Tell us about which medical school you attended and why it made the top of your list:
While applying to medical schools, I was living in Rochester and SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine (now Jacobs School of Medicine) was both close and affordable. The medical school is well-known and was a great fit.
Where did you complete your residency?
I completed my residency training at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Being a born and bred Yankee, I lived my entire life in the northeast and had every intention of staying up there. I only applied to UNC because my medical clerkship director and program director both had graduated from there and encouraged me to “branch out.” It was probably 4 states further south than any other program I applied to, but when I went on my interview, I immediately fell in love with the area as well as the southern culture. It was an amazing 3 years that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
I was always interested in the sciences. I loved biology and chemistry in high school and went on to be a chemistry major in college. However, I realized about halfway through college that I did not want to work with chemicals or behind a bench, I wanted to work with people. During my senior year, I fell into a job as a medical scribe in the emergency department at Rochester General Hospital. It was there that I realized I wanted to become a doctor, and not just any doctor; I wanted to be an emergency medicine physician.
What about becoming a physician was attractive?
This career path ties together my love of science to having a constant human connection – it is the perfect fit for me.
How did you choose Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
Being a medical scribe in the ER gave me my first true experience in medicine and loved it. I tried to keep an open mind while in medical school but was always drawn back to emergency medicine. Worried I would have become bored if I had gone into one specific specialty, I enjoy being a “jack of all trades” and knowing a lot about multiple aspects of medicine. Additionally, shift work also fits my lifestyle and mindset because being able to put my all into my work while there but leaving it at work once my shift ends, is ideal. I think my family appreciates that too!
What do you enjoy most about your day to day practice?
Not knowing exactly what I will encounter during each shift keeps me on my toes and brings excitement to each day. I also enjoy the immediate results you see in emergency medicine. There is something to be said about someone rolling into the ER on a stretcher an inch from death and working with them to figure out the problem and then watching them walk out the door a few hours later that is completely gratifying.
What led you to practice with MEMA?
MEMA checked all the boxes for me as I was looking for an ideal group to call “home”. I wanted to stay in North Carolina, preferably in the Charlotte area, and MEMA came highly recommended by many at UNC/WEPPA with a fantastic reputation. I also preferred their democratic group model over others, such as independent contracting. I am very excited to be joining the MEMA family!
Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you?
I recently took care of an elderly lady with dementia who ended up having pneumonia and needed to come into the hospital. She was sick but stable, I called her husband to update him as we were not allowing visitors and I could tell he was extremely nervous and worried. I tried to comfort him as best I could over the phone and I’ll never forget when he said, “Just make sure you take care of her, she’s all I’ve got and we’ve been together for 50 years.” Moments like that make you pause and remember just how important our jobs truly are.
What are some of the biggest challenges of your practice, for a clinician practicing in the emergency department?
I think time management is key in the ER. You are usually juggling multiple patients at one time and a big part of my job is also making sure that the department continues to move. No one wants to be in the waiting room for large amounts of time when they feel like they have a medical emergency, so it’s a balance of delivering really good care while also seeing as many patients as I’m able to. There are times when you do not have all the resources or space you would like, and you must get creative and problem-solve. That can be stressful but it’s also part of the fun.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
I am a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians (NCCEP), and the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS).
Share with us more about your Friends of the Night People Clinic experience in Buffalo.
FONP is a student-run medical clinic run out of a soup kitchen a few times per week in Buffalo, NY. I spent a year as one of the student coordinators. It was a very cool experience and an eye-opening one. The patient population is essentially all uninsured and many undomiciled, so we acted as a mini urgent care as well as their basic primary care physician.
Have you received any awards or been recognized from your peers? If so, tell us about it!
Just this past year, I received the “Manning Award”. Named after Jim Manning who was a great physician at UNC for many years and a pioneer in emergency medicine, specifically critical care and procedures. This award is given to a graduating 3rd-year resident who has performed a “heroic procedure”. Mine was for performing a pericardiocentesis on an extremely sick patient during my 2nd year. It is certainly not an everyday procedure and it is something that I’m very proud to have been able to do. A bonus is that the award is a sword!
What was your dream job when you were a child?
Oh man, I don’t know, I think I wanted to be a professional athlete, either baseball or soccer. Reality set in pretty fast…but I’m always keeping my eye out for that open tryout!
What about Charlotte excites you?
Charlotte is such a fast-growing city, but it doesn’t have the metropolis feel of say a NYC or Chicago. I like the different pockets it has as there is a good variety of culture and places to explore. It is also not too far from the mountains or the beach and there are lots of areas to mountain bike and hike which I am excited about.
Do you have any hobbies, interests, secret powers that are unique to you?
I like to be outside as much as possible; I have always enjoyed playing multiple sports since I was young but I’m starting to get into both mountain biking and mountain climbing. No secret powers for me, just your regular old Clark Kent.