Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Princeton University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Molecular Biology || Global Health and Health Policy
Name of Medical School(s): Tulane University School of Medicine || Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Residency Program: Pediatrics (Categorical) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am a first year categorical Pediatrics resident. Categorical, for those of you who are just beginning your medical journey, means that I am in a pediatrics residency without a declared track (some popular tracks are: advocacy, genetics, and pediatrics neurology). I flirted with the idea of medicine for the majority of my childhood. My father is a family physician and I spent a lot of time with him on the wards and in his clinic. Although I perceived his work to be incredibly impactful – as a child, I thought of physicians as magicians – there was an aspect to his work that did not resonate with me. I shadowed other physicians: nephrologists, allergy & immunology specialists, cardiologists, dermatologists, and internists – all intrigued me in regard to the science, but I could not see myself in any of those physicians’ shoes.
I found myself fascinated by the patient-physician dynamic and wrote often about this dyad. In time, I recognized that I wanted to be a participant in this dynamic but needed to find a field that suited my temperament and interests. As a sophomore in college, I had the opportunity to complete a “Princeternship” at Texas Children’s Hospital and I worked with the pediatric infectious disease team. I fell in love with the positivity of the field. It clicked. I wanted to work to advance the health of children.
I tried, in theory, to keep an open mind during my clerkship year of medical school. I enjoyed aspects of every rotation but I realized that the bread-and-butter of most other fields were of minimal interest to me. I flirted with the idea of radiation oncology but ultimately held true with my convictions. Now that I’m almost a year into residency, I feel certain that I made the right choice.
If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell her?
Wow. My first year postgraduate self was incredibly anxious. The first thing I would tell her: take a deep breath, it will all turn out fine. I will admit that I am a type A person. Stress and I are well acquainted. As a first year in medical school, I had a lot of questions. The most pervasive: is there space in the field for a person like me? A person who is equally interested in the art of medicine as the science. A person who has a strong interest in pursuing a career in public/global health. A person who is passionate about narrative medicine. I realized on the interview trail, when program directors told me what they found interesting about me, that those traits and interests that did not overlap with majority of my medical school classmates were my strengths. I learned that there is room for me at the table. So I would tell my first year postgraduate self to continue to build upon her skillset and engage in her interests because in time, they will become true assets.
What advice would you give to a medical student looking to pursue a similar path to yours?
Find your why. I could have said study hard or be organized or even prioritize or maintain work-life balance. Sure, all those things are important but what often goes unsaid is that every person on this journey has been told by either a disgruntled physician or a friend of a disgruntled physician or an extremely unknowledgeable albeit grumpy individual that medicine is a horrible field. These words haunt you and resurface when you’re stressed about a test or when you have to miss a wedding to work a 24 hour shift. Those are the moments when you have to remember what drives you. Your why will sustain you.
Can you please walk us through a typical workday?
6:00 AM – morning sign out
8:00 AM – rounds
11:00 AM – call consults
12:00 PM – noon conference
1:00 PM – afternoon wards work / or continuity clinic
4/5:00 PM – afternoon sign out for short call resident
7:00 PM – long call resident starts evening sign out to night team
What do you like to do for fun?
Dance (I’ve danced for my entire life and now I’m getting into salsa!), checking out new restaurants, exploring the Philadelphia art scene, and watching far too much reality television.
In an alternate universe, what career do you think you would be in right now if healthcare wasn’t an option for you?
We really appreciate you taking the time to share with us why you decided to go into medicine Ajibike! We also love the fantastic advice! Thank you so much and best of luck to you as you continue powering through your residency training! We’re all rooting for you and we know that great things await you in your future!
Posted on February 21st, 2019