Wednesday, July 12, 2017

General Surgery Audition Season in Full Effect!

First day of general surgery audition selfie :-)

The grind doesn't stop, and I am currently in Oklahoma for the month on my first general surgery audition rotation. In case you're not familiar with this, auditions are where medical students go to residency programs they are interested in and "act" as a resident for four weeks. It helps give the programs an idea of who you are as an individual, how you work with and get along with the current residents, and it allows you to not only shine, but get a feel of a program to see if it is worth applying to. In the MD world, these are known as away rotations, but they don't tend to carry a lot of weight. In the DO world, auditions are a big deal (well, at least when it comes to surgery anyway). Some programs will not even grant interviews to students unless they have auditioned at their program, so I would say it's super important. I will pretty much be in a different state every month until December, and super busy, but I will try my best to keep everyone updated.

So far, I am really enjoying my experience. I started last Monday and it has literally been non-stop since orientation. I was so glad that I brought my gym shoes with me the first day because right after orientation I was throwing on scrubs and getting straight to work! I've only been here a week and a half, but have scrubbed in on everything from debridements to below knee amputations to laparascopic cholecystectomies and hernia repairs. This morning I even got to scrub in on a few plastic surgery cases :-) There is something new and exciting every day and I absolutely love it!

My typical day starts around 430am, and I get to the hospital around 5am to round on my patients, type my progress notes, and then meet up with the resident I am assigned to. From there we might round again, and then we usually head to the OR for the procedures scheduled that day. After surgery, we round again, go see new consults, and if we finish early, I go find other surgeons and ask if they need help with anything or if I can scrub in on their case. On Tuesday mornings before surgery, I attend Grand Rounds, and on Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6am, I attend didactics with all the residents and attendings. Thursdays are clinic days. At the program I am at right now, I am the only student auditioning in general surgery this month, so I am definitely taking advantage of this and trying to get in as much face time with the residents and attendings as possible. At around 530pm, if there are no new consults, then I go with the residents to do handoff to the night time residents, and I am pretty much free to go.  My evenings are filled with studying for the next day's cases and reading up on things I might have been questioned about earlier in the day. I also make sure to video chat with my daughter, which is always a great way to end the day. After that, if I don't have any conference calls or anything important to do, I either watch a quick show or read, shower, and then go to bed. This is pretty much how it goes every day, and that includes weekends and holidays. This weekend I have to fly out of town to handle some SNMA business, so I am kind of looking forward to being able to sleep in a for a couple of extra hours on Saturday, but kinda sad I might miss some surgery action.

With that being said, I haven't had much time to explore the area I am in because I literally go to the hospital and then my AirBnB location. Oklahoma is definitely way different from what I imagined, but in a good way, and both the weather and people are pretty great. I also ran into two of my classmates who are here auditioning for other specialties, so it was a pleasant surprise to see some familiar faces.

That's pretty much it on my end. The past month has been spent moving, transitioning, traveling, and dealing with a ton of changes, but luckily I adapt to change pretty well. Right now, my main focus is performing my best on this rotation and learning as much as I possibly can without getting in the way of the residents. I am also in the middle of applying to osteopathic residency programs and will be submitting applications in the next day or so. The next few months will probably be the busiest time of my entire medical school career, so please keep me in your prayers. I'll make sure to update everyone as I go, but if you don't hear from me, you know why. Until next time!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Goodbye Vacation, Hello 4th Year!

That 4th year glow!

Vacation time might be over, but I'm officially a 4th year medical student, and couldn't be happier!!! I'm one week into my first rotation of the year, but I'm still feeling the effects of a wonderful two-week break that was filled with relaxation and happy vibes. Plus I found out yesterday that I passed the COMLEX Level 2 CE exam I took on May 8th (and scored higher than my Level 1 exam), so I'm pretty much on cloud nine. I officially passed all of the medical board licensing exams required for graduation which means I'm going to be a doctor, y'all!

Chicago fun!

But to rewind, I finished my third year with a great rotation in neurology that gave me the opportunity to really develop my examination skills, but I was ready for a break! So a few days after my rotation ended, I took a short trip to Chicago and had a blast! I finally got to see the play "Hamilton" (an amazing experience!), checked out the Rolling Stones exhibit at Navy Pier, and I got my fill of super delicious foods. I even took some time to stop by the American Osteopathic Association headquarters. It was great meeting the content editor for The DO magazine, who gave me a tour of the building, let me hold an autographed copy of A.T. Still's biography (he was the founder of osteopathic medicine), and she even hooked me up with some awesome freebies. I was one happy lady :-)

Weekend Girl's Trip

After Chicago, I made a trip to Mississippi to drop my daughter off with my dad since she had just finished school, and then it was off to Louisiana with my mom and two of my sisters for a girl's weekend getaway. We enjoyed the spa, watched a movie, danced, saw Smokey Robinson perform live, and somehow in the mix, I even ended up holding a baby alligator. It was a great time!

More Excitement to Come!

But now, it's back to reality as I'm currently back on the rotation grind. This month, I'm taking it somewhat easy with a family medicine rotation since next month I'll be starting my general surgery audition rotations. I'll be spending the next few weeks packing up and getting ready to live out of my car for a few months, but I'm excited for new adventures. I'll make sure to update everyone on all of that later, along with the other posts I promised, but for now I gotta get back to work!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Breaking Barriers and Excited for What’s to Come!

My excitement at becoming SNMA National President!

It has been a while since my last full post, and sooo much awesomeness has occurred! I’ve officially made it to my 4th year of medical school, am currently enjoying the tail end of a very much needed two-week vacation, and probably what everyone is most aware of is the fact that I recently became the first osteopathic medical student to serve as National President of the Student National Medical Association! Life has been a complete whirlwind for the past 2 months, but I’ll focus this post on the SNMA, and leave my upcoming posts for school, vacation, and mommy-mode updates.  

Extremely blessed to have my daughter and sister attend the conference

On April 14th, I ended my term as President-Elect of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), and was inducted as National President during the Annual Medical Education Conference that was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year. It was such a blessing to have the conference where I live because I was able to bring my daughter to my induction which meant so much to me. Most people don’t realize how much she goes through this journey with me, and despite knowing she’s proud of me as a mother, I wanted her to get the bigger picture and really see why I’m always on conference calls or traveling when I could be spending that time with her. I also brought my sister to the conference, because if it weren’t for her coming all the way to Georgia to take on the job as nanny this past summer, life would be a lot harder and way more expensive (still have to pay her a ton, but a lot cheaper than a stranger LOL). My daughter still talks about the event, and I am extremely happy that I could expose her to thousands of individuals on the path of becoming physicians and let her see her mommy in action at the same time :-)

I attend the best medical school ever!

I was also pleasantly surprised at the amazing support I received from my school during the conference. Not only were both the Philadelphia and Georgia campuses of PCOM well represented at the conference, but the administrative staff even put together a small party to celebrate my new milestone. There was cake, great people from my PCOM family, and I was even surprised to see my picture in an ad in the program book. It was equally great meeting fellow students from my main campus and forming new bonds. I couldn’t attend a better institution and I continue to remain grateful for all the support.

Love my PCOM family!

I am looking forward to my year as president and I’m excited to take you all along on the journey. The SNMA is an organization I am extremely passionate about, and my goal is to use my position to continue the mission of the organization and focus on my passions of inspiring youth to become physicians, supporting my fellow non-traditional students, breaking barriers, and representing the osteopathic medical profession. I hope you all will stick around for the ride!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution!

Hey everyone! I know it's been a while since my last post, and soooo much has happened since then, but I'm currently traveling and will have to share all of the exciting updates next week. Until then, please check out my most recent feature in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that can be found HERE. I am super honored to have my story shared, and I hope it inspires some of you. Wishing everyone a very happy Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Updates on an Exciting Month!

Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Medical Honor Society at UVA

It’s getting harder and harder to post frequently, but I’m still here! The past month has been a complete whirlwind, but I have enjoyed every last bit of it :-)

My most notable experience this past month was being invited to the University of Virginia to be a keynote speaker for the “Path Toward the White Coat” event hosted by the SNMA MAPS chapter Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Medical Honor Society at UVA. It was an amazing experience being able to connect with some of the organization’s pre-medical students, and their hospitality was top-notch. They showed me their beautiful city and campus, and even took me on Monticello and vineyard tours. I was impressed by the students, and it was a great reminder of where I used to be. I was happy and honored to offer my advice and be a part of a great program. Thank you, UVA!

Not a doctor yet, but thankful for the invite!

As for rotations, when I last left off, I was just finishing up my Family Medicine / Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (FM/OMM) rotation. Since that time, I completed an ambulatory internal medicine (IM) rotation, and I am currently on an inpatient IM rotation that includes pulmonology, critical care, and some outpatient care. The patients are definitely a lot sicker on this rotation, but I am really enjoying the experience. My preceptor allows me to see all the new consults and do charting on my own, so the autonomy is a plus. It forces me to develop good assessments and plans, and I like being involved with patients from day one. I am also rotating at three hospitals in the northeast Georgia area, and while the drive is a bit far, it’s actually one of the best commutes I’ve had so far. I just have a straight 40 minute drive in the morning with virtually no traffic, so it’s quite enjoyable. Definitely beats sitting in up to two hours of traffic when driving towards the Atlanta area! Plus, the hospitals are in pretty scenic rural areas and I just love the country feel (and the super sweet tea in the cafeteria!). The picture below is the view from a patient room in one of the hospitals I am in…Sooo pretty!

Gorgeous view from hospital room

In my last post, I wrote about recently completing my COMLEX Level II – PE exam. I am happy to say the results are in, and I passed!!!! Sooo happy to have that over with and now it’s on to the next one. Right now, I am registered for COMLEX Level II – CE on May 8th, but I am considering pushing it back a few weeks if I can find a testing center that isn’t too far away. I’m 27 days away, and I’ll be missing a few days of study time this week due to the SNMA AMEC conference, so if my practice scores aren’t where I want them to be in about a week or so, I have no problem taking more time to study.

Study Grind!

This week, the biggest thing on my plate is the Student National Medical Association’s Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC). On Friday, I will officially become National President of the organization, and I am sooooo excited! I can’t wait to re-connect with our members, attend awesome workshops, and present my executive agenda. A lot of hard work has been put into making this conference a success, so I’m looking forward to another great conference and an exciting new year. So for those of you who will be in attendance this week: don’t be afraid to say hello when you see me and I look forward to seeing you all right here in Atlanta!

See you in Atlanta!

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