For Medical school, you attended the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Tell us about why it made the top of your list:
I grew up in Concord and knew I wanted to stay in North Carolina once I finished school. Brody’s program provided a variety of pathology in combination with being very affordable which allowed me to pursue my passions in medicine. In turn, I have been able to choose a job where I am happy instead of finding a job solely to support my school debts.
You completed your residency at the Prisma Health Midlands, please share with us how/why you end up choosing that location?
Initially, I was looking for a program that provided a longitudinal pediatric experience and excellent trauma training. However, I also wanted to complete an EMS Fellowship, so the EMS subspeciality track at Prisma Health Midlands was very attractive. This track allowed me to decrease my clinical load and dedicate time to EMS. The residency training prepared me well for my EMS Fellowship, which I completed at Wake Forest Baptist Health during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
My father, a Neurosurgeon, unfortunately died during a heroic act when I was only two years old. My mom kept many of his things in our attic including spine models, a stethoscope, etc., and at a young age, I was always intrigued and wanted to learn more. As I grew and learned, I was initially unsure if I wanted to go into medicine, so I decided to enroll in an EMT course during my second semester at UNC Chapel Hill (GO HEELS) to test the waters. I loved it and the rest is history.
What about becoming a physician was attractive?
Science was always my favorite class growing up, so it made sense to go into something that was my favorite subject to learn. As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to help people. My mom also kept many letters from my father’s patients and their families thanking him for what he had done for them and there was even a newspaper article describing a surgery my father performed to give a little boy the ability to walk again. This all inspired me to become a physician so I too can help people on their most vulnerable days.
How did you choose Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
As a child, I always pictured a doctor as someone who could help someone in need right then and there. I wanted to be the physician who could pass the “airplane test” (i.e., help during an in-flight medical emergency). Emergency Medicine seemed like the perfect specialty for this, so I started working as an EMT in college and LOVED it. I enjoyed the instant gratification of helping the paramedic stabilize a patient. However, I did find myself wondering what happened to the patient in the Emergency Department after we dropped them off, so I started volunteering and shadowing in the ED. I chose Emergency Medicine because it is fast-paced and always keeps me on my toes because I never know what is coming in next.
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day practice?
I love that every shift is different, and I see and learn new things every day. We treat a broad spectrum of presentations and illnesses. I also appreciate working in teams and forming relationships with my colleagues as working with people you like makes work feel less like work.
What led you to practice with MEMA? How long have you been with MEMA?
I can’t wait to start with MEMA in July 2022. I chose MEMA because of the unique opportunity to join a democratic group, EMS opportunities, and supportive co-workers and specialists. My cousin, a PA-C with MEMA, has nothing but great things to say about the organization.
Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you?
Many cases stick with me for different reasons. It is often patients who have poor outcomes that could have been prevented with early access to healthcare that I often recall. However, during the start of COVID-19 pandemic, I made the difficult decision to intubate a relatively healthy 60-year-old woman with COVID-19, knowing she probably would not make it off the ventilator. I thought to myself “this could be my mom.” Despite it being loud and worrying that her oxygen saturations would worsen prior to intubation, I ensured she was able to speak with her family prior to intubation. Eventually, she was one of the few patients with COVID-19 that made it off the ventilator, which was exciting during such a disheartening time and something that I will always remember.
What are some of the biggest challenges of your practice, for a clinician practicing in the emergency department?
Compassion fatigue. We do not discuss this often enough, but Emergency Physicians aren’t perfect. While we all share the common goal of taking great care of patients, it can be hard for us to listen and empathize with patient number 20 of the day. Recognizing this, I try to give patient number 20 the same excellent care that I gave to patient number 1 of the day.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
I am a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP).
Have you received any awards or been recognized from your peers? If so, tell us about it!
I received the Emergency Medicine Achievement Award my last year of medical school. This is awarded each year to a student who is going into Emergency Medicine and excelled during the rotation. The award is based on objective grades, clinical acumen, and faculty input.
What was your dream job when you were a child?
I wanted to be a professional gymnast.
What about Charlotte excites you?
Charlotte has amazing food, craft beer, and having family/friends nearby is a huge win.
Do you have any Hobbies, interests, or secret powers that are unique to you?
Unfortunately, no secret powers have revealed themselves yet. I love to play tennis, hang out with my dog, Franklin, cook, travel, and check out new food spots. I also look forward to raising chickens and growing a garden at my new house in Charlotte now that I’m finally done with training.