Why did you chose medicine?
I ended up in medicine after initially planning to major in music. When I didn't get into the music program I majored in molecular biology, then biochemistry, and then finally landed in chemical engineering. Along the way I took an EMT class and volunteered as an EMT on campus. This was a fun and rewarding experience. I chose medicine because I loved science and helping people. Medicine seemed to be a good combination of both. I enjoyed engineering but knew I would be much happier working on people than chemical reactors.
What has been the most rewarding part of your medical career?
As a rural family physician I am involved in the entire spectrum of care. It is very rewarding to me to be able to handle anything that comes to the emergency room, deliver babies, take care of the babies I delivered, tend to hospitalized patients, and see patients in clinic. Taking care of entire families and building relationships with them, helping people become and stay healthier and manage chronic diseases is very rewarding.
What advice would you give to prospective doctors and/or students?
Choosing a career in medicine is a major commitment and should be done for the right reasons - a love for the field and taking care of patients. Those who choose if for money, prestige or other reasons will quickly burn out. It is a highly demanding but equally rewarding profession. Even though medical school and residency are long and hard, the end is worth it, and being an attending physician is a great life.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The challenges of medicine have changed through the various stages of training. In medical school and residency the biggest challenge was learning everything I needed to know. As a new attending, it was scary to finally be on my own, but I quickly became comfortable with this. As a mother, there are balances to figure out, and this will be an ongoing challenge, but it is entirely doable. Now my challenge is to stay up to date in my field and continue to make time for both of my jobs - mother and physician.
Anything else we should know?
Never let anyone tell you what you can and can't do. If you love medicine enough you will find a way to make it work!