Resident Spotlight

Memoirs of West Sub by Kirubel Herano

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? Diversity and supportive work environment! This is a program where diversity is combined with a refreshing camaraderie. As an IMG, working in a diverse and supportive environment is a very important factor for me. It is like a fortune for me to be here and express my passion where attendings, residents and hospital staff are so diverse. The program also cares about the residents’ wellbeing and future as well. Everyone is supportive and there is a great deal of teamwork going on here, I love coming to work and I feel like I am home when I am at work.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? I have a 5 year old son and a lovely wife, I wish I could spend every minute of my life with them…just a euphoria that evaporates when I realize that I am still a resident doing chest compressions in the middle of the night in ICU. Balancing my family life and personal responsibilities with the challenges of residency has taught me the character required to be a father and a doctor.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? A physician whose actions are in concordance with the following William Osler’s words ‘The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head. The practice of medicine is an art, based on science’.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency? I don’t remember, but whatever it is, I am sure I have learned it during my residency. Residency is full of resources as long as we are open to learn. We always learn about new dimensions of life and disease process from attendings, colleagues and patients.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? As an IMG, coping with the new EMR, health system and culture was the biggest challenge to me. Having helpful team members in addition to being a fast learner and hard worker helped me catch up. I also struggled with time management and prioritizing tasks.

What is the key to making the best of this Residency program? Do not go home without learning something new! Be Nice, be positive, and always Smile!

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into? Buy OTC meds and store in your locker room. Tylenol, Dayquil, Benadryl, Pepcid, tums, and Nexium.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? “Be evidence-based, what you read is more important than what you hear.”

AREA –

How would I describe Oak Park? Diverse and Safe.

What neighborhood do I live in? I live in Lombard, a few miles from Oak Park. I love the urban feel of Oak Park and enjoy the restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

How do I cope with sleep deprivation? Coffee!!!! I never leave home without having coffee. I make my own special coffee at home, very concentrated with about 200 mg of caffeine per cup.

City life or Suburb life? Suburb life! I love the lifestyle, and it is better to raise family.

Staying in or going out? Staying in, everyone knows. Spend most of my time with my family.

Cubs or White Sox? Cubs if I have to choose.

What’s on my bucket list? Advancing in my Guitar skills, Taekwondo, and so much more.

Bad Habit –I hesitate to ask for help, always spend some time to solve things by myself.

If I am not working –I am spending time with family.

A fun fact about me –Play acoustic guitar, but a friend told me I don’t look like one. What does a guitarist look like? I love cooking spicy Ethiopian food.

Memoirs of West Sub by Ambreen Aslam

Memoirs- Ambreen AslamWhat was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital?  I am most inspired by the Camaraderie between residents at West Suburban! Residents are always there to support you despite the level of struggle. Faculty at West Suburban wholeheartedly support their residents and are always enthusiastic about teaching. Employees here consist of diverse group of people who are always working together to make things happen. Your good work is always appreciated here. West Suburban fosters very friendly environment for their employees and always makes coming to work fun and fulfilling.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? Spending time away from my family, especially my husband who has thoroughly supported me in this journey…

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? Being an educator to your patients. Every doctor can look at labs and document it in their notes, but its takes a great physician to interpret those labs and spend an extra minute to discuss the significance of those labs with their patients.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency? Every document you sign is a legal document so be cautious! Also, time flies by quickly, so make the most out of your everyday at work.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? Time management and triaging what’s important between answering the page to finishing up notes. But it all comes with time, so nothing to worry about. I’m still learning myself.

What is the key to making the best of this Residency program? Be curious about everything you see and ask questions. Act like a sponge and absorb as much information as you can. Lastly, embrace critique because that will introduce you to things that can be worked on and can potentially benefit others.

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into? Comfortable shoes for those long days/nights

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? “It is ok not to know everything”

AREA –

How would I describe Oak Park? It’s busy but safe community with lots of options for food and with great access to public transportation.

What neighborhood do I live in? I’m from one of the southwest suburbs of Chicago – North Aurora but have heard a lot about fun summertime activities in Oak Park.

How do I cope with sleep deprivation? The reward of seeing my patients improve. My desire to come to work supersedes my exhaustion from sleep deprivation.

City life or Suburb life? Suburb life

Staying in or going out? Staying in. I love being a Couch Potato

Cubs or White Sox? I’m not a sport person, I’ll leave it at that.

What’s on my bucket list? A trip to Europe and Greece.

Bad Habit? I can’t give up sugar!!!

If I am not working – Sleeping or running errands.

A fun fact about me – I love to sing.

Memoirs of West Sub by Keith Rogers

Memoirs-Keith RogersMost inspirational thing seen at WSMC: The camaraderie. Whether it’s co-residents, attendings or administration, fun events outside the hospital or your toughest ICU shift, there’s always someone there. The family-like atmosphere was something our residency takes pride in and it’s certainly been a key factor in making my time here enjoyable.

Biggest sacrifice: Time and location. Medical school and residency have moved me all over and having to miss out on special events for friends and family is just an unfortunate part of the job description.

Trait admire about a physician: I’ve always admired physicians who take the time to work with patients despite attitude. Not all patients are respectful or compliant, but an attending who keeps their cool and tries to work with those patients is how I aspire to practice in my career.

One thing I wish I knew before starting: Simple is better when it comes to documentation. A super long note doesn’t mean it’s better, just keep it clear-cut and concise to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Most difficult thing as an intern: Stress management. Even if everything goes perfectly, working long shifts back to back takes it toll, and changing your life around to fit your new, always changing schedule takes some getting used to.

Key to making the best of residency: Maintain an outside hobby. Getting away from medicine for a little bit each day ensures when you get to work you’re ready to put in 100% and maximize your productivity.

One item essential: A comfortable pair of scrubs with enough pockets.

Best advice: “Be kind and respect the nursing and ancillary staff and your job becomes infinitely easier.”

Describe Oak Park: The perfect mix of city and suburb. It’s always easy to find something going on or just enjoy a quite walk through the park.

Where do I live: Downtown Oak Park, so I have a minimal commute but can walk out my door to the restaurants and shops.

Coping with sleep deprivation: I rely on coffee when getting through the long hours at work, but when at home, black-out curtains are a miracle to catch those few hours of sleep any time I need them.

City or suburb: Suburb to call home, but I’m always up for exploring a big city.

Stay in or go out: Go out, although I’m a sucker for a good house party.

Cubs or White Sox: I prefer my “Sox” to be red.

Bucket list: Snowboarding in Japan

Bad habit: Spoiling my puppy, I just can’t say no.

If I’m not working: Out hiking/backpacking enjoying nature or on my couch with a good movie or video game.

Fun fact: I got my first job when I was 7 working on a llama farm.

Memoirs of West Sub by Alberto Degiovanni

Memoirs-Alberto DegiovanniWhat was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? I am most inspired by the compassion and commitment to care for our diverse patient population at West Suburban Medical Center. We come to work in a diverse and under-served community and the residents, physicians, nurses, and hospital staff are fully committed to our patients. Our staff, including residents, are diverse as well and our differences are celebrated openly, we even have a “World Fair” event where the conference room is full of booths with ethnic food made by peers and coworkers. Needless to say, whatever your background, orientation, religion, patient, employee, visitor etc. you name it, you feel welcome at West Suburban Medical Center as soon as you step through the door.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? There will be some events you will have to miss, sleep while on night shift you will not get, trips you may have to postpone until after residency. But trust me, being a resident physician, you get so much more back and the experience is worth the sacrifice.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? I admire physicians who listen. The ones who hear what the patient is saying when the patient feels like they are not being heard. These physician ask, “what makes you feel afraid right now?” to an upset patient and the mood in the room will de-escalate to allow the patient to share emotional or sensitive information otherwise missed, which is important in the patient-doctor shared decision making process.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency? When you are a medical student you are a learner of medicine. When you start residency, you become a different learner, you are learning to become a doctor of people. Your books are the attendings, nurses, therapists, and the patients. You will learn to treat a person, not just the disease they are facing. When you treat a disease, you will be successful some of the time, but when you care for a person, you will always win.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? I struggled the most with getting my progress notes in the chart at an appropriate time. I was convinced I should hold on to the note until I was able to include all the updates that occurred during the day. This kept happening until I was told it was alright to add an “addendum” to any progress note.

What is the key to making the best of this Residency program? Come with an open mind. Welcome advice from your preceptors, nurses, therapists, and peers and be a team player. Be receptive of criticism and realize it is all a part of your learner journey to grow into the attending you want to be.

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into? Good walking shoes, or a comfortable orthotic. I mean it! You will be walking and on your feet a lot.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Advice on remembering to take care of myself throughout residency. During intern year I worked with a resident who reminded me to carry a water bottle, one day she even asked me how much water I drank throughout the shift. At first, I thought she was joking around, but in reality, her message was to not get so tangled up with work that you neglect your health. On occasion you may be busy and have a small meal or realize, “is the only fluid I drank today my morning coffee?” Try to not make this the normal, remind yourself that you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Schedule a two-minute water and bathroom break, or a moment to sit down away from a computer to eat a sandwich. You will realize you get more energy and mental clarity to finish your tasks for the day! On that note, some advice I would like to share with you. 1) Eat healthy. You may not always have time or desire to cook when you return home. Consider starting a meal prep or take advantage of healthy meal delivery services. 2) Have a passion/interest outside of work. Something to remind you that first, you are a person. This will not only help you de-stress (exercise, cooking, reading, gardening, catching up on the news, movies etc.) but will help you relate to your coworkers and patients as a person. Our ICU attending once paused our rounding to remind us to “find balance” in life, we work hard, so we should play hard too. Take that extra Spin/yoga class, a field trip outside the city to one of the state parks to hike, or even a nap when you get the chance. 3) Smile. You will have plenty of serious moments, that is the nature of our job sometimes, but outside of that setting remember that smiling elevates your mood and creates a sense of well-being. You will also be more approachable by everyone you work with!

How would I describe Oak Park? Quaint. Diverse. Somewhere you can spend the day being a tourist if you wish. There are plenty of coffee shops without the city rush feel you can spend an entire afternoon reading in. Take a couple of hours and tour the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio, it is quite impressive to have this and a lot of other interesting places essentially in our hospital’s backyard.

What neighborhood do I live in? I’ve lived in Wicker Park and currently live in the South loop.

How do I cope with sleep deprivation? Ironically, I am writing this during my night shift month. The timing of your coffee is important, not at the beginning of your shift because that’s when you have most energy, but not too close to the end because you won’t be able to sleep after your shift. You have to find the right time in the middle of the shift. Power naps are also helpful. I make these last 30-45 minutes, anything longer and I feel groggy.

City life or Suburb life? City life. I like the convenience of having everything at walking distance.

Staying in or going out? Staying in, unless it’s a pizza night.

What’s on my bucket list? Spain, Thailand, Brasil and Germany are a few.

Bad Habit – When I work night shift I defer all chores. The dishes pile up, the laundry basket is full, etc. I can’t seem to find the motivation to tidy up during night shift.

If I am not working – I am exploring Chicago on my bike, going to gastropubs/restaurants on my list, going to a CrossFit class, reading nonfiction, catching up on my favorite shows.

A fun fact about me – My native language is Italian. I am fluent in Spanish. I’m learning French at the moment.