Back To Basics

It’s hard to believe that I’m already a month into my Pediatrics rotation…but then again, I’m always finding things hard to believe. I’ve come to accept it as a recurring theme in my life lol. Having a month of Pediatrics behind me means that I only have two more weeks to soak this rotation all in before I go on to my next one, Psychiatry.

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I’m definitely not ready to end this experience any time soon; I’ve been having such a great time! I was afforded the opportunity to work in a private practice clinic last week, where I participated in handling the bread-and-butter of outpatient pediatrics: well-child visits, immunizations, upper respiratory infections and a WHOLE LOT of reassurance to worried parents. The clinic was very busy and the pediatrician I was working with was always darting from room to room, which meant I was getting a ton of steps in. But even with the speedy nature of the clinic, she was very willing to teach me many things about outpatient pediatrics that I never knew, allowed me to go into her patients’ rooms to gather histories & perform pertinent physical exams, and went out of her way to discuss important concepts that I needed to know for my shelf exam. I was also struck by how nice she was, and by how happy and kind everyone else in the clinic was as well. I really felt welcomed there from the minute I first walked in on Monday morning (after having showed up at the wrong clinic first 😂)! In addition, I truly appreciated the amazing level of rapport that she had for her patients and I could literally feel her passion for children radiating from her while she interacted with them. She would ask them what they were wearing for Halloween, joke around with them, hold and bounce the babies to calm them down, and let the little kids play with the toys she had in her handybag, just to name a few of the things she did. Overall, I had a fantastic experience at the clinic! It was only made better by the fact that I avoided getting sick 😄. Now excuse me as I proceed to knock on some wood and plead to God that I don’t catch a cold.

Because I was in an outpatient clinic last week, I had quite a bit more “free” time to work with than I had while I was on my inpatient weeks. Due to this, I got a ton of studying in and was able to fulfill a number of tasks that I had been pushing off for a while. Oh yeah, before I forget, lemme tell y’all about the clinical practice exam that I had to take on Monday afternoon. You know, the one I mentioned to you at the end of my last post. It was so different from the CPXs that I had participated in previously. Instead of focusing on one patient for 45 minutes and having a couple of days to write up a clinic note, I had to zip through six patients in 15-minute intervals and then write brief clinic notes on them, each of which I had only ten minutes to complete it in. It was a whirlwind of an exam, especially with the constraints of the time limits…but I think I did alright on it. I know that I could have done better for sure, but the GAG is that it was formative! Which means that it doesn’t have any impact on my grade at all!

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I sure am glad that we got the opportunity to experience this exam in a stress-free environment, because I know have an idea of what to expect when it comes time to take Step 2 Clinical Skills. We’re going to have to do this exam again at the end of the school year before taking Step 2, but with this reference point now in mind, I’ll feel more confident about my performance when it comes time to do so. However, I am very interested in hearing the feedback from my performance because Lord knows it was far from perfect 😅.

Before I finish this post, I want to share with you some very insightful advice I recently received from the course director of my clerkship. In my short meeting with him last week, I had explained how much I was liking Pediatrics so far and how I’ve begun to actually consider it as a career path alongside Ophthalmology. He smiled and then responded with saying that my main mission as a third-year student is to enjoy the ride while being aware of which specialties I mesh really well with…then as third-year comes to a close, I’ll have a lot more clarity than I have now and I’ll be better able to “find a specialty that feels like home”. This is all stuff that I’ve already known for some time, but for some reason his “home” comment really resonated with me. It was such a simple, yet profound message. It makes total sense that I should feel at home in whatever specialty I end up choosing to practice in. There are so many variables that go into picking a specialty, but if you don’t feel at home in it then you’re ultimately doing yourself a disservice that you may unfortunately regret. This is a message that I’ll hold on tight to and it’ll definitely play a huge factor into my decision when it comes time to choose my specialty.

Lol, what a great way to end this post. Next up in my Peds experience is the newborn nursery! Looks like this week is already shaping up to be another great one!

Y’all have a sensational week!

“The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.” – Neal Boortz

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I finally got my Ob/Gyn course grade back this weekend…let’s just say that I done came up A LOT from my Internal Medicine rotation grade! I pray that I’m able to have a repeat performance with this rotation! 😅

P.P.S. – Miami is 6-0 baby!!! Let’s keep the momentum going!!!

How Did I End Up Here?

Y’all.

I’m in the middle of a crisis right now.

I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with my future anymore.

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Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be reconsidering my “definite” decision of pursuing Ophthalmology as a career. I had been told numerous times that clinical rotations tended to steer people towards career paths that they never envisioned themselves in before, but I was always so sure that I had a steadfast hold on my goal of becoming an Ophthalmologist. Like, I used to have a quick answer every time someone asked me what kind of doctor I wanted to become. I definitely didn’t believe that I would be one of those who had the potential to be swayed into another specialty, especially because I had been interested in vision care ever since my early high-school years. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still interested in vision care and the field of Ophthalmology as a whole. But maaannn, the field of Pediatrics has been really tugging on me!

Like I said a couple weeks ago, a lot of my friends had said to me time and time again how they could see me becoming a wonderful Pediatrician. It always seemed crazy to me whenever I heard this because although I knew that I could tolerate kids and deal with them well, I just did not see myself ever deciding to become a doctor for kids…especially since I spent the majority of my childhood helping raise my five younger siblings, whether I wanted to or not. This is why it’s so unreal to me that I’ve been having so much fun on this rotation so far! From the people I’ve been working with to the families that I’ve been serving, my experience in this rotation has been a very interesting one. And I haven’t even started my outpatient experience yet! I’ve also noticed how much I’ve been enjoying the primary care aspect of this specialty, something I had not previously considered since I was all gung-ho about Ophthalmology up until recently. Man let me tell you, third-year is something else. Makes me wonder if I’ll run into another specialty that I find myself liking a whole lot…

You’ll probably hear me talking about my joy in this rotation about ten more times in the near future, so let me stop and actually tell you how my week went. I was on a service where I helped care for kids with chronic conditions relating to their GI (esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum), Cardiologic (heart) and Nephrologic (kidneys) systems, and I was able to learn a lot about their various conditions. Like, A LOT. Both the residents and the attendings on my team were very willing to teach me as much as I wanted to know about anything I asked them, and believe me, I wanted to know A LOT. They were also all just very nice and cool people to be around, which made my 11-hour shifts something to look forward to each night.  Wait a minute, looking forward to 11-hour shifts?? Did you read that right? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Lol well it is, which why this all seems unreal. The days really just flew by during the week and before I knew it, it was Friday afternoon. And with the end of that week came the end of my inpatient part of this rotation.

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While I was working in the hospital, I kept myself even busier (what a great idea) outside of the hospital by helping host a Mentor/Mentee mixer between the Twin City Medical Society Chapter of the National Medical Association & the Wake Forest Chapter of the SNMA, attending a discussion on keeping a humanistic perspective while working in clinical rotations, organizing a glaucoma screening within a health fair that was taking place in the community yesterday morning, and now volunteering in the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the Brenner’s Children Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Health. I could talk more about each of these events, but I tend to write novels when I get carried away with my thoughts. Plus, I’m lowkey running out of the time I gave myself to write this post 😅. To make long stories short, I’m really glad that I’ve been able to find the time to pursue other endeavors while on my clinical rotations. It’s been a bit tough to do so, but far from impossible. Participating in extra-curriculars also keeps me motivated as well as disciplined, and it allows me to continue being a well-rounded individual, something that has been an integral part of my identity for as long as I can remember. I feel like my life would probably be easier if I weren’t as involved in a number of things outside of my curriculum (including running an ever-expanding website), but I also know that I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.  With that said, I would trade easy for happiness anytime, anywhere.

Alright, I gotta go on ahead and gear up for the outpatient part of my rotation, which starts tomorrow morning! I also have a CPX (Clinical Practice Examination) I have to complete tomorrow afternoon, where I’ll be interviewing six simulated patients (15 minutes each) and writing notes on them (10 minutes each) in succession. Seems excessive, doesn’t it? It kind of is, but it’s all in preparation for the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam that I’ll need to take after my third year is over. Step 2 though? Didn’t I just finish up Step 1 like not too long ago?? Smh. The tests never end fam. They never do.

I hope that each of you has a spectacular week! Also, please pray for the world. And then make it a point each day to do something, no matter how small or big, to make it a better place. There’s so much trouble in the world right now and it’s almost impossible to keep up with all the craziness just in our country alone. Believe me, I know it’s hard…but try your best to not to let the negativity around you consume you!

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

– Black Man, M.D.

Everyday I’m Hustlin’

My experience in this Pediatrics rotation so far just continues to get better and better. I was on the night shift this past week and I had just as great of a team as I had the previous week! Not only that, the shifts only ran up until midnight, so I’ve had a good amount of time to study (Thank GOD) and get other things done during the day. I probably won’t have as much time to study this upcoming week due to the fact that I’ll be back to working 6AM-5PM shifts, so I really needed this past week to catch up on material that I still don’t feel like I’m caught up on. But on the other hand, I’m sure I’ll have some amazing learning experiences this week because I’ll be helping to care for patients with impairments in their Cardiologic, GI and Nephrologic systems.

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During my time on night shift, my team and I routinely checked in on currently admitted patients on the floors we were covering to make sure that those kids were doing alright. We also frequently went back and forth from our workroom to the Pediatrics Emergency Department to assess and/or admit new patients into the hospital. While in the ED, I helped admit a good number of patients who came in with a wide variety of symptoms that ranged from very benign to extremely serious. I was able to further hone my interviewing skills and to tweak them in a manner that was more amenable to pediatric patients while fully taking in the endlessly busy environment of the ED. Furthermore, I witnessed bad news being delivered to patients on a few occasions and acknowledged not only how the patient’s family took the information but also how the doctor delivering the unfortunate news phrased everything she was saying. Having to deliver news that you know is going to be devastating to a family is tough…but learning how to effectively do so while providing justified hope is an incredible skill to have in your toolkit, and one that I would definitely like to acquire. Overall, my time on Peds night shift was a memorable and enriching experience filled with encounters that will truly be unforgettable.

I’m keeping this post short because I actually have a thousand things to take care of at the moment, which brings me to my final point. As of late, I’ve been asking myself, “Why is it that the further along I get into my medical education, the busier I make myself outside of my studies?” It’s pretty backwards, to tell you the truth lol. You would think that I would participate in more extra-curricular stuff as a first or even second-year student due to the relatively higher amount of free time I had in those years. But I’m finding that I’ve been doing a lot more extra-curricular work this year than I had in years past…or at least it feels like it. Maybe it’s because I’m usually busy in the clinic or the hospital now, so my limited “free time” is spent studying and squeezing in time to fulfill the multiple responsibilites I currently have. Also when I look back, my first-year was a time of adjustment for me…so it was probably better that I stayed focused in my studies. Not having a car back then didn’t make things easier either. But now that I’m a third-year student, I’m a lot more comfortable in taking on multiple responsibilites while fulfilling my role as a medical student. It’s just ironic that I happened to want to become more active in areas that I’m passionate about while at the same time having to deal with an even more demanding workload from school.

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*Sigh*

Such is life.

Y’all make sure to have a wonderful week! It’s hard to believe that October is already in full swing! AND SHOUTOUT TO THEM CANES FOR BEATING FSWHO IN A DRAMATIC FASHION AT THEIR OWN STADIUM!!!

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“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” Henry Ford

– Black Man, M.D.

Christel Luhhh The Kids!

Multiple people have told me time and time again that they could definitely see me as a Pediatrician. Whenever I used to hear that, I would usually laugh it off and say something like, “Maybe, maybe not. Who knows?” with a shrug. But after this first week in inpatient Pediatrics, I can finally see why people have always told me that they could see a future Pediatrician in me.

I’M FREAKIN’ LOVING THIS ROTATION SO FAR!!

From day one of this rotation, I was a little too excited to start it and my excitement hasn’t died down since! Having such an AWESOME team to work with this past week only added to my excitement! There wasn’t a minute during the week where I wished I were somewhere else other than the hospital; my team was just that much fun to work with. And in regards to the patient population I was serving (newborns to late adolescents), I found myself very inspired and driven to help care for them. Part of the reason I was so driven to help them was because of my inability to stop thinking about the unfairness of the situations that many of these kids were in. They did not deserve to be as sick as they were, especially with such full lives ahead of them. Seeing sick children in general bothered me, but it was especially bothersome when the youngest of them had either serious chronic conditions and/or terminal conditions. Like, what did they do to deserve those gravely unfortunate conditions?? And as for the families of these children, they really deserve kudos for doing their best to keep the child’s quality of life as high as possible. I can’t even begin to imagine just how hard it must be to care for a chronically ill child.

In addition to thinking about how these kids deserved the best treatment possible in order to continue living out their lives, I found my mind repeatedly wandering off to what my life would possibly look like if I were to decide on becoming a Pediatrician and I must say, I can definitely see myself being perfectly happy in that career path. I don’t mind working with children at all, and I actually find myself playing with them as I’m caring for them. I also feel like I tend to get along with the family members of the patients, whether they be parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. Plus, I believe that a career in Pediatrics would align very well with the various goals and plans I have for my future, especially the primary care aspects of it. But with all this being said, I’ve only been in this rotation for a week….so it’s probably a bit premature to say that I love this specialty, especially with five more weeks to go in it lol. I’m still interested in the field of Ophthalmology but in all honesty, Pediatrics looks like it’s starting to become a serious contender….

I’m going to be working inpatient nights this week, so I’ll get to have another unique perspective of this specialty. But before starting this night shift, I’m going to be attending a wedding for one of my fraternity brothers over in Phoenix, Arizona, where I’m currently at right now. It’s pretty trippy over here y’all. The sky is always blue, there’s no grass, there are a bunch of cacti in the city, it’s pretty hot, you can see mountains in the distance, and we’re in the middle of a freakin’ desert. I really feel like I’m on another planet right now…it’s hard to believe that I’m still in America. And oh yeah, I’m a whole three hours behind from the East Coast. That really tripped me up yesterday. But I’ve been having a fantastic time here with old and new friends alike, and am looking forward to this wedding ceremony that will be taking place in a few hours!

Y’all be sure to have a glorious week!

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell

– Black Man, M.D.