Hometown: Maplewood, NJ
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Major: Biological Sciences, Minor: French
Name of Medical School: UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School (Now Rutgers – NJMS)
Residency Program: Combined Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Residency at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School
Fellowship Program: Fellowship in Aesthetic Surgery from Lenox Hill Hospital/Manhattan Eye Ear and Throat Hospital
Favorite Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” (Credit goes inconclusively to Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan) I love this quote because it reminds me to keep trying, no matter how great the odds may seem. If I listened to what people told me I was likely to do or accomplish and didn’t take so many (sometimes risky) shots in life I doubt I would be where I am today.
Celestial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Powered by Oculus
7823 Spivey Station Boulevard, Jonesboro GA 30236
5505 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta GA 30342
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am five years out of residency and working in private practice. I recently started my own practice in Atlanta, GA called Celestial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. I decided on plastic surgery because it found me! I was in medical school and unsure of what residency I should pursue. When I discovered the breadth of plastic surgery and found out how well it combined medicine and surgery with my personal interests in art, restoration and improvement, it was the start of a love affair.
If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell her?
I would tell her to calm down and breathe LOL, that it’s all going to work out so don’t worry. I would tell her to never take no for an answer, to understand that you are where you are because you deserve to be here and never let anyone convince you otherwise. To accept that you may have to be a “trailblazer” in professional situations where others just fit in. And to dream big.
What advice would you give to a medical student looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
See above for what I would tell 1st year postgraduate me. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes we hold ourselves back by being afraid to ask questions of people in the know because we don’t want to look dumb. Get over that and get the information you need to succeed. Speak with a career or academic counselor to help you plan your best course to getting where you want. Pursue your passions and not just money to find a great medical specialty fit. And once you determine what your goals are, go about finding a mentor. If you’re struggling to find a mentor, remember that in the future and don’t neglect to look back to mentor others.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
I once had a major fear of public speaking! Absolutely hated it, sweaty palms and all. But I realized…in most public speaking scenarios you’re the subject matter expert, which is why they invited you to speak! So walk in that, head high.
Can you please walk us through a typical workday?
A typical workday for me (a private practice plastic surgeon) is separated into clinic and OR days for simplicity. On an office day, I see scheduled patients in the office all day: consults, post-op patients, small procedures. In between I return calls, meet with staff and answer an endless stream of emails. For an OR day, I start surgery at around 7:00am and do between 1-3 cases (depending on the length of each) in a day. In between cases I return phone calls, answer emails and if I have patients admitted to the hospital, I round on them. The day is typically over between 6 and 7pm. But this is highly variable and always subject to last-minute changes, which is very typical for the life of a doctor.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever got about my career in medicine (from a Family Medicine attending I was shadowing on a particularly late day) was to never let it get in the way of taking care of my family and myself. As doctors we are encouraged to give everything we’ve got to our patients and we do, gladly. But we shouldn’t give so much that we neglect our own self care and loved ones. There will always be more work to do, and medicine is a great career to use as an excuse to be a workaholic. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t be of assistance to anyone!
How do you manage to balance your work life and your romantic relationship?
See above. I do my best to make time for the things that matter, including my husband. And it does require making time, since our days can get away from us so very easily. We use a shared calendar, which has been a lifesaver for keeping track of our time. This makes it easier to plan dates, trips, fun, etc, all of which are an absolute necessity to maintaining balance!
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to share some of your advice and experiences with us Dr. Celestin! It's remarkable that you are able to maintain such a strong online presence while working as a full-time plastic surgeon! Because of your constant presence, you are positively influencing so many more people than you could imagine! Thank you for all the amazing work that you do!
Posted on April 14th, 2018