Resident Spotlight

Memoirs of West Sub by Chalonda Handy

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital?
I am most inspired by the ability to work within diverse teams purposed towards improving clinical outcomes for patients in the hope of giving them the opportunity to have an enhanced quality of life. I wholeheartedly understand the significance of second chances and the ability to live out my dreams. Medicine is a second career for me and I’m just getting started! Being able to promote health in ways that will enable others to get their second, third or however many chances they need to live out their goals and aspirations is paramount. Everyday I’m inspired to work in ways that improve the quality of life for my patients.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far?
My biggest sacrifices have been being away from my family and walking away from a company I started in order to pursue medicine. I have no regrets, but some days, it’s hard.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians?
Compassionate, empathetic physicians impress me. People who are able to look beyond medicine, the numbers, the data, their biases and treat patients in a compassionate and caring way are those who I’ve always wanted to learn from. Being smart in medicine becomes expected. Competency often fosters complacency, but the compassionate physician is to be admired.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency?
I wish I knew how hard it is to change the culture. Though Internal Medicine is a three-year program, even as the guard changes year to year, the old habits of the program remain.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year?
Finding time to study and work out.

What is the key to making the best of this Residency program?
Lean into your support system. Find ways to bridge gaps and create partnerships with fellow residents, ancillary staff, attendings, security, you name it. See residency and medicine as a team sport. Learn to work well with others despite the challenges of being at a resource starved institution and have fun.

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into?
Good shoes.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“It is ok to say when you are not ok.”

AREA

How would I describe Oak Park?
A diverse neighborhood where the food is good and the parking is terrible.

What neighborhood do I live in?
I live in Forest Park.

How do I cope with sleep deprivation?
I’ve always been a short sleeper so sleep for me has never really come easy. I know how to lie down when I need to, even if it is just to rest. Sleep deprivation has probably been a lifelong battle for me.

City life or suburb life?
Suburb life.

Staying in or going out?
Staying in.

Cubs or White Sox?
SEC football.

What’s on my bucket list?
Replace my Dad’s vehicle I totaled as a teenager when I used to race cars.

Bad habit?
Loud rap music, I will rattle a parking lot! No shame.

If I am not working...
I spend my free time at Costco and Sam’s Club.

A fun fact about me:
I love cast iron skillets and experimenting in bread making.

Memoirs of West Sub by Don Teed

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital?
The near unconditional support from colleagues, staff and attendings during extremely difficult clinical situations.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far?
Being away from my kids.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians?
Persistent effort towards improving one's knowledge and skills.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency?
Attitude is everything. No one cares what you know or how skilled you are if you are unpleasant to work with.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year?
Discerning relevant from irrelevant information.

What is the key to making the best of this Residency program?
Know your role and constantly seek to be better at it.

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into?
Pocket Medicine.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Let go.

AREA

How would I describe Oak Park?
I can't really comment, I honestly have not seen any more of Oak Park besides the drive in and out.

What neighborhood do I live in?
North Chicago, Albany Park.

How do I cope with sleep deprivation?
Morning caffeine bolus with supplemental maintenance infusion PRN, titrate to mild tremor.

City life or suburb life?
City, but I feel like I am obligated to say suburb now that I have kids.

Staying in or going out?
In.

Cubs or White Sox?
From Minnesota, I couldn't care less.

What’s on my bucket list?
To write a book.

Bad habit?
Caffeine dependence.

If I am not working...
At home trying to be of service to my wife and 3 kids.

A fun fact about me:
I was the starting point guard for the University of Birmingham Basketball team in England for the 2003-04 season.

Memoirs of West Sub by Salma Ferouz

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital?
I admire the overwhelming kindness that I receive from my patients especially during their weakest moments. That gives me the strength to carry on and do the best for them and my colleagues even when I may not be at my best. They manage to put a smile on my face despite being at their lowest. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for meeting and interacting with new people, as much as they learn from me, I learn from them. It is truly an inspirational experience.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far?
I miss my family and cats; they are in Guyana. However, I know they are all proud and supportive of my accomplishments, and that makes it all worthwhile. I have them and God to thank for being here, they are my biggest fans (:

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians?
Being Compassionate, Caring and Communicative.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency?
Time flies! Spend more time with your colleagues and enjoy residency to the fullest. It truly has been some of the best years, I’ve learnt and grown so much as a person, I’m more confident in my personal and professional life thanks to residency.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year?
Time management and determining priorities. As time goes by, you learn how to be efficient, and like everyone else, still learning and working on myself every step of the way.

What is the key to making the best of this Residency program?
Be an active learner, get in the habit of looking things up even if you already know it. Medicine is always changing, and a refresher never hurts. This is the time to learn and explore the wonders of medicine so don’t be too hard on yourself. We don’t know everything, and residency is all about learning to better humans and doctors!

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into?
Comfortable shoes, I’ve gone through like 4 pairs already!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“Do not log into the EMR on your day off, just disconnect and enjoy it” :D

AREA

How would I describe Oak Park?
I absolutely love Oak Park; I am spending my 3 years here at the same place. Downtown Oak Park is such a fun spot with cafes and restaurants, I go there just to take walks when I’m bored.

What neighborhood do I live in?
I decided to live right next to work, I’m literally a 5-minute walk away from the hospital, it’s the best decision I’ve made! Despite this, I’m still not very punctual, don’t tell Dr. Y (;

How do I cope with sleep deprivation?
Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee. Sleeping in late on my days off.

City life or suburb life?
Best of both worlds, thankfully, Oak Park is right next to the City so I’m living the dream.

Staying in or going out?
50/50, I suffer from FOMO if I’m at home too much but I also have a hard time getting off my couch.

Cubs or White Sox?
Whoever is winning :D

What’s on my bucket list?
More inter-state traveling and road trips!

Bad habit?
Excess coffee consumption

If I am not working...
I'm sleeping or convincing myself to go to the gym :D

A fun fact about me:
I was born and raised in Guyana (:

Memoirs of West Sub by Patrick Smith

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital?
The first code I ever ran was for a patient I wasn't taking care of, I just happened to be walking by when a nurse called out for help, and we were able to regain pulses and the patient was able to return back home on discharge. It was inspiring to see how relying on our training and working together as a team, we were able to help this patient recover from impending death and leave the hospital under their own strength.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far?
​The biggest sacrifice I have made is moving away from my family with limited opportunities to visit them. I grew up in California and most of my family still resides in my hometown, but I knew that part of embarking on a career in healthcare meant there would be unpredictable destinations my pursuits would take me.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians?
Dedication. The best physicians are very dedicated--they always know so much about their patients so there are no oversights, and they are able to continuously increase their medical knowledge by reviewing topics or reading journals to learn the latest research being published.

What’s one thing I wish I knew before starting residency?
​I wish I knew the schedule that best works for me to feed myself and exercise regularly even when time is limited. I am always trying to improve my time management, but I wish I started residency knowing that I'm too tired to work out in the evenings after work and need to work out in the mornings.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year?
​The most difficult thing during intern year was trying to figure out how to manage my time in order to get my work done each day, take care of chores at home, and maintain a social life while working 60-70 hour weeks. Hours were long in medical school, but always felt more flexible than those during residency, so learning how to get stuff done while tired has been essential.

What is the key to making the best of this residency program?
​The key to making the best of this residency program is to not wait. Don't wait for someone to teach you about a topic or teach you a skill. Don't wait for someone to show you something cool. Don't wait for someone to tell you how you can grow. Be on the lookout for opportunities to expand your experiences and knowledge and jump on them when they arise.

What is one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into?
​Black-out blinds, and possibly a white noise machine. You will work nights. You will need to sleep during the day. You will quickly find it unsustainable if you cannot sleep during the day. Don't wait until that point to try to fix the problem, trust me.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
​Figure out how to maintain work-life balance during residency. The workload doesn't get lighter when you graduate, so find a schedule that is sustainable and that you can do for years.

AREA

How would I describe Oak Park?
Oak Park is a pretty diverse and busy suburb with lots of shopping and dining in the center, and quiet suburban neighborhoods on the outskirts. It's got most things you'd want and is a 20-minute drive from everything downtown.

What neighborhood do I live in?
I live in River West, a little north-west of downtown Chicago, or "the loop." My fiancée is a Resident at Rush Medical Center and living where we do allows the shortest commutes for both of us.

How do I cope with sleep deprivation?
I prioritize tasks for times in the day. Working out and reading journal articles happens in the morning before work. After work, I'll finish remaining work-related tasks and then take care of chores at home like laundry or cleaning dishes, because these don't require brainpower. Residency is tiring, so I've adapted my habits knowing I can't always escape sleep deprivation.

City life or suburb life?
Both? Again, I live just outside of downtown, so I don't exactly live in the city or in the suburbs. If I had to choose one during residency, I would choose to live in the city to make it easier to explore Chicago when I go home after work.

Staying in or going out?
Again, both? I love staying in and having a game night with friends or watching TV at home with my fiancée and dog, but I likewise enjoy going out and exploring different sights, sounds, and flavors in the area.

Cubs or White Sox?
Cubs. I went to college with Kris Bryant, the all-star 3rd baseman for the Cubs, and enjoyed watching our college team from my dorm room when I didn't have time to sit in the bleachers, so I have to side with my fellow San Diego Torero.

What’s on my bucket list?
Scuba diving around the Great Barrier Reef, especially before bleaching events destroy too much of it.

Bad habit?
A bad habit I have is neglecting dishes in the kitchen. I leave them soaking in the sink, but then forget to finish cleaning them while I'm running around doing other things.

If I am not working...
I'm at home petting my dog on the couch with my fiancée or occasionally going out to get food and drinks with friends.

A fun fact about me:
I grew up participating in a variety of unique activities. Aside from playing many sports, including snowboarding and wakeboarding, I grew up flying my dad's 4-seat plane, riding motorbikes, and helping my stepdad with a variety of construction projects. I even participated in a "circus arts" program at my school for a couple summers where we practiced things like juggling a variety of objects (no knives or flaming clubs, sadly), spinning plates, and walking on stilts.