later, my husband did the same – I would not be where I am now without them. I don’t recall a point where I ever wanted to give up, but the hardest time for me was at the end of 2011, after I went back to my residency training after taking one year of for maternity leave. We had our first child and this was the longest break I had ever had in studying or working in my iife.
When I returned back to work, I felt out of sync with everyone around me, and no longer had the time after work to devote to studying or preparing for rounds for the next day. I wanted to be with my child, but also be a great doctor. I came up with a solution that still works for me 10 years later and helped me achieve balance in my home and work life, which is to spend my home hours with my children and family, go to bed early (usually falling asleep during my kids’ bedtime!) and waking up in the early morning hours to study, catch up on emails and prepare for the day ahead.