Outgoing PGY-2, Family Medicine, Outgoing Chief Resident
Incoming PGY-3, Care of the Elderly
1) What is your favourite thing about working as a member of the medical team here at the Ottawa Hospital?
As a Family Medicine resident, it’s a tremendous privilege to be able to work with residents, staff physicians, and allied health workers from all different departments and divisions across the hospital. It’s a joy to work with a team of amazing individuals on one rotation, and to then find yourself calling those same great people for guidance or support while you’re off providing care on another service. Those moments serve as powerful reminders that we’re all part of the same community of care, which is sometimes easy to forget in our too often siloed system.
2) What are you most looking forward to about becoming a staff physician and what are you most nervous about?
I decided to stick around for an extra year of training to avoid becoming a staff just yet! I’m looking forward to starting my PGY3 Enhanced Skills year in Care of the Elderly and hopefully to developing an EMR-based tool that will help primary care physicians establish and maintain an organized, efficient, evidence-based approach to care of their older adult patients.
3) What inspired you to get into medicine and your chosen speciality?
I came to medicine late in life, several years into a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in New York City. I was studying illness narratives and realized gradually that rather than writing about these stories I wanted to work with and support the individuals who were living them. Though it took me forever to decide on my path, Family Medicine made perfect sense for me: perhaps more than any other specialty, Family Medicine demands and rewards attentive listening to the stories patients tell about themselves.
4) What message do you wish to share with patients and their families during these times of uncertainty?
Now more than ever, it’s time to reflect on what’s most important and meaningful in our lives. We need to nurture our connections and tend to our intimate relationships. But we also need to take pause to identify what forms of privilege shape the lives we and those we love enjoy, and to look up and outside of our own circles to ask how we can redistribute that privilege in support of those seeking better, safer, more just opportunities within this world. And then we need to act on those findings. While my student loans are on hold, I’m giving my monthly payments to the Ottawa Food Bank and charities involved in addressing anti-black and anti-indigenous racism in Canada. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward at a time when I’m enjoying a stable paycheque for doing a job I adore.
5) What are you doing to take care of yourself (i.e. hobbies, self-care) during the time of Covid-19?
I’m a pretty voracious reader, but early on in the pandemic it was tough to find the focus to stick with anything longer than a tweet, so I allowed myself the luxury of returning to beloved old TV series like The Office and The West Wing. Recently my concentration has improved, and I’m working my way through novels and literary non-fiction again. My cats and ever growing collection of house plants keep me grounded between physically distanced outings with friends and family. I also see a phenomenal therapist, whose care has helped me not just survive but grow throughout this strange experience. And Ryan Huffington’s Instagram dance classes legitimately saved me from my darkest moments during the first couple of months of the lockdown.