What in your educational experience and training stood out to you, and what advice would you share with students who are in that position now?
During my time in medical school at Marshall, the atmosphere felt like a "family." The expectations were high and the path ahead was challenging, but I knew to accomplish my dream, I just had to plow through. Doing that with support, both at school and at home, from my amazing family and friends made it as doable as possible.
Fast forward to my residency training at WVU, I found another "family" that continues to be my work family to this day. The training I received at WVU was second to none and the way in which I have been supported by my faculty and peer colleagues and our departmental leadership of WVU Emergency Medicine is something I will be forever grateful for. Now it's my turn to give back to others in all the ways I was supported on my journey.
For students chasing this same dream to be a physician -- the sacrifice is great, but worth it. Nothing good comes easy, and if you are pursuing medicine for the right reasons, the rewards you will receive through a life long career in medicine will far outweigh the early sacrifice and cost. Don't give up, be willing to work hard, know who your greatest support system is and turn to them often. Most importantly, don't forget who you are outside of your career in medicine and what you mean to those most important to you in your life.
Why did you choose your field? Does it have any special significance for West Virginia?
Emergency medicine was always on my mind, even before I entered medical school. I had done some shadowing in my hometown of Braxton County during undergrad, and became acquainted with how important emergency services were to patients in need in my hometown.
During medical school, I liked a bit of all the specialities I was exposed to, thus emergency medicine ultimately came to the top of the list -- due in large part to my medical school mentor, Dr. Mitch Charles, and the experiences he let me be a part of in the emergency department.
Emergency medicine providers provide care, without scrutiny, to anyone in need, 24/7/365. While it's a challenging job, not knowing what to expect, and having to be ready to respond to anything in the blink of an eye, it truly is an honor to be able to help patients and their families during their most vulnerable moments. Being able to serve the patients of my home state of West Virginia makes it all the more humbling and rewarding.
How would you describe your day-to-day to a class of middle schoolers?
In my particular role in academic emergency medicine, my day to day changes a lot. Some days, I am working in the emergency department taking care of sick and injured patients of all ages, while other days I am in meetings and guiding residents one-on-one.
Why did you choose to come work for West Virginia University?
As a fourth-year emergency medicine bound medical student, I did a visiting rotation at WVU. I was immediately drawn to the town, the institution and the members of the Department of Emergency Medicine. I knew right away that I wanted to train and work "at home."
What’s the best thing about doing what you do?
Clinically, I like the variety in emergency medicine. Administratively, being able to guide residents in EM through their three-year-long training and see the successes they achieve is the most rewarding!
What are your aspirations while at WVU?
At this stage in my career, it's all about giving back, making others better and enjoying the moment. I hope to remain at WVU for the rest of my career and hope to have continued opportunities to be involved in leadership and strategic planning.
What honors/awards/accolades stand out to you in your career?
The most meaningful awards are those "thank yous" and positive words about their residency training that come from my residents, during their training and beyond. Having even a small part to do with their training and success is the most rewarding.
How would you describe the culture of your program?
We have a servant leadership style and selfless attitudes. We're family-like and maintain a supportive atmosphere that's full of integrity with diligent work ethics.
Tell us something unique about you that others may not know.
Although I enjoy the finer things in life, I grew up a country girl and still have those roots! I married my kindergarten sweetheart. I love cooking, entertaining and traveling!