The Importance of Family

What the wards have taught me about family

This past Thursday, a man was dying in the hospital from respiratory distress with CO2 84 for my medical folks (basically he couldn’t breathe well). A woman was there by his side and told us “I’m his sister, I’m all he has.” She told us his wishes, that he did not want to be intubated (didn’t want a tube down his throat to help him breathe). He had a spinal cord injury and she had been by his side as his caretaker through his whole course.

I’ve spent more time in the hospital these past 3 weeks than ever. And outside all of the medicine I’m learning, I’ve picked up on other valuable things. No one ever expects to be hospitalized. Even people who don’t treat their bodies with respect don’t plan on it. [Of course you have your frequent flyers who seem to actually enjoy being in the ER, but I’m not talking about those people.] So when you end up in the hospital, it’s usually pretty scary and you yearn for the support of those who know and love you.

I’ve heard many reasons for families breaking apart. Divorce is a big part of it. Or siblings that never really got along and never saw/spoke to each other again after parents pass away. Sometimes children move very far away from their parents for their careers, and after starting their own families, they lose touch and aren’t there for them when they’re sick. A lot of manipulation from step-mothers and fathers convincing their children that their parents are no-good. Arrogance from advanced careers. There are so many things that I’ve seen break families apart, leaving people alone in the hospital to suffer their conditions, and relying on social work to get them the transportation/home support they need. It really takes a toll on their outcomes. On the other hand, I also talk to older patients who actually move closer to their children whether in retirement or due to looming illness.

My patients that have the support of their spouses or children do so much better! They understand more about their conditions because their loved ones are able to convey information to them. And they are able to communicate the patient’s needs to us. They have a shorter length-of-stay because they go home with their loved one, or that person plays an active role in getting the patient to the appropriate facility. Thus reducing the complications that come from being in the hospital.  And they just have better personalities all around. My patients that don’t have people visiting are super grumpy.

Seeing and learning all of this really makes me think about my future, and the importance of being near my family–or having an available means to get to them in any case of emergency. When I was younger (talking as if I’m 50 lol), all I wanted was to be away from my parents and be an “adult.” Now that I’m here, and time keeps passing, my mindset is shifting. If you’re blessed enough to still have grandparents, or your parents are starting to get older, it’s something to think about. And if you have rifts with your siblings, try to mend them. Because in my opinion, family is the most important relationship there is. Yeah you love your friends, your bf/gf, your dog…but your family is your blood. God chose them for you, and chose you for them.

Reflect on it…

Have a blessed week 🙂

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Update: Life on internal medicine

My internal medicine rotation is off to a pretty good start! I’m 2 weeks in now. I’m working at our VA hospital taking care of patients with complicated past medical histories. All of the patients that our team has taken on since I’ve been here are older men–many with poor lifestyle choices that have led them to where they are now. I’m slowly learning some of the many algorithms for treating COPD, heart failure, and kidney injuries. Since I’ve started, I have definitely grown more confident in my management plans for my patients, and become more comfortable being wrong. No medical student likes to be wrong, but I think it’s way better to still offer something and to learn why it’s incorrect, than to not offer anything at all–especially when it’s concerning your patient. I want to make sure I’m seen as an active participant in their care.

The residents and attending physicians I’ve worked with for the past two weeks have been instrumental in helping me along the learning curve. Every teaching opportunity is taken advantage of, and my questions are answered fully. At the same time, they push me to read and learn more on my own so they aren’t just handing me everything. During my evaluation with my attending, he was saying that my curiosity was one of my better assets. But he said it like three times, so in the back of my mind I wonder if he thinks I ask too many questions haha. I’m sure he meant well. But I definitely don’t hesitate to ask for quick explanations. I like to give a possible answer as I ask the question, so at least it seems like I put thought into it before just asking. Ex. “Is the reason why the creatinine levels spiked today because the patient is dehydrated? (even though that might be a complete guess)” vs. “Why is the patient’s creatinine up today?”

For our schedule, everyday starts at 7 and we’re on call from 7a-7p every 4 days which is when we get all of our admissions (new patients), whether from the Intensive Care Unit or the Emergency Department. On the other days we’re there until 4 latest, but I’m usually let out earlier. No one likes being in the hospital all day long, but call days are the best for me as a student. I get to go to the ED and see the patient first, work them up, and come up with my problem list and plan for the patient. After the resident sees them I’m able to report to them and we solidify the plan together. They teach me how to prioritize the different problems, the right wording for what I’m trying to say, and the right work up for the patient. I learn SO MUCH from just one patient (because they usually have a million things going on).



In other news, yesterday, I was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society! They induct 15% of the medical school class based on nominations from our classmates and review of our CVs. I was so humbled that enough of my classmates felt so highly of me! And it’s amazing that there’s such a high honor given to students for simply being good people, no matter what your GPA is.


SN: Today was my first day off in a while. So refreshing, even if most of it was spent studying. I look at the residents and just wonder how I’m going to be able to handle the workload they have. Hats off to all the residents out there!
– Today was also the first time one of my patients died, ironic and sad that I wasn’t in the hospital to be with the family 😦

SSN: Congratulations in advance to all the 4th years matching this week!!! May God’s plan for your lives manifest in entirety.

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10 funny/relatable med school memes

I hope someone shares the same sentiments as me on some of these!

For your enjoyment pleasure!

Med school professor claimed that the exam will look just like what was covered in lecture. The lie detector determined that was a lie.
All first and second year!!
And Then I Said: The tests will look just like what we've covered in lecture!
Reality: what our professors do after class is out lol
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Who else became a hypochondriac?? I have a problem list of ~5 right now!
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Constantly feeling like there’s no days off! Or you’ll get….behind smh
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Aw man this was so me during pharmacology during second year
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My worst nightmare when I’ve planned a whole study day.
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Once I’m in the the night that’s IT! Not going anywhere. I’m such a home body now!
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BRUH. This is the truth.
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You’ll be so awake all day, then when it’s time to study you just pass out in 5 minutes!
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Trying to save face while you’ve been in a patient room for 20 mins and they’re telling you about their kids accomplishments…


Hope y’all can relate to some of these as much as I can! And hopefully this was a good study break for my fellow students on the grind out there. Enjoy your week!

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I’m not ready…

Back to back 8 week rotations are sucking my energy away

This weekend set a new record for speed. It literally ended in the blink of an eye. I just took my surgery shelf exam Friday and already I’m thinking about my planning and study schedule for internal medicine (IM), which starts tomorrow. Back to back 8 week rotations–my head is spinning just thinking about it. I haven’t recovered from my exhaustion from surgery and it’s time to run another marathon again. At this point I’m wondering where my motivation is going to come from! And it’s not like I can ease into things because we hit the ground running with assignments and quizzes, and there’s 1300+ UWorld questions (practice exam questions) to get through for IM. Along with being a good student, I also want to be a good sister, aunt, friend, daughter, child of God, and of course good to myself. So it’s a lot to balance and everyday I feel like my priorities get rearranged.

Happy birthday Marquenda!

This weekend was the first in two months where I didn’t have a quiz to take or chapters to read or assignments to check off. I definitely soaked up as much of it as possible. I went with a group of friends to a winery outside of Atlanta to celebrate my friend’s (and future neonatologist) birthday. It was such a blast. Good conversations about life–not school–so many hearty laughs, and of course wine! That day trip was such a breath of fresh air. Augusta was starting to smother me. Other than that I meal prepped for the week, washed my hair, spent time with my niece (who just turned 4 months!), caught up on some episodes of This Is Us, and enjoyed my own company.

And I finally watched Black Panther, which was AMAZING! So much action and so much radiant melanin. I loved the strong black cast and was so inspired by the people of Wakanda and their loyalty to each other. I also thought it was unpredictable and kept me on edge, however, one of my friends felt the opposite way. Maybe I’m just naive. Either way, it was a great movie that I highly recommend for anyone. #WakandaForever

As unprepared and not-ready for tomorrow as I feel, one thing I refuse to do is stress about it. I’m at a point in my life where I am truly content with doing my best. All I can do it put my best foot forward, work as hard as I can, and let God handle the rest. I don’t let my classmates stress me out either–I’m wayyy past that comparison phase. They do them and I do me. I’m ready and excited about new challenges, new patients, and a new work environment. Just hoping to have reasonable superiors. OK, I’ve fallen asleep 3 times trying too write this post. I’m to tired I need to get some rest! Have a wonderful week!

Trauma Surgery: Expectations vs. Reality

When I signed up for 2 weeks of Trauma surgery in my third year, I just knew it was going to be action packed. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and be pushed to work under pressure. I even figured doing it at my institution would be the best place because we’re the Level 1 trauma center in our area. I really imagined it being a highlight of my clinical rotations. ABCs, ex laps, chest tubes, gun shots, all of that! I was ready. So just imagine the look on my face (well, the thoughts in my mind since I’ve learned how to save face) when my classmate and I meet our resident on the first day and he says “you guys don’t go to the OR on this rotation.” All my dreams were crushed.

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We work with the resident who manages the patients on the floor. It’s our job to read up on the patients hospital course and answer the question What’s keeping them in the hospital? So I just get to read about all the crazy stuff that happens as opposed to being let in on all of the action. Basically feels like any other inpatient medicine service. We get to the hospital early to pre-round, then round with the trauma team, then follow up on what we need to do for the patients based on rounds. At this point, we (medical students) are sent home and the resident stays behind to man for floor. We don’t have access to put orders in so it’s really hard to be useful.

So am I learning stuff? Absolutely. Management of the complex injuries in patients with gun shots, stabs, falls, electrocutions, etc with different hospital teams coordinating their care is super educational. Right now, I have 5 patients that I’m following, and each of them are teaching me something different. However, it’s definitely not the experience I was hoping for. I guess it’s still a part of trauma surgery. But when you don’t plan on going into surgery, you really want to see as much surgery as you can. So that was disappointing. I did get to go to the OR once and that was for my patient who needed debridement of his foot wound (exit wound from a 14000 volt electrocution). I got a really good lesson/review about burns from my attending that day. (In case you didn’t know, there’s no such thing as 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree burns anymore–they’re changing the terminology to superficial/deep partial thickness and full thickness burns).

With my shelf exam coming up on Friday, I’m actually really not pressed to be in the OR very much anyway since I use every free moment to study, and each day is basically a half day. If I had this rotation toward the beginning of my 8 week surgery stent, I’d be pretty unenthused about it. I’ve just never heard of a surgery rotation where you don’t…go to surgery! But anyway, please keep me in your prayers for my shelf exam this week! I’ll write another post about my study resources/schedule for my preparation, but for now it’s back to work!

Thank you for reading! Enjoy your week! Subscribe on your way out if you haven’t already!

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How to be the most efficient with your study time

In third year, you lose control of your schedule and are left at the mercy of your dead fuck my life GIFattending and residents. With the early mornings and early evenings, by the time I get home, I only have a few hours to study. Especially if I go to the gym, things are even more constrained. And I’m not the type to stay awake late, I’m surely in bed by 11. So, when I sit down to study, I have to be efficient. Here are some tips to help you maximize your time.

First and most important is to make a SCHEDULE. Before you sit down to study, you should already know what you’re about to accomplish. This way you keep yourself on track and can sense if you’re getting behind. You can do this day-to-day with to do lists, but to be most successful, you want to make this schedule at least on a weekly basis. On Sunday, you can generally map out what you plan to accomplish that week. Then each day, before sitting down, review that plan and make amends based on the amount of time you have to study that night. Particularly during third year, when you already know what resources you want to get through, you can actually plan out your study schedule entirely before the rotation starts, then make changes to it as you go along (this is what I do).

phone call GIFWhen you sit down you need to minimize distractions. Turn your computer notifications off and put your phone on do not disturb. I usually keep my phone in another room or on the floor out of my sight. You can check up on messages/DMs/snaps during a break, but never mix your studies with your social life if you’re trying to be efficient. If you aren’t in an ideal location, plug your ears or listen to your favorite background noise with headphones.

Take advantage of your time during the day to decrease the amount of other random things you need to do at night when it’s study-time. Respond to emails, online shop, do busy work for school, work on the application, etc. Do these more mindless things before trying to squeeze in studying during the day–which actually requires brain power. So when it’s time to focus on studying, you won’t have so many little tasks to complete beforehand and waste time.

Lastly, you need to intentionally prioritize your studying. Seems intuitive, but if you don’t believe that your readings/questions/review/etc. are top priority in that time period, you will easily find distractions and reasons to do other things. You might find yourself cleaning something, constantly getting stuck on instagram, fiddling with another hobby of yours, or caught up on the phone with friends/family. So when you say the next 2 hours you are going to finish X, Y, and Z, you need you be firm and really mean that!

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Hope these tips help you next time you prep for a study session! Have a wonderful week, and Happy Valentines Day in advance!

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A day in the life: Pediatric orthopedic surgery


Here’s a practical break down of how my day has typically gone this past week in peds ortho. Over all it’s been pretty chill and I’ve seen a lot of bread-and-butter stuff from toddlers fractures to in-toeing (bow legs). We even diagnosed–and fixed–a SCFE in an overweight adolescent who came in with knee pain (classic presentation most third years would know)! The attendings in the department are great teachers too so I’ve learned a good bit. Next week I’ll still be on ortho, but will be on the shoulder team instead of peds.

5:00 alarm goes off

5:00 – 5:30 usually snoozing

5:30 thank God, say a quick prayer, finally get out of bed.. morning routine
I take showers in the evening, so getting ready in the morning is super quick.

5:45 breakfast (usually oatmeal with cinnamon, sugar, and granola)
If I’m really snoozing, I’ll end up making it at home and eating it on my way to school.

6:00-6:10 leave my apartment

6:30 morning report for orthopedic surgery department. This is where cases from the night team are reported for the day teams to be aware of. They discuss any tests/labs/therapeutics that were done for the patient and the possible management that will be necessary for the day


7:00 rounds with the peds ortho team. Really all we did on  rounds were make sure the kids could wiggle their toes and weren’t in too much pain. We would encourage them to get up and walk and use the “breathing thing” (incentive spirometry) to prevent any lung infections. Honestly, I skipped this a few times because I felt like it was a waste of time as a medical student when I could just be studying. I’m not trying to do ortho so I didn’t feel any pressure to impress them. Plus they honestly didn’t care if I was there or not!

8:30 clinic started. Rounds were usually over by 7:30 and the docs would get breakfast, do work in their offices, or do AM procedures. The days flipped for the physicians between procedures in the morning and clinic in the afternoon and vice versa. As a medical student, I could do whatever interested me most.

8:30-12:00 We’d probably see ~15 patients or so in clinic. I wasn’t expected to write notes, but I still wrote a few, just to go above and beyond.

12:00-1:00 lunch

1:00-4:00 procedures or more clinic. I’d never been in procedures where the surgeons would break full sweats. Things got intense! Reducing fractures is not for the weary.

4:00 Student lecture for all the students on their surgery rotation

5:30 gym–depending on how much I had to get done/how tired I was/when we got out of lecture

7:00 home (had to go to my sisters twice to watch my niece because she really needed to get work done)

7:00-10:30 mixture of showering, eating, and mainly studying

10:30-11:00 pack lunch, nighttime routine, leisure read til I got sleepy–then bedtime!

the little mermaid buenas noches GIF by good-night

Surgery–A pleasant surprise!

I’ve just wrapped up the first four weeks of my 8 week surgery rotation. I spent this first half doing general surgery in Albany, GA which is a rural city in south Georgia. My preceptor ended up taking a week vacation during my time there, So I got to spend a week with a surgical oncologist (who operates on cancers) in the middle of doing general.

Going into surgery, I automatically expected myself to not like it. I never really saw myself in that light. Even during OBGYN, I wasn’t really gravitating to the surgical side of things. Plus, I already had pre-conceived notions/biases as to the personalities of surgeons and how they treated people who weren’t surgeons. I developed these over time mainly from tv (don’t judge me) what I heard about other student’s experiences. I don’t know any surgeons first-hand so that’s what happened. But man when I tell you everything I thought about surgeons was knocked down! I mean I even considered becoming a surgeon–seriously. The doctor I worked for is in private practice, which means he really has control over his hours and workload. His lifestyle was fantastic (besides being on call). He doesn’t work/barely works Fridays, and his family is his main priority. He even coaches his son’s baseball team! He was so humble and gave credit to God for everything he did for people. I was so impressed. Shocked, honestly.

Outside of all that, the patient interactions we had were very compassionate. He had patients he’s been seeing for years because of their complicated gastrointestinal diseases. He knew their families because they would choose him to operate on their loved ones. He had continuity that I thought I would only see in primary care. And then the whole idea of surgery began to appeal to me. That feeling of doing something for someone, deciding when and how to intervene in order to have the best outcomes. It was awesome, so I definitely contemplated my life a few times in the last weeks. In reality though, surgery doesn’t give me the level of patient care and continuity that I want to have, and the ratio of OR/clinic time was a bit much for me. Also, the physical demands of the specialty on my body are no joke. I need to put something in my mouth every 2-3 hours otherwise I get headaches. I felt myself actually getting upset after we’d be in the OR more than 3 hours because my back, neck, and/or feet were hurting. So, logistically, I know it’s not the specialty for me. However, it did make me realize that I want to be able to do procedures in my practice, so I will set my sights on more procedure heavy family medicine programs.

They always tell you to have an open mind when going into your different rotations because you never know how you’ll like things. I see why! I’ve so far loved surgery. Now, most of why I feel this was is because I went away to a off-camus site to do this rotation, so it was just me and my preceptor–no cranky residents. Now that I’m back in Augusta, I’ll be on the orthopedics and trauma services over the next 4 weeks at the main hospital. I suspect that my current sentiments may change as I re-enter the hierarchy of the teaching hospital. But regardless, I’m keeping an open mind and hopefully will find more things to enjoy in the specialty.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

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Life in the fast lane

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Me trying to catch up with life

We’re 3 weeks in to 2018 and I already feel like my life is propelling way too fast. During first and second year it was just one day at a time, one block at a time. Last semester for the most part was just one rotation at a time. But now all of that has changed! A week into January, we had to declare our specialties to our school and got advisors in our fields to help us moving forward. I proudly declared Family Medicine, which I’ll probably go into my reasons in another post. Then 2 weeks later they opened up the portal for us to plan out our entire 4th year! We have to determine when we want to do electives, away rotations, and our core rotations for the year. It’s a tad overwhelming for someone who barely even has a list of residency programs she’s interested in. I thought that would be my first step, but nope!

In the midst of all that, I submitted my application for STEP2, which cost me $1895 (should be illegal the way people make money off of us). I’m still traumatized by STEP1 and I’m already planning for the next test, which really shouldn’t be as bad from what “they” say. Meanwhile I’m only 3/8 weeks into my surgery rotation (which I have surprisingly been loving!) and I’m just trying to get through my UWorld sets and pages of Pestana’s each night!

Ish is getting REAL y’all! Everything is snowballing. Today I’m thinking about my surgery shelf exam, tomorrow I’ll be checking my email for the notification that I matched (in Jesus name). I’m excited to keep moving forward, but a piece of me kind of wants things to slow down again so I can wrap my head around it all and feel a little more control. I just feel this sense of unpreparedness, but everyone just says that everything is going to work out so not to worry. Easier said than done if we’re being honest. I’m a medical student, it’s kind of my nature to worry.

But these are problems that I’m grateful to have. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for better problems. I’m confident that in the end, everything will indeed be just fine, even if the path from A to B doesn’t look very clear at all at the moment. In the meantime, I’m still forcing myself to take things one day at a time, because I don’t have the energy to spend on stressing myself out, especially when I serve an awesome God. *kicks feet up*


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Dear young lady watching,

I want to remind you that you were set on this earth for a purpose greater than yourself. You are not here by mistake. And the dreams and goals that lie in your heart are not there by happenstance. To reach your goals it will take an enormous amount of effort, but be confident that you are equal to the task because you have a higher power in your corner that can move mountains. You can’t give up because whether you know it or not, there is a #youngladywatching you! There will be voices in your head and doubt in your heart but you cannot let those penetrate into your destiny. Failure and rejection may come, but those things don’t determine your worth. Stay kind, remain humble, and always try to leave people better than you found them.

As a woman, and even more-so as a minority woman, you are likely to find yourself discredited, belittled, muted on your journey to and through medicine, especially within male-dominated specialties. You may not look like the majority of your classmates,  professors, or preceptors, but know you are not alone! You may, like me, find yourself sitting in an operating room lounge surrounded by white male surgeons who move around like you don’t exist. The desire to pursue a highly competitive specialty may be met with skepticism. People will doubt your abilities and judge you simply by the way you look. But it’s important to know again that you are not alone. There are women going before you, and with you, reminding you that all things are possible for those who work hard and believe. I serve as an example of one, and I hope that just my presence and journey through medicine will inspire another young lady to choose medicine and stick with it.

  • 22% of academic medicine professors are women.
  • Women make up 22% of surgeons in the US.
  • African-American women make up 4% of physicians in the US.
  • African-American women make up 2-5% of surgeons in the US.

The path to medicine, though arduous, culminates into the most noble and rewarding profession. And there’s a lot of maturation that has to take place before I’m even worthy of those two little letters behind my name. I’ve grown so much in just two and a half years of medical school, and I look forward to more challenges and failures, but also more wisdom and success. The best thing is that I’ve learned to put my wellbeing first and actually enjoy this crazy ride, and I encourage you to do the same.


This post was inspired by two family medicine physicians Dr. Lauren Powell and Dr. Kristamarie Collman who recently began the #youngladywatching movement on Instagram to empower women in medicine. I’m the young lady looking up to them and I wanted to uplift those watching me. Search the hashtag to find more inspiring stories!