As first female urologist in Korea, Yoon carves out her career by focusing on her dream
As first female urologist in Korea, Yoon carves out her career by focusing on her dream
  • Hong Ki-yeon
  • 승인 2015.11.27 13:15
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Being a pioneer in any field can be a daunting task for most people. However, Yoon Hana, graduated as a medical student from Ewha, has enjoyed a comparatively easygoing career as the first female urologist in Korean. The truth is that she has always received full support from people around her.
“My family, my friends and my professors, they were all on my side,” Yoon said. “The school was also very supportive of my decision to become an urologist.”
Yoon thinks that she would not have received as much support from the school if she had gone to a co-ed university. She believes that being an Ewha student made it possible for her to step into the career of urology.
“In a co-ed environment, it’s inevitable that usually female students have a harder time outshining male students in traditionally male-dominated areas,” Yoon said. “It’s not that girls in co-ed schools weren’t interested in urology. It was just that co-ed schools were less prepared to support female students interested in the field, especially when I was a student.”
When Yoon first said that she wanted to be a urologist, her professors were initially hesitant to help her, for they were afraid that she might face difficulties in working in the male-dominated field. However, they soon accepted her plan and supported her.
As much as Yoon benefitted from being an Ewha student and graduate, she says that there were also some drawbacks. She had to face catty remarks and unkind glances from some men who regarded all Ewha graduates as stuck-up or aggressive feminist.
“In the end, though, it was nothing,” Yoon said. “What they thought and said didn’t affect me, because it was their problem, not mine. I did my job and did it well regardless of their gossip, and that was what mattered.”
Apart from the support of those around her, Yoon received many benefits from the fact that she was the first in her field. Since there were no female urologists before her, she had no one to live up to. This was in contrast to the situations of other female urologists who came after her. They felt that whatever they did had to be at least as good as what Yoon had done before them.
“I had unintentionally set a standard for those who came after me, without being tied down to such expectations myself,” Yoon said.
Another plus that derived from being the first female urologist was that Yoon often appeared in the media, with the grand title of “The first female urologist in Korea.” The frequent exposure in press helped her win the trust of her patients more easily.
“I had patients who recognized me from TV or newspapers, and who were really excited about being treated by someone supposedly famous,” Yoon said, with a laugh. “They accepted the media spotlight as a proof of my competence, and therefore were very cooperative during operations or consultations.”
Yoon’s professioanl tasks include surgeries two days a week and consultations three days a week. She does five to six operations and consults approximately 50 patients per day. As consulting a urologic patient takes twice as much time and effort compare to other departments, Yoon said that it is equivalent to seeing around 100 patients per day. Due to the excessive number of patients, she can only spare about five minutes for each patient.
“I would love to spend more time on each patient, but that would lead to fewer patients per day, which is not what the hospital management wants,” Yoon said. “People complain that doctors at big university hospitals make them wait for hours for just a few minutes of consultation, but really, we doctors don’t like it either.”
Despite such limits, Yoon tries her best to treat each individual patient with care. Her devotion has been rewarded with much affection and gratitude from her patients.
“The patients I remember the most are those who brought me home-made food to show their gratitude,” Yoon recalled. “Traditional Korean sweet rice-balls, cookies, pies made by  patients were the most delicious food I have ever tasted.”
When asked what she would like to say to Ewha students, she advised them to focus on what they want to do, even if it seems too vague or unlikely to be achieved.
“Dream your dream,” she said. “Young people often say ‘I don’t have a dream,’ but that can’t be true. How can girls with their entire lives ahead of them have nothing that they want to do? What happens is that they catch glimpses of what they think is a wild dream, and they give up. What they should do instead is to take courage and really make an effort to shape their futures.”
Yoon also emphasized making most of present situations.
“Instead of complaining about your current situation, try to turn it into an advantage.” Yoon said. “This also applies in school environment. You’ll be surprised to find just how many services and activities the school offers once you start looking.”

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