Hometown: Pine Bluff, AR
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Chemistry Major
Name of Medical School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Residency Program: Internal Medicine – Wake Forest School of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those that prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a 2nd year resident physician specializing in Internal Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. My path to becoming a physician actually didn’t start until college. I started my undergraduate studies with a focus in Physics, and initially had plans to become an engineer. While on a summer internship, I ended up spending a lot of time with my mother as she would eventually require surgery for a debilitating herniated disc in her lower back. During this time, I saw first-hand the impact that a physician’s knowledge, compassion, and technical skill can have on improving the lives of others. After that experience, I dedicated my time and efforts into becoming a physician and never looked back. So far, I love what I do! I chose the field of Internal Medicine because it requires a wide range of clinical and pathophysiological knowledge, as well as appropriate application and critical thinking. There are also plenty of career options within the field, including subspecialties (Cardiology, Pulmonology, Endocrine, etc.), hospitalist, primary care, and academics. In my opinion, the field also allows for more of a work-life balance. My current plan is to specialize in Cardiology.
If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell him?
I would tell myself, and anyone else in that position, to: Have fun, enjoy life, spend plenty of time with friends and family when you can, practice stress reduction, eat healthy and take care of your body, take trips and explore new places, and make new friends. Do not worry about your struggles, give them to God, and stay focused on the tasks at hand. I guarantee that He has you on His path, so do not worry about the journey; just make the best memories that you can along the way because they will last a lifetime. You do not want to look back at your life and think, “What if I..?”
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
The biggest challenge that I can recall during my path to medicine has been the MCAT, a national standardized exam that is required upon applying to medical school. Prior to the year that I would take the exam, I had never heard of it or what it encompasses. At that time, I had great advice from family and close friends in the medical field that encouraged me to take a study course to help me prepare. At the start of my summer course, I had to take a practice version of the MCAT, and my score was the lowest in the class. At that time, I felt like I did not belong, and had made a mistake choosing this career path. After much prayer and support from my loved ones, I continued in the program, studying diligently, putting in late hours and avoiding leisurely time with my college friends, for an entire summer. I ended that program with a score that was greater than double of my initial score, and would go on to do well enough on the MCAT to gain acceptance into several different medical schools. The biggest things I learned from that experience were sacrifice, faith, and delayed gratification.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is the new people that I meet every day, my patients. I hear so many stories from them about their lives, their struggles, their concerns or fears, and also their triumphs! I do what I can every day using my knowledge and experience to find ways to improve their health, and ultimately hope that this will improve their way of life. I get joy from that, and feel when I have a positive impact the individuals in my community, that I am truly doing my part in society and in my faith.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of your job? The easiest part?
I’ve found that the most challenging part about my career is the moment when I realize that I’ve reached the limit of what I can do for a patient in a dire situation. Knowing that I am only human, and there is a limitation to the extent of modern medicine, there are times where I encounter diseases or conditions that are incurable. It’s difficult because the deliverance of this news to the patient and their family can be heartbreaking, and will often change their lives forever. I don’t really have an easiest part, but I’d say that the most enjoyable part is the smiles and thanks that I get from my patients and their families after successfully completing health goals, providing correct diagnoses, or relieving troubling symptoms.
What gives you the greatest motivation to get up every day to go to work?
My motivation comes from my parents. Knowing that they worked their butts off to provide me with the resources and opportunities that I have had in my life, inspires me to achieve at the highest level that I can to make them proud. Also, knowing that their path was filled with more resistance than mine, yet they were still able to accomplish their dreams (in addition to the many who paved the way in my career before me), confirms that my goals are attainable with hard work, dedication, and faith.
How remarkable Dr. Broughton! This is some wonderful insight! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your very busy schedule to share some of your story with us and to provide us with some fruitful advice! You're a role model to many! Best of luck to you as you continue working in your residency program!
Posted on December 30th, 2016