Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Celebrating a Decade of Accomplishments

So much to be thankful and proud of this past decade

I know everyone is currently reflecting over the past year, but can we talk about the past decade?!?! What an incredible ten years it has been! I won't lie and say it has always been happy and full of success, but looking back over the past ten years, I can't help but smile and feel a sense of pride about all that I have been able to accomplish.

Started the decade as a research associate

At the start of 2010, I was a few weeks freshly divorced, a new college graduate, and I had just moved into a new apartment. Since I had to leave my campus and work-study jobs behind after I graduated in December, I remember spending New Year's Day 2010 frantically searching for jobs because I had a child to take care of and I needed money! I was blessed not too long afterwards when I received an interview for a parasitology & immunology research associate position and got the job. This began a very rewarding career in research for four years, and during this time, I helped manage a laboratory, presented research, had my name published in a few papers, and even received a master of science degree in biochemistry. The goal was always to become a physician though, so my career happily ended when I finally received an acceptance and started medical school in 2014.

Became a Student Doctor midway through the decade

This blog started right before I entered medical school, so those of you who have been around from the beginning know what a wild ride it has been! If I have to go back to my first favorite memory of my medical school career, I would have to say it would be the day of my white coat ceremony, but there were so many awesome moments during my time as a medical student. I had the chance to meet and interact with many inspirational and influential people (such as television personalities, former surgeon generals and congressmen), became the first osteopathic medical student to ever serve as national president of the Student National Medical Association, was featured in various newspaper and online articles, and not only got the chance to perform surgery with the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States, but received the amazing blessing of her becoming both my friend and mentor! I ended medical school in 2018 with the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (the highest honor given to only one medical student each year at my institution), my picture hanging on my medical school's wall, and having achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a physician.

Ending the decade as a physician

The past two years have been mostly a transitioning phase. I made it through a grueling traditional rotating internship year in general surgery working in a program that tested my limits in every way imaginable, but I thrived as chief intern and finished even stronger than when I started. And despite two unsuccessful match cycles, I continued to press on by completing and passing my final medical board licensing exam, obtaining a full unrestricted medical license, and successfully landing a position as an urgent care physician this year. It's been a crazy transition full of opportunities that I never thought possible, and I'm looking forward to what the beginning of the next decade will bring.

A decade full of fun and adventure!

This past decade hasn't just been all work and no play though. I can honestly say I took advantage of living life to the fullest extent as much as possible, and I feel truly blessed for the many experiences this decade has brought me. I traveled to seven countries with a few solo trips that allowed me to meet awesome new individuals while finding myself and immersing into other cultures. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried things like skydiving, surfing, zip-lining, and even pole dancing. I spent time with my daughter and had many memorable moments with her such as attending her first short film premiere (back when she was into acting), surprising her with a trip to Disney World for her 6th birthday, or even more recently taking her to France for her 13th birthday. I spent time with my family and loved ones whether it was just because, for the holidays, or girls trips with my sisters, and I kept up with blogging for the past six years. This has been quite a fun decade and I'm already excited for the adventures the next one will bring.

Stay tuned for more from Dr. Ward!

So what's next for the upcoming decade? I tend to stay quiet about my plans, but those close to me say I should speak my goals into existence, so here's what I see for the upcoming ten years:

In the first few years of the decade, I will have published my first book, started a business, and finally landed a surgery residency position. By the end of 2029, I see myself ending the year as a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and being a part of a growing practice. **Ten years gives a lot of time to accomplish this, so don't count me out yet ;)** My daughter will likely have just finished college (Can you believe that?!?!), and I will have finally settled down enough to be a homeowner. Because I love to travel, I already know I will have added at least five new countries to my travel list. I will also be very active in my community, likely through mentorship, but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended the decade in some sort of leadership position. Outside of that, the next ten years will be filled with me working towards my surgery dreams while staying true to myself and loving on those in my inner circle.

I hope those of you reading this had a decade full of accomplishments, and I wish you an upcoming decade filled with hope, love, and new adventures. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts, and I hope you will stick around with me into the next decade. If I don't make it back to post again tomorrow, I wish you all a safe night and a very happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

It's My Six-Year Blogiversary! (Thank You Gift Inside)

It has been six years since I wrote my very first blog post, and your girl is still going strong! It's been an absolute pleasure sharing my experiences with everyone from way back when I wrote my first post as a pre-medical student (who had just received an acceptance to medical school) to my journey now as a physician. It's amazing how much life has changed for me over the years, and some of you have been reading and following along from the very beginning. Whether I was preparing for medical school, studying for boards, going on rotations, or trying to survive as a new physician, some of you have cheered me on through it all and I truly appreciate you. 

***Update: The balance is now $0...Hope you enjoyed!***

It's the season of giving, and you all are definitely at the top of my Christmas list! Last year, I showed my appreciation by giving everyone free Starbucks, and since that was such a big hit, I decided to do it again this year with a larger amount so that all my readers have the opportunity to take advantage of it. Below, you will find a barcode for a $100 Starbucks gift certificate, and the same rules apply as last year. Use it to buy ONE small cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa (meets the needs of people like me who don't drink coffee). Please be fair and only use it for one cup, that way as many people as possible can benefit. Just tap on the above picture from your phone to enlarge it, and have the barista scan it at checkout. Super simple :)

Again, thank you so much for reading my blog and following along on my journey over the years. It really means a lot to me that people take the time out of their busy schedules to read about my life, and I hope you all will stick around with me for years to come. Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of the week filled with happiness, productivity, and good drinks :)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

2019 Holiday Gift Guide (Plus Giveaway!)

We bought an actual real and alive tree this year!
It's officially 10 days until Christmas, and if you're anything like me, you have yet to get a start on your holiday shopping. No worries! There's still plenty of time to order gifts and have them at your door by December 24th, so I figured I would share a few of my favorite items with you this holiday season here, and you can also check out my Amazon page if you want more ideas outside of this post. I even have a free giveaway for you below!

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reviewing the at-home teeth whitening system by Smile Brilliant (Click here to read full original review), and I absolutely loved how fast it whitened my teeth and brightened my smile. The company has excellent reviews, is unique in that they create custom-fitted trays, and they're a great choice for anyone considering whitening, but unsure if it is a good idea.  I highly recommend Smile Brilliant if you’re looking to brighten your smile, and the company has yet again graciously agreed to giveaway their awesome product (a $149 value) to one of my readers! Just follow the instructions below to enter for your chance to win! Or if you’re impatient like me and want to get started now, go to smilebrilliant.com and enter the coupon code below for 15% off storewide.

15% off coupon code: aspiringminoritydoctor15

·  The giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. It runs until January 7, 2020 at 11:59pm EST and is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.
·  Smile Brilliant hosts the giveaway on its own website. It's done through an internal platform so you don't have to worry about third-party websites selling your email addresses.
·  All entrants must enter their email address to be entered!


There's nothing more timeless than a watch, and another awesome product I had the pleasure of reviewing this year was a Jord Wood Watch (Click here to read my original review). Their watches are absolutely gorgeous and would make for a great holiday gift for any student, woman, man, or child in your life. Even more exciting, for those of you who own Apple watches, they now make beautiful Apple Watch Bands to keep you fashionable while wearing your favorite time-telling technology. Not in the market for a watch? Well, they even have sunglasses, so make sure you go and check them out! At the time of this post, they are holding a holiday sale giving away $105 in gift cards with every order bought by December 19th.

For the busy professionals, I highly recommend Laborai: a clothing and jewelry line designed for "desk to dinner" looks. The company is not only woman-owned, but the owner/founder is a great friend of mine who, in addition to running the business, is a very busy family medicine resident in Atlanta. The dresses and jumpsuits are all tasteful, with just enough flair to make any woman feel sexy. There's even great jewelry to match. I'm sure you'll find something on the site to suit your upcoming holiday party needs :)

Next on my list is a shameless plug for my mother's side business Mugs and More by Kathleen. She custom makes beautiful bracelets, necklaces, and earrings all by hand! The items are all absolutely gorgeous and she is able to make your requested jewelry into any design or color you desire. On top of this, she also creates custom mugs (I'm still in love with the coffee mug she designed for me a few years ago!), does T-shirt vinyl designs, and can even personalize Christmas tree balls. How cool is it that our tree is personalized with our family pictures?!?! 

Next on the list is a book that kids, parents, and pre-meds alike will enjoy. My daughter and I recently received How Good Ol' Dr. V Came to Be by Dr. Renee Volny Darko, and we were absolutely in love with the colors and story line of the book. I think it's even more important that it's a book with a minority character that children like my daughter can look up to. My daughter gave me the side-eye at first for giving her a children's book, but by the end of it she was both happy and inspired. I highly recommend for the little future physicians in your life.

If you're looking for other great reads, CLICK HERE for a full list of books on amazon that I highly recommend for pre-medical students, medical students, and physicians alike (I love to read!) 

I recently had the pleasure of joining the Medelita family as a H.I.P. (Honoring Inspiring Professionals) Ambassador, and I am happy to include them in my holiday gift guide. They have a great selection of lab coats and scrubs, and I will be reviewing one of their great products in an upcoming blog post. They even have stethoscopes if you're looking for a gift to give the newly accepted medical student in your life, and right now, you can receive 25% off their entire website by using the code HOLIDAY25.  


That's all for now. If you're interested in other products that I personally love and use, feel free to check out my Amazon page (https://www.amazon.com/shop/minoritydoctor) where you'll find idea lists for pre-medical students, medical students, and interns, along with other miscellaneous items. I may come back and add more products to this post, but since Christmas is literally a little over a week away, I figured I would make sure you could be a little prepared :) Are there any great holiday gift ideas that I missed? Feel free to comment with your holiday faves below!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Life as an Urgent Care Physician

Managing more than just colds and coughs!

Since I've started practicing, a lot of you have reached out to me wondering what it's like working as an urgent care physician, and what a typical day entails. This post will hopefully give you a glimpse into my current role and answer a lot of your commonly asked questions.

How would you describe urgent care?

The best way to describe urgent care would be something along the lines of "Emergency Medicine meets Family Medicine (with a sprinkle of Surgery)." I manage patients from 3 months old to 100+ years old, and I get to do a little bit of everything. Whether I'm treating an asthma exacerbation, performing vaginal exams, managing fractures, suturing lacerations, doing incision and drainage procedures, or treating something as simple as a UTI (just to name a few), urgent care pretty much does it all. We don't treat super complex things like heart attacks or other life-threatening issues, but oftentimes these patients will come to the urgent care instead of going to the emergency room, and it is my job to stabilize them until EMS transport arrives to take them to the emergency room. We perform x-rays, EKGs, place splints and boots, and can even provide IV hydration if needed. We then refer to specialists for ongoing management if a patient requires continued care. Urgent care offers a great deal of variety and I think it's a really great way to keep clinical skills current while avoiding burn out.

What are the hours like?

Urgent care offers a very flexible lifestyle and the hours are pretty nice. The practice where I currently work has two locations, one that is open 9am - 1030pm seven days a week and the other that is typically open 9am - 8pm (with slightly earlier closing times on Fridays and on the weekend). At the location with longer hours, shifts are 9am - 4pm and 4pm - close. The other location usually just has one shift that lasts the entire day until closing time. I usually work until about an hour or so after closing time since we have a rule that as long as a patient walks in the door before the official closing time, they will be seen. Usually someone will walk in around 10:28pm with something more complex to deal with, which means I'm working until at least midnight or whenever that patient is fully managed. Despite this, the hours are still insanely better than any day in residency since I never worked less than a 12 hour shift on any given day during my training. 

What is the patient load?

I typically see an average of 20 patients per shift, but this number can vary by more or less depending on the day. It is a job that requires quick thinking and efficient management, but I have never felt super overwhelmed. Sometimes a ton of patients will all come into the waiting room at once, and other times it is a more steady flow of about 3 patients per hour.

Is there help?

When I work, I am the only physician on staff, so I am responsible for seeing and managing all the patients. There is a front desk person that checks everyone in, a medical assistant who does triage and any procedures I may need done (such as x-rays, injections, strep tests, giving IVs, etc.), and at the busier location, I also have a scribe who follows me into the room and types up the majority of my notes so that I can focus on patient care. During my training, I often split my work with at least one other individual and I usually had more senior residents and attending physicians to step in if I needed help. Urgent care differs in that I do not have anyone to split the load with, but I never truly feel alone as I can always call up one of the other physicians in the group for advice, to provide a second set of eyes on an x-ray image, or to even come in if I feel swamped and need help (thankfully I have not had to do this yet *knocks on wood*). Our medical malpractice insurance company also provides helpful resources such as UptoDate for free, so I always have access to the most current medical information and treatment guidelines for my patients.

How is your work-life balance?

My work-life balance now is spectacular compared to how it was during my training. Before I worked no less than twelve hour shifts per day at least six days a week with every third day consisting of a full 24 (which almost always turned into a twenty-eight) hour shift. Right now, I work an average of three days a week with shifts that range from seven hours to eleven hours. The most hours I have worked in one day since starting urgent care was 14.5 and that is only because I picked up another physician's shift and worked a double. I work less than half of what I did during my training, am more than fairly and doubly compensated, and I have time to explore my passions and do some of the things I love outside of medicine. Even better, we are asked for our desired work schedules in advance of each month's schedule being made, so I am able to plan trips and spend more time with my daughter. The work-life balance is without a doubt one of the best things I've got going for me right now, and it will surely be missed if I end up going back to residency.

What new insights have you gained from working at an urgent care?

Believe it or not, I have learned a lot working in urgent care and not all of it is medical. The main thing I have learned is the power of collaborative relationships. I don't think I truly appreciated the power of collaboration during my training (probably due to fatigue and the type of environment I was in), but now it is more evident than ever and a daily necessity. Whether I'm speaking to a radiologist about a patient I sent for an outpatient CT scan, getting advice from a specialist, or working with my staff to make sure a patient is fully taken care of, I am so appreciative of the collaboration that urgent care involves. It has also enhanced my teaching skills as I am frequently educating patients on things like why I will not prescribe antibiotics for their colds or the importance of seeing their primary care physicians for follow up care. Medicine truly is a team sport, and it sometimes takes many individuals working together to ensure a patient gets the most appropriate care. Additionally, working at an urgent care has strengthened my critical thinking and self-directed learning skills, and the beauty of having work-life balance has taught me a lot about self-worth and recognizing the signs of burn out. Lastly, I've gained more insight into my self as an individual. Whether it's been learning to trust my own inner knowledge base or recognizing my limits as a physician, I continue to work on myself daily and being in the urgent care setting has truly allowed me to continue to learn and grow as a physician.

I hope this sums it up and answers most of your questions, but if not, feel free to ask away in the comments below!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Thankful Vibes

I originally planned to type this post on Thanksgiving Day, but decided to truly bask in the day and relax. Then I had the bright idea that since I was working a double shift on Black Friday, and it would likely be quiet due to everyone being out shopping (wishful thinking), I would just type this up while I was at work. But after a crazy busy day filled with managing things like what a patient thought was a hemorrhoid that actually turned out to be a huge abscess (and the most satisfying incision & drainage procedure I've ever performed!), a hand versus chainsaw accident (put my suturing skills to work!), and even a feather stuck in the ear (who knew down feather pillows could be so dangerous?!?!), I learned my lesson about planning for any leisurely activities while at work during a time when most people are not working. Moving onto yesterday, I found some time to start the typing process, but ended up putting it on hold to attend an event, and then I decided to go to the movies afterwards (I saw Queen & Slim and thought it was really good). With that being said, I finally found a moment to write about a few things I've been thankful for this year :)

I guess the most obvious thing I am thankful for this year is having a job! I can't tell you how many nights (and days) I spent worrying last year about what this year would bring. Would I have a job? Would I be homeless? Would I be working somewhere completely unrelated to my medical degree? Would I be living in another new state, away from all family and friends, and working yet again another 24 hour call shift during the holiday? There was so much anxiety! But here I am a year later, a working physician, with an incredible job, living in an area that makes me happy, and able to spend time with those people who mean the most to me whenever I want. It's honestly really hard to put into words all the feelings that surround my current state of mind, but one thing I can say for sure is that God's plan is the best plan, and everything always works out perfectly and at the right time.

Another thing I am thankful for is my family and the friends who have become like family (or I guess "Framily" as they call it). My family always comes through for me, provides me with so much help with my daughter, and they're always super supportive even if they don't completely understand my path. I'm even more thankful to have a child who doesn't mind being away from me and who tells me on a daily basis how proud she is of me. And even though I am absolutely horrible at keeping in touch with people, I am thankful for those who still check on me and don't trip when I don't reach out often, and for those who can deal with me and all of my craziness. Over the past year, I have been amazed by the amount of friends who text me to make sure I'm okay, take time out of their busy schedules to travel to hang out with me, and even those who are quick to send me the latest postings on open surgery residency positions so that I can continue to pursue my goals. I might not be the best at expressing it, but I am thankful for each and every individual I interact with, and your love and friendship mean a lot to me. 

Lastly, I am thankful for YOU. Next month will make six years of blogging, and some of you have been around from the very beginning. You've followed my journey from newly accepted medical student to navigating life as Dr. Ward, encouraged me through various struggles, and continued to cheer for me when things are going right. I am beyond grateful for the support you give just by reading my posts, and there have been numerous times where I wanted to give up or quit, but then I receive an email sharing your success story or inspiration that you gained from reading one of my posts. This has really kept me going.

So in my attempt to keep this post relatively short, I'll just end by saying every year I grow more and more thankful for life and all it's ups and downs. I'm thankful for the dark times that allow me to enjoy the happy times, the people who make life worth living, and for being able to live my dream as a physician. I honestly couldn't feel more blessed at the moment, and for that I am truly thankful. I hope everyone reading this had a very happy Thanksgiving, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season ahead.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

I'm Officially the Mother of a Teenager! (Paris, France recap)

Smiles outside the Louvre Museum in Paris

Life has a funny way of working itself out. Around this time last year, I was feeling overworked and extremely upset at the fact that despite putting in my request well in advance and getting approved, I was still scheduled to work a 24 hour call shift during my daughter's birthday weekend. This meant having to cancel an already scheduled flight and miss my only child's birthday for the first time ever since no one was willing to switch call with me (and who could blame them?).

Fast-forward to this year, and not only do I feel less stressed with the ultimate work-life balance, but I recently returned from a trip to France where I took my daughter to celebrate her 13th birthday. I seriously could not feel more blessed and thankful for life's current twists and turns :) This post will serve as a recap of our recent trip, but since I recently promised to get back to writing more frequently, more posts will be coming soon answering all your commonly asked questions and detailing my recent life experiences :)

Her first silk press!

I've never really understood why, but for the past few years, my daughter had been wanting to go to Paris. She has a picture of the Eiffel Tower on her bedroom wall and Paris trinkets throughout her room, so I figured I would surprise her with the real thing this year to ring in her officially becoming a teenager (yup, I'm now the mother of a 13 year old! *shock face*). But first, it was time for a trip to the hair salon for a new slightly more teenage look. She received her first silk press and judging by how many times she kept flipping her hair, I think she liked it.

Birthday welcome from the hotel

I don't think my daughter actually believed we were going to Paris until the plane started to take off, but the look of happiness on her face was priceless! It was the one picture I wish I would've captured. The flight was enjoyable, and when we arrived at the hotel there was a surprise gift, balloons, treats, and a welcome message waiting in our room for her. It was super sweet!

Sightseeing in Paris!

We arrived around 1pm and although we were tired and jetlagged, we knew we had to stay awake or we would risk being up all night. So we immediately ventured out for some exploring. We took pictures outside the Louvre, walked all the way down to near the Notre Dame so my daughter could check out a Manga shop that she swore had books in English (it didn't), took a little detour so that I could buy something nice for myself, and even went inside the Louvre and took silly pictures with some of the art. We ended the night with a nice dinner together, and then we were out like a light!

Day 2: More Paris sightseeing

We started off our second day in Paris with a trip to the Eiffel Tower where went all the way up to the summit and took in the gorgeous views of the city. Following this we used the hop on hop off river cruise (only $17 for 24 hour access!) to go to all the major stops in the city and take in the sights. We explored so much and the city was absolutely beautiful. In my Instagram highlight story reel of France, I have a video of a man playing the piano in the middle of the road. In my opinion, it captured the feel of the city so wonderfully, so feel free to check it out.

Eiffel Tower fun!

At the end of the day, we returned to the Eiffel Tower to see the light show. My daughter thought it would include various colors during the show and was not impressed with the 5 minutes of twinkling lights. I, on the other hand, was super enthralled! It was such a magical display and I was completely caught up in all its beauty.

Happy 13th Birthday to my little love!

The next day was my little one's 13th birthday and what better place to celebrate than Disneyland Paris?!?! After eating breakfast (during which the hotel surprised her with a cake and candle), we checked out, grabbed an Uber, and made our way to the happiest place in France. When we arrived at Disneyland, we went to the visitor center where she was greeted with a surprise birthday call from Mickey Mouse. I even got her to try escargot for the first time (she wasn't a fan LOL), we rode a few rides, had good laughs, and enjoyed both a parade and the evening fireworks show. I think it's safe to say she enjoyed her birthday :)

Birthday fun at Disneyland Paris

The next day it was time to return home, but we left France full of happy smiles and awesome memories. I'm so happy I had the opportunity to provide my daughter with such a memorable birthday experience this year, and I hope she'll cherish it for years to come. That pretty much wraps up our trip, but I thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed this recap. Until next time!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Training Wheels are Off and the Doctor is In: An Update

My glow is back!

So many changes have occurred since my last full post! Over the past three months alone, my life has made a complete 180 degree turn, and I couldn't be happier at the moment. It was only six months ago when I found out yet again that I didn't match into a categorical general surgery spot, and it was so stressful worrying about how I would be able to pay bills, take care of my child, and still continue to live my dream of being a physician. I never could have imagined how smoothly everything would come together for me, and I can't help but feel anything other than blessed and thankful. I've finally settled down enough to write about my recent experiences, so this post will serve as a quick recap for your viewing pleasure :)

Goodbye Philly!

A few days after I officially finished my intern year, I packed up my belongings, sold what wouldn't fit in my car, and I made the long drive back from Pennsylvania to Georgia. During that time, I had no real plan on what I would do for work as I didn't have any jobs lined up, and I was still waiting to hear back from a couple of residency programs I interviewed at for open PGY-2 positions. I only knew I wanted to be back in the south and that I would figure out everything later. During the last week in June, I took the time to relax, hang out with a few friends I made while living there, and enjoy some sight seeing in Philadelphia one last time before I was gone for good!

Badge Official!

During my final week in Philadelphia, I submitted the application to obtain an unrestricted medical license in the state of Georgia (I had to wait until my final day of training to officially have a complete application), and I received the approval email around three weeks later. This approval meant I could finally start working as a general practitioner, and I immediately applied for various jobs in my area. I also spoke with an old classmate who connected me with an awesome urgent care physician who told me his clinic was looking for a new physician. Just a few days after this conversation, I had a chance to check out the clinic and interview with the owner. I started training the following week working alongside other physicians as I couldn't fully work on my own until my DEA license was approved. Luckily the approval took less than two weeks, and my training was paid, so it was a super smooth transition. By the first week of September, I was working full shifts as the only physician on staff, and as we near the end of the month, I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable with my new role. I guess you can say the training wheels are officially off since, for the time being, I am no longer a resident physician, but a fresh urgent care physician.

Mommy-Daughter Time!

This new position is such a welcome change from the stress of residency life. I am no longer working insane hours, I have great work-life balance with much more free time, and I actually get to spend time with my daughter. I agreed to let her continue to stay with my parents another year to enjoy band, her friends, and her dwindling time in middle school, but being only six hours away from her by car (and one hour by plane) is way better than the two flights or twenty hour drive it took from the northeast. We pretty much get to see each other in person now whenever we want, and it's kinda fun making random trips in the middle of the week to help with homework or just relax with my little one.

Third time's a charm?

This new chapter in life doesn't mean my long-term goals have changed just yet. I am still one stubborn individual, and I submitted my ERAS application for yet another go-round of the residency match cycle. Having to re-apply sucks, but the bright side is I didn't have to struggle to pay for my applications this cycle, and no matter the outcome, I know I will have a job this time next year. In the past, I've been pretty quiet about the process, but this time around I will share more about it on the blog to help out my medical student readers. I'll also write a post detailing urgent care life since people close to me have asked a lot of questions about it. As for now, I'm going to use the next few days I have off to relax, and I hope everyone reading this has an amazing weekend!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Buying / Gift Ideas for Medical Students and Residents

Click the picture to check out my Amazon Storefront!

Not too long ago I received an email from one of my readers who was about to start medical school and wasn't sure what to buy. Most schools are pretty good at providing lists of recommended items and providing PDF files of textbooks, but this is not always the case. This inspired me to create a few idea lists on Amazon to help out individuals starting medical school or residency. So far I only have a few idea lists, but will be adding more in the future.

Feel free to check out my Amazon storefront (www.amazon.com/shop/minoritydoctor) and let me know if there is anything you want added. I'm always open to sharing what worked for me and things that help make my life better. I also remember how lost I felt beginning both medical school and then again during the start of my intern year, so hopefully this will help you out a bit!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Intern Year: Chapter Closed

Graduation selfie :)

Yes, I realize this post is well over a month late, but I've been so busy lately that I actually forgot I never posted about this accomplishment until my graduation certificate came in the mail the other day. But as of June 24,2019, this girl has officially graduated and is no longer an intern!

I'm pretty sure graduation was my first time getting cute since starting LOL

It was weird being in another graduation so soon after my medical school graduation which took place a little over a year ago, but since my internship was a one year standalone program, I was technically graduating. I debated going, but realized it would probably be the last time I would see a lot of people I spent the past year with, and I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity to get a little cute and enjoy some free food and drinks LOL. Plus, it was a graduation for all of the residency and fellowship programs at my institution, so I wanted to cheer for some of the senior residents I worked with over the year. 

Happy to have served a one of the Chief Interns :)

It was a very intimate ceremony with the program directors taking the time to talk about each of the graduating residents and tell where they would be heading for fellowship or to start practicing independently. The interns were called up last, and it was nice hearing my name being called and walking across a stage again. Plus, I was given a large plaque to commemorate my role over the past year as one of the Chief Interns :) It was a really nice evening and a pleasant end to a long year.

"Last Day of Intern year" Selfie

Unfortunately, graduation did not mean that intern year was officially over, because I still had a full week of work ahead of me with call. It's funny because I started the very first day of intern year on a Sunday working a 24 hour call shift, and I ended my intern year by starting on a Sunday morning and working a 24 hour shift until Monday morning. I was even more amused that I would be the one acquainting the new incoming interns bright and early as they rolled in Monday morning. They looked super scared as I walked out the door at 6am and said goodbye to the program forever, and I couldn't help but smile at the fact that I was probably just as scared when I first started, but somehow managed to make it through and truly grow as a physician. It's amazing how much one year can change a person.

My official internship completion certificate

I should and probably will write a post about lessons learned from intern year, but right now I am just enjoying the close of another great chapter. Plus, I still need more time to gather my thoughts about the past year so I can write about it in a way that doesn't scare off anyone. I'm also in a transitioning phase right now that has kept me pretty busy, albeit in a good way, but I'll make sure to get back on here soon with ALL the updates. I'm sure everyone is wondering where I am right now, what I'm doing, and what's next for me, but you'll just have to stay tuned. I promise to share more. Just not today :)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Recap of SBAS 2019: NYC

During the last weekend in April, I had the pleasure of traveling to New York City and attending the 29th annual meeting of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS) hosted by the Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. It was an amazing experience!!!! This meeting not only gave me the opportunity to network with phenomenal black leaders in surgery, but it refreshed my spirit and truly confirmed my love for surgery.
Road trip with my mentor!

I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to the conference with my wonderful mentor, Dr. Scantlebury. She had been urging me to attend the conference since last year when it was held in Birmingham, Alabama, and I was thankful that the conference was again being held at a location that wasn’t too far from me.

SBAS Women in Surgery

This was my first time attending an SBAS meeting, and I couldn’t wait to soak up all it had to offer. We arrived in New York just in time to attend the first session which was a two-hour financial wellness summit that included a ton of relevant and useful information. Following this, was a women in surgery reception and opening welcome reception where I got the chance to interact with so many awesome individuals. Before this point, I had never shared a room with so many people who not only looked like me, but who all shared the same love and passion as I do for surgery. It was truly both beautiful and inspiring.


In true surgical fashion, the next day started bright and early. Breakfast was served at 530am and we were all on the bus at 630am to head over to Weill Cornell where a full academic agenda was planned. The morning spent there was full of great talks and research presentations. I enjoyed every presentation ranging from laparoscopic donor hepatectomies to the use of GoPro in the operating room as a way to evaluate and improve performance with video-based feedback. I also got to be a part of a group picture with everyone in attendance (above). Seeing this inspires me every time I see it! We then headed back to the hotel for an afternoon lunch lecture and more great scientific sessions.

An Evening of fun at the Pratt House!
Later that evening, we all headed to The Harold Pratt House for an evening of great food, music, and dancing. The featured musical guests were the George Gee Swing Orchestra and Lindy Hoppers and they made for a great atmosphere. It was also awesome being able to socialize and make new friends. I even ran into one of my surgery attendings who didn’t recognize me at first outside of my normal everyday scrubs look, and even better was the amazing food! I ate a little bit of everything that night ranging from custom-made tacos to trying knish for the first time.

The next and final day was my favorite of the meeting. During a mentorship lunch, I had the opportunity to sit with leaders in surgery and have an open discussion on various topics. I felt completely comfortable asking questions and it was great feeling supported. Following the lunch, a Resident and Medical Student breakout session was held that discussed everything from ascending in leadership to negotiating contracts. One thing that stuck out to me the most from both this session and a previous session was the fact that there has yet to be an African-American female to serve as a department chair in surgery. Now I’m not saying this is what I’m striving for, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt to try ;) It was also really fun engaging with the medical students and answering their questions while giving tips for success in their upcoming surgery rotations. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in their position, so it was cool being able to help ease some of their anxiety.

So many great moments!

The final event of the 2019 SBAS meeting was a black tie dinner that still has me smiling. The speakers were Dr. Mae Jemison and Dr. Louis Sullivan. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Jemison is a physician, engineer, NASA astronaut, and the FIRST woman of color to travel in space. Dr. Louis Sullivan is the Founding Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine AND former Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services under the George H.W. Bush administration. There literally are no words to describe how phenomenal both of these individuals are or the impact that they have made on history. Their speeches were extremely engaging, inspiring, and probably some of the best that I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing (and I mean that, without exaggeration). Hearing them speak was a prominent ending to a great conference.

Following the dinner, was an evening of dancing that allowed for even more fellowship and gave everyone the opportunity to cut loose one last time. You haven’t lived until you’ve swag surfed with a room full of department chairs, program directors, attendings, residents, and medical students who all share a love for surgery, and I’m happy that someone was able to catch this moment of fun (as shown below).

This was my first time attending a SBAS meeting, and it definitely won’t be my last. I was engaged intellectually, formed lasting bonds, and it was the first time since starting intern year where I felt supported, inspired, and hopeful of my professional aspirations. It was much needed, and I will forever be thankful for the experience and all it blessed me with. If you’re a medical student interested in surgery or surgery resident, then I highly recommend attending one of the annual meetings, so you can experience the same joy I did. Below, you’ll find a video highlighting past SBAS meetings with the NYC highlights occuring at the 1:45 mark. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend next year’s meeting at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and if so, I hope to meet some of you there!

The Magic of SBAS- Black Surgeons Defining Excellence from Dr. Hassan A. Tetteh on Vimeo.

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