Chasing dreams: A lawyer's path to orthopedic surgery

Every day, Dr. Christina Jenny Greenfield, a dedicated orthopedic surgeon, wakes up in the early mornings to walk her newly adopted puppy. She’s in her first year of residency at the Montreal General Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre and despite the challenges, she finds joy in collaborating with her team. Her path to become a doctor, however, was far from simple. Years ago, Dr. Greenfield embarked on a distinct journey, transitioning from a successful career as a lawyer to pursue her true calling in the field of medicine. 

At first, she began a finance degree at Concordia University, where she excelled. But something was missing. 

“I wasn’t inspired, and I wasn’t passionate,” she says. “Then, a friend persuaded me to pursue civil law in French at Ottawa University. I decided to take the risk by applying and got accepted.” She found it challenging but also rewarding. 

But even while she was studying law, Ms. Greenfield knew she wanted to be a doctor. She applied to medical school and faced three rejections before finally being accepted to the University of Montreal in Trois-Rivières on the fourth attempt. 

“We have to normalize failing. Even if we appear like we’ve made it and have everything figured out, it's often not as seamless as one may think. Success is not linear,” she adds. 

From the outset, Dr. Greenfield was resolute in her desire to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery, a decision that was influenced by her personal experience of breaking her spine during her law studies. 

“I witnessed a team dynamic that deeply inspired me to pursue this type of medicine. I also found orthopedic surgery to be a field that is solution-oriented, with problems being fixed quickly and efficiently, and that motivated me.”

Another source of inspiration is her father, who is also an orthopedic surgeon. As Father's Day approaches, she finds herself reflecting on the significant role he played in shaping her career path. 

“He always emphasized the importance of bringing out the best version of myself in everything I do. He encouraged and motivated me to explore any career I wanted to pursue. He is very proud to have his daughter follow in his footsteps,” she says with a smile. 

For Dr. Greenfield, the feeling of pursuing something that sparks our passion and motivates us to get up in the morning cannot be bought. 

“Despite the challenges, the fulfillment of following my passion far outweighs any doubts,”  she concludes.