Hometown: Nashville, TN
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Howard University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major/Chemistry Minor
Name of Medical School: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Residency and Fellowship Programs:
Residency – Internal Medicine at University of Maryland Medical Center
Fellowship – Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Yale University
Advanced Interventional Endoscopy Fellowship (July 2019 – June 2020) at Yale University
Favorite Quote: “You don’t grind, you don’t shine.”
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently completing my third year of my Gastroenterology & Hepatology fellowship. I chose GI because it’s the perfect mix of complex problem-solving and interesting procedures. I love the wide variety of cases that we see and treat in this field. GI is unique because it covers a multitude of organs all in one specialty (esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder.) I also love the immediate gratification you get from doing procedures such as stopping gastrointestinal bleeding, treating an esophageal food impaction, or removing an obstructing gallstone that is causing sepsis. In addition to this, as technology rapidly advances, so does our field. It’s quite impressive to see the things we as gastroenterologists can do endoscopically/minimally invasively that would’ve required more invasive surgical procedures in the past. This also allows us to provide treatment options for patients who previously would not have been considered candidates for any interventions in the past due to multiple co-morbidities.
If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell him?
Do what works for you, not what works for everyone else. I did not develop good study habits in college. I was the type of person that would procrastinate and cram the night before a test. As a result, I did not have a good idea of what studying/learning method(s) worked best for me and that quickly came to light in medical school. I found myself scrambling to try different techniques that I saw my colleagues doing whether it was making summary sheets, re-watching recorded lectures, making flash cards, etc. It took a while for me to find my groove. If I really focused on thinking about how I really best absorbed information rather than trying to mimic what others were doing, I would likely have found my groove earlier.
What advice would you give to a medical student looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Do it because you love it, and not for the money or for someone else, including your parents. It is going to be your love for what you do that carries you through the many years of training, and the long nights and weekends where you are in the hospital rather than hanging out with friends and family.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to residency?
Review the “Charting the Outcomes in the Match” PDF online to have a good idea of the goal number of interviews you need to go on to ensure you have the best chances of matching in your chosen specialty. Don’t eliminate yourself. What I mean by that is, do not eliminate yourself by not even giving yourself a shot. Apply and give programs an opportunity to accept or reject you. Many times, we do not even apply to certain programs because of a mindset that says “I will never get in” or “they will never consider me.” You must overcome this mentality to prevent yourself from losing the battle before it has even begun. You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Hands-down, it’s performing endoscopic procedures. Imagine incorporating your hands-eye coordination, visualization skills, and reaction time that you use to play PlayStation or Xbox into actually treating a patient and saving a life. It’s the perfect example of the saying “the best of both worlds.”
Can you please walk us through a typical workday?
Since I am still in my fellowship, my “typical workday” depends on the rotation I am on. If I am on an inpatient consultation service, my day is a mix of seeing consults (patients that other medical providers have asked me to see so that I can provide my medical expertise and perform a procedure if needed), documenting, and performing procedures on the patients that need them. If I am on an outpatient rotation, my day can either be a full day of outpatient endoscopic procedures, a full day of clinic, or half and half.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of your job? The easiest part?
Time management. Being in a procedural specialty means you sometimes have to balance consenting patients for procedures, placing orders, performing the procedure, and writing your notes, while at the same time answering pages about new patients you are asked to see and going to see those patients at the other side of the hospital in between your cases. It’s a challenge that makes you a better person and physician. It forces you to be efficient and to prioritize so that the more emergent/urgent matters area handled first.
What has been your favorite memory so far in your career?
Walking into the waiting room after finishing a case to tell the anxiously waiting family of a patient that needed an emergent endoscopy that everything went well and was a success. This also meant that the patient was thus saved from having to undergo surgery. I was greeted with nothing but smiles, hugs, and tears of joy. Moments like those never get old!
What gives you the greatest motivation to get up every day to go to work?
The fact that I literally love what I do, especially days that are filled with procedures. This is why I recommend choosing a career and field that you love. You will often find yourself on a Sunday evening looking forward to Monday rather than dreading it!
How do you manage to balance your work life, your romantic relationship, and your family life?
My wife gave birth to twins a little more than halfway into my first year of fellowship, and as you can imagine, this led to quite the balancing act. Communication is a major key. You have to communicate with your spouse when you need each other’s help; for example, if you need them to keep an eye on the kids while you work on your presentation or do some reading for work, and they need to do the same. There will be times when you bring work home, but it’s very important to try to get as much work done while you are at work so that you can keep those times to a minimum. Be intentional about setting time aside to spend with your significant other. Remember your spouse and family are a priority over work.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to watch movies, play games with friends (i.e. Taboo, Jenga, Spades etc.), go out to eat, cook, and play sports. I used to play football and rugby, but those aren’t exactly sports easily available to play these days, so I find myself playing basketball with friends, which I love.
In an alternate universe, what career do you think you would be in right now if healthcare wasn’t an option for you?
Maybe an engineer designing robots. I also always thought it would be cool to be a firefighter.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this incredible wealth of information with us Dr. Campbell, you are greatly appreciated! Your wisdom will be sure to enlighten those who read this feature and many people will additionally gain clarity from your personal experiences! We will be cheering you on as you continue to inspire us with the work that you do on a daily basis!
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Posted on December 17th, 2018