Sunday, October 8, 2017

Greetings From Ohio!

General Surgery Essentials

It has been entirely too long since my last post, so time for another update! After my general surgery audition rotation in Philadelphia, I landed right back in Georgia for a required 4 week rural family medicine rotation. I had a lot of autonomy, nice hours, an awesome preceptor, and plenty of relaxation time, so I was really happy. Plus, I really enjoyed my time back home, and I was able to spend time with my daughter who I hadn't seen in two months. We both enjoyed much needed mommy/daughter bonding time, and it made me really happy that she is still doing okay despite me being away so much for 4th year auditions.

Selfie with the Georgia Family Medicine crew

After a pretty chill month, it was time to get back into the operating room, so I hit the road to Ohio where I am at now for general surgery audition #3. Today marks the start of week three, and so far I am enjoying my experience. As with any surgery program, the hours are long, but here, there are a huge variety of surgical cases every day, the residents and attending physicians are all super nice, and I enjoy working alongside the other auditioning medical students. Plus, over the past few months I have become super comfortable with suturing, hand tying, and patient management, so everything is a lot less overwhelming now.

Snagging in a little extra study time in between surgery cases

In addition to being on the surgery grind, I also had to fly to Philadelphia last weekend for the Student National Medical Association's (SNMA) National Leadership Institute hosted by the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. As National President of the SNMA, I was responsible for securing the location, finding speakers, putting together all programming, and making sure the weekend ran smoothly. To say I was stressed would be an understatement! Thankfully, I had the help of amazing individuals who helped me with everything from planning these past few months to handling minor things during the event so I could tend to meetings and such last weekend. Team work truly does make the dream work, and I continue to be reminded every day that I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything without the support and help from the fantastic people who surround me. I am super blessed, indeed!

Thank you to everyone who attended the SNMA September 2017 NLI!

Lastly, in terms of general 4th year updates, I have submitted all my residency applications, and now I'm just praying for a decent number of interviews. This waiting game is sooo stressful! The good news is I have one more general surgery rotation after this one, and then I'll be able to head back to Georgia and breathe again.

I think that covers everything for now. The next time you hear from me, I should be in Delaware finishing up the last rotation of my fourth year general surgery grind. I hope everyone reading this is doing well, and I look forward to updating everyone again soon!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Greetings from Philadelphia!

Happy Tuesday and greetings from Philadelphia! Yesterday I started the third week of my 2nd general surgery audition rotation, and things are going pretty well. This month has been a lot less intense than last month, but I am still learning a lot, and I even have time to explore every now and then. Plus, it's been a pretty fun and interesting experience living the "city life".

Representing SNMA at the NMA annual convention

After leaving Oklahoma, I made the crazy long drive to Pennsylvania where I attended the 115th annual convention of the National Medical Association, and gave the "State of the SNMA" address. It was nice being able to network with physicians while representing my organization, and it's always a great time when I'm around my SNMA family.

Practice makes perfect!

My surgery rotation this month has been productive, but definitely different. I enjoy being able to see different team dynamics, and how the residents, attendings, and staff interact with each other. Plus, it's always fun exploring a new hospital system (which I'm pretty used to by now since my third year rotations had me at a new location every month). The only drawback with being at a smaller hospital with a smaller caseload is I don't get as much hands on time with cases this month, so I make use of my free time at home by practicing my suturing and hand tying skills with pigs' feet. I also take the time to read more on my weaknesses in medicine, since surgery requires knowing how to take care of and manage patients before, during, and after they are on the table.

Can't believe she's in the 5th grade!

Outside of rotations, I'm missing my little love! She started her first day of 5th grade last week WITHOUT me, and it was so weird! I've never missed a first day, and it kinda made me sad. Plus, it's been almost two months since we last saw each other, and although we video chat every day, it's just not the same for me. She's perfectly happy and fine though, which makes it even worse! She could at least pretend to miss me, lol. I'll be okay though, and after this I'll have a one month break from auditioning, so I'll be happy to see her and spend time with her again.

My favorite part of this rotation? FOOD!

But other than that, I'm just enjoying my time learning, getting to experience new locations, and meeting new people. Philadelphia has its share of headaches with finding parking, but having awesome food on every corner more than makes up for it. Plus, any day I get to spend pursuing my dreams of becoming a surgeon or being in the operating room is a great one :-) Until next time!

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!

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