I was nominated a few years ago by Madonna, one of Austria’s leading women’s magazines for the Leading Ladies Award in the category „Reaching Your Life’s Goals,“ because I managed to overcome a number of obstacles to become a pediatrician. In telling you my story, I hope it can result in encouraging those of you who are also facing hurdles to achieve your wishes despite the difficulties you may encounter.
I grew up in an Upper Austrian village under very basic conditions which grew worse after my father died. Suddenly, at age 12, I had to take care of my three yougner siblings. At age 17 I went to Germany, where I worked as a housekeeper while getting my high-school diploma at night school. In 1983, I started studying medicine in Vienna, with study blocks in the United States – a formidable challenge because I had become a mother of two daughters.
While married, I faced the challenges of being a single mother, because my husband was away on business for weeks, sometimes months, – and in one instance for more than two years. And still i managed. By 2004 I had finished my pediatric training, worked full time on the children’s ward in Vienna’s SMZ Ost hospital and started establishing two practices, one in Mödling, the other in Vienna’s 1st District.
I used to work an average of 70 hours a week before reducing my time in hospital a few years ago. But the positive feedback from my little patients, their parents and my family gave me the power to persevere and succeed. Others have it even tougher. Their – and my – success show that if you really want to achieve something, you just need to believe in yourself to make your goals reality.