Victory Lap

Now Christel, why in the world are you talking about a victory lap when you haven’t even hit the halfway point of third year yet? Don’t you think it’s a little premature to be claiming victory over completing your residency training? πŸ€”

Yes, it it is true that I haven’t finished residency yet and that it may sound premature to go ahead and celebrate my triumph in completing residency. But what I CAN do is practice reframing and change my state of mind from “just getting through my third year and learning what I can along the way” to “celebrating my last year of residency in triumph by seeing it as a victory lap and appreciating every moment along the way, regardless of how awesome or challenging these moments may be”. It really is amazing how a shift in your mindset can completely alter your perspective of your current situation and ultimately alter your reality. Regardless of how I feel about my ongoing training in residency, I am going to have to go through it one way or another. So, as challenging as residency can be at times, why not adopt a mindset that will yield much better returns for myself and others around me, especially as I face some more demanding rotations ahead of me? This kind of thinking has gotten me through various other experiences in my life, and although I had started to lose sight of it over the past several months, I’m glad to say that I’m challenging myself to reclaim this mindset and to find enjoyment and appreciation in my experiences throughout my victory lap of residency! Shoutout to Nipsey for inspiring the title of this blog post, I really had to go through some deep reflections for this one!

If you think I’m nuts, I would totally understand lol. Definitely wouldn’t blame you, my way of thinking has stunned people in the past and left them wondering how the hell I manage to keep such a resilient and positive mindset in the face of the adversity that this world brings to us on a daily basis. To be honest, I can’t totally explain it or articulate a clear answer to that question. All I know is that this growth mindset is what keeps me going and is what keeps a smile on my face. A lot of naivety has been stomped out of me over the years, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be bitter and jaded at the world. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have hope for a better future for the world. Sure, there is A LOT wrong with things around us that I won’t even begin getting into. It can almost feel hopeless to try and tackle it all, especially when there’s such strong opposition in fixing the things that need some serious fixing in our society. But man, if you allow yourself to feel hopeless and defeated all the time, you’ll only find yourself moving through life in a zombie-like fashion. And this is no way for you to live the only life that you have been given.

Wow, I went totally off topic there. Let me hop off this soapbox and give y’all an update about my life so that you can go on about your day. πŸ™ƒ

In the time between my last post and today, I powered through the second half of my inpatient rotation at the community hospital I was working at in Greensboro and then switched to a relatively lighter rotation focused on adolescent medicine, which is the rotation I’m on now. I have roughly one more week on this rotation before switching to an inpatient rotation at UNC where my team and I will be covering a service full of patients with medical issues concerning either their cardiac or GI systems. I’ll be on this rotation for a total of six weeks (including during the Christmas holiday πŸ˜…), and will be starting the rotation off with not one, not two, but THREE weeks of night shifts where my intern, medical student(s) and I will be charged with admitting kids overnight while ensuring that the already admitted kids on the three services we’re covering stay stable throughout the night.

As you can see, my next rotation has the potential to be quite a challenging one, but it’s okay because I’m running my victory lap, remember? Not only will I get the opportunity to care for kids with conditions that I probably won’t see much of again in my future career, but I’ll also get the opportunity to be a positive team leader and to aid in the medical education of those on my team. Plus, you can’t beat the family interactions that you get to have in Peds, especially when you are able to improve the child’s health and ultimately discharge them from the hospital. My schedule will be ridiculous at times, but it’s all part of the process that I’ve learned to trust. Better to make the most of it all and navigate it as efficiently as I can than it is to complain about it all and bitterly simmer about not having time to do anything!

The rest of my time at the community hospital remained busy for the most part, though there were some night and day shifts that weren’t as active as the majority of them had been. I also had a 24-hour shift that was so wild that I actually ended up staying up for the full shift. I may have actually hit a third wind at some point; I can’t believe that I stayed up for almost 28 hours straight. I may have done that like one other time in my life back when I was a kid on summer vacation…best believe I rested quite nicely the weekend after that shift. Once that rotation was over, I transitioned into adolescent medicine, which has been a blend of inpatient consults, outpatient visits, lectures, and a few specialized/unique experiences scattered throughout. I must say, this area of medicine had always been a weak point for me, so it has been great to be able to improve upon my ability to effectively care for adolescents with issues specific to their teenage years. I’ve been able to fill in knowledge gaps that I had regarding various topics such as irregularities of the menstrual cycle, gender dysphoria, LGBTQIA+ care in general, mental health concerns like depression and anxiety, diagnosis and management of various eating disorders, and more. I’ve gotten the chance to follow patients from the inpatient setting to the outpatient clinic setting, which has been pretty neat for myself and the families I cared for. I’ve also been given the opportunity to observe the management of adolescents and young adults afflicted by opioid addiction. And last but not least, I gave a morning report presentation on the dangers of cyberbullying and how to best address this issue as pediatricians. It has overall been a positive learning experience with a work schedule that has been more relaxed than the schedules I’ve experienced in the inpatient setting. I did get called into backup once to cover a senior shift in a community hospital that we rotate through in Raleigh, which ended up being another positive experience, even though I hadn’t been there in over six months and had to remember how things operated there lol. Thank goodness I had an excellent team working with me that day! 😁

I had a couple other things going on this past month that I would like to take a moment to share with you all. First off, I had to get recertified for PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) a couple weeks ago, which wasn’t fun but I got through it and am now officially recertified for the next couple of years. I also got the change to practice some procedure skills with some of my co-residents via an OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) session. Some of the skills I practiced included splinting, placing an IV and intubation. I also reviewed the various ways that positive pressure ventilation can be administered to neonates. The main takeaway I got from that session was that I could use some more practice in those skills. πŸ˜…

In addition to those experiences, I was invited to virtually give a talk at the 2021 Anti-Racism Virtual Summit hosted by SWHelper. My talk, Leveraging My Platform: Using Inspiration & Influence To Improve Health Outcomes, touched on how I’ve used my Black Man, M.D. platform to showcase representation of underrepresented minorities in the field of healthcare to try and increase URM interest in healthcare to ultimately improve health outcomes for minority populations. I also talked about the importance of civic engagement, how it directly ties into health outcomes for a community, and how Vot-ER has been playing an instrumental role in advocating for an increase in voter access for patients by implementing voter education and registration processes in healthcare settings. There were apparently hundreds of people listening in on my presentation, and I’m happy to report that it ended up being a smashing hit! πŸ˜„

Lastly, I got the opportunity to participate in the American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) annual Kidney Week conference over the past few days which was hosted in a virtual setting this year. Prior to the conference, I had been selected to participate in the Kidney STARS program, a trainee support program within Kidney Week that intends to stimulate interest in the field of nephrology by providing free access to the conference to medical students, residents and graduate students interested in a career in nephrology. In addition to complimentary registration to the conference, we participated in special events tailored to us during the conference, were able to network with other nephrologists, and were placed in mentoring groups where we established connections with fellows, attendings, and other residents/medical students/graduate students interested in nephrology. Between this special tailored experience during the conference and being able to listen in on various interesting presentations regarding this cool sub-specialty, I really had a great time these past few days and am even more certain about going into pediatric nephrology! While I’m not alone in really wishing that it had been in person, I have to commend ASN for making the virtual format easy to navigate and a wonderful experience overall. I hope that I’m able to attend the conference next year in-person!

That’s all I have for you today! I hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep last night!

And for those of you who were working night shift, I’m terribly sorry. πŸ˜“

Y’all go on and make this week an exceptional one!

“Most people want to skip the process, not knowing that when you skip steps, you miss lessons. If you start small and build on what you have, you can continue to multiply that into something greater, while picking up all of the valuable lessons along the way.” – Ermias Asghedom (a.k.a. Nipsey Hussle)

– Black Man, M.D.

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