Every day is different. Since my practice is hospital based and geared towards taking care of emergencies, no two days are the same. The day always started with check-out, when the OB hospitalist who is leaving goes over all of the patients who are admitted to us so that we know about them and know what needs to be done for them that day. We also have safety rounds with the charge nurses. During those meetings we discuss the patients who are on the labor and delivery floor, antepartum (pregnant women who have not delivered) and postpartum (women who have delivered) floors. The purpose is to make sure everyone is aware of patients with complex medical problems.
We spend the rest of the day seeing patients in our OB emergency room, which is dedicated to patients who have pregnancy related problems. We also see gynecologic patients in the main emergency room and patients who need gynecologic consultations on the main floors of the hospital. If a patient comes to the hospital who doesn’t have a doctor there, and she needs to be admitted for delivery or a gynecologic problem, they are admitted to the OB/Gyn hospitalist. We deliver babies and perform cesarean sections. We also perform other emergency surgeries for gynecologic patients. For example, if a woman has a tubal pregnancy and she has internal bleeding, she needs emergency surgery and we would do that.
Right now my job consists of 24 hour shifts, which is a long shift. But it also means I go to the hospital less often. When we aren’t seeing patients, we are finishing up notes or other administrative work. Of course, we also rest when we can.
What advice would you give someone considering this career?
A career in medicine is very fulfilling. Every day I am at work is a day I make a measurable difference in someone’s life. But it requires extensive training and it is filled with hard word. If you like the sciences and you want to care fore people, medicine is a great career choice. If this sounds like you, I have two pieces of advice. First, there is no right or wrong way to become a physician. In other words, there’s not a prescribed path to get into medical school. There were people in my class who had careers prior to medicine and those who went straight through from college into medical school. There were those who had degrees in science related majors and those who were language or business majors. So, follow the path that works for you. There will be people who tell you that you’re “wrong” but trust me, they are the ones who are wrong. There’s so much information covered in medical school that any advantage to having a science major only lasts for a day or two (really!)
The second piece of advice is to realize that you can have a profound impact on people’s lives within healthcare, but it may not be in the role of physician. You don’t even have to go to college for some careers! Some options for careers that don’t require college are certified nursing assistant, medical assistant, radiology technician, physical therapy assistant, or pharmacy technician. College is required for nursing, pharmacy, sonographers, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, medical device sales, pharmaceutical sales, and a role in business administration. These lists are not exhaustive and I’m sure there are many more careers other than those that I have listed!
What is a book or movie that has inspired you?
As I mentioned in my interview, I’ve always wanted to be a physician. So, I can’t think of a book or movie that inspired me to become a physician. But, there are some great books out there that are written by physicians or involve medicine. Some doctors who have authored well known books are Michael Crichton, Khaled Hosseini, Abraham Verghese, Tess Gerritsen, Robin Cooke, Atul Gawande, and Eric Topol. Some of my favorite books from physician authors are When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, House of God by Samuel Shem, and Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.
Do you (or your company) offer internships or job shadow opportunities to high school students? If so, how would a student go about applying for one of those?
My company does not offer internships or job shadow opportunities. However, you can inquire with hospitals or physicians who have an outpatient practice. One great way to get some exposure and experience is to volunteer at the hospital. I volunteered at a hospital close to campus when I was at the University of Texas at Austin.
While seeking experiential opportunities is always a good idea, I will warn you, that with these are unusual times and finding one is going to be a much tougher process this year and for the duration of the pandemic. As you know, we want to decrease exposure to patients who are ill and we already have limitations in the amount of protective gear available. I would still encourage you to seek out opportunities, but if please know that if you have trouble finding them it’s more about the state of the world we live in than anything else.