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Dr. Kat Ogle () discusses her less than traditional journey into parenthood in "Unplanned Parenting."







Dr. Sophia Khan just finished her first official surgery at South East hospital as faculty! To honor the occasion, she was able to take the surgery lamp bulb home as a momentum 💡✨ we are so happy to have her join the team!

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Dr. Annie Slater () shares her 7 Tips for finding balance as a 5. Create and enforce boundaries.⁠




I learned some useful tips on the Advanced Paediatric Emergency Care pre-course . I hope the panel seek some female representation for the next pre- course at EUSEM 2020. – at Kongresové centrum Praha




Sometimes we like to sit down, smile and think about how great it is to be living (or pursuing) our dreams - being able to wear super comfy scrubs everyday is just a perk. 😉 📷: @medwithmarie




Are you in medical school or heading to medical school and wondering what to expect? Dr. Erin Carlquist () discusses being a woman in medical school and how to thrive as a medical student!






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Doctor Sora delivered a highly engaging, scientific (medical) and insightful session about women and health (theme is take care of you!). Look up Yentl Syndrome: a deadly Data bias against women.




Student Doctor Briana Ruiz Christophers () shares 9 tips for Taking Care of Yourself while in : 2. Do some soul-searching before you start.⁠







Lara Francisco PA-C the founder of Medelita shares why you should consider a career as a Physician Assistant.⁠




WIMS Media Subcommittee group preparing for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Women Faculty of taking place TOMORROW Oct 16 from 5-7pm at Ross Hospital Auditorium. Join us to hear the status of & at the College!




Have you heard of the Smile Score: Sleep Enough⁠ Move My Body⁠ ⁠Inhale, Exhale⁠ ⁠Love and Connect⁠ ⁠Eat to Nourish⁠










New article: A Lot of Women Work in Health Care. But Not at the Top. Why Is That? by in Let's not fix👩🏽‍⚕️👩‍🔬but rather fix institutions🏥🏬& processes📈📊.



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Light reading + heavy eating en route to . (I regret not ordering fries with that.)




On this day in 1948, Dr. Frances L. Willoughby was sworn in as the first woman doctor to serve in the regular , and for the following year was the only woman doctor in the US armed forces.






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The girl in the teddy bear dress

Note: All stories have been modified to maintain anonymity. This includes but is not limited to age, sex, ethnicity, diagnosis, as well as their family members. These changes allow me to share the core of these stories while protecting privacy. Thank you for understanding.

I my first post to be the story of Ella Garcia. I first met Ella in the emergency room. She was hunched over, hugging herself. Sitting quietly in her room, so still that one would forget there was only a door separating her from the bustle of the emergency room. 

Ella was young, with four young children, all girls, as well as a husband who adored her. Ella was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer years before I met her. She was tolerating treatments well, and did all she could to maintain a semblance of normality for her children. She took them on yearly vacations to their favorite vacation destination, remained active in their schooling, and did her best to send them on each school trip. Her brothers shared with me how dedicated she was to her family - sharing how she would often drive by their house on her way to treatments to check in, drop things off, make sure their needs were met. They described Ella as the backbone of their family; she was so active her cancer was often overlooked.

The months before met Ella were challenging for her. Her cancer progressed to stage 4, and her treatments were now aimed at slowing progression. Despite her diligence, complications arose and she missed a few cycles of treatment. By that spring, her cancer had progressed even further. She presented to the hospital frequently at this point. Her medications were adjusted, she would be discharged home. Each time she presented she looked a little more frail, a little less like Ella. 

Then Ella fell. 

And then she fell again. 

At the time of our meeting, she had presented to the emergency room fro her third fall. 

She was hunched over in the emergency room, holding herself, and as I approached I saw tears streaming down her cheeks. 

“I just need to make it to June. I need to go on this vacation”

This hospitalization was more complicated than the last, but the day prior to her discharge she looked okay. I met Ella early in my practice; I was still wrestling with imposter syndrome… still second guessing my abilities as a provider, as well as feeling the need to meet the impossibly high standard I set for myself. I know, so much angst.

I say all of this to say that I knew it was important to solidify advanced care planning with Ella, I knew it was important to explore the what ifs given the rapid changes we saw in her illness. But I saw the look in her eyes and the quiver in her voice when she recited her mantra about vacation. I couldn’t extinguish that. And so I held off. We spent the visit talking about outfits, about rides, about anything but her cancer. Her eyes twinkled. She smiled. She told me about her improving shortness of breath, and her improving pain. She told me about her hopes for this trip. We did not speak a word of the days following their,  as we both knew there would not be many. Do I regret this? Maybe. Would it have changed anything? I can’t say for certain, but unlikely.

“Who knows Ella?” 

I remember looking over in our huddle to the physician reading off our list of new consults. 

“I know Ella. Why? Is she back?” My eyes scrambled to my phone, looking for today’s date. May 14th. 

“Yes. And she’s dying.”

I saw Ella that morning, her brothers and father at the bedside. The room was quiet. Her eyes appeared fixed. I grabbed her hand and she looked at me. She squeezed my hand. I watched her struggle with each breath. I closed my eyes. I focused on what I could control in that second, my breathing. My heart rate. The tears I felt in the corner of my eyes - I could keep those from dropping. 

“I’m going to take care of you Ella. I am sorry we are in this place, but I am going to take care of you. Your family is so loving, they are all so lovely. We are all here for you” She broke eye contact before I finished my statement. I released her warm hand. “Here is what we are going to do…”

Part of taking care of Ella was telling her children. We called schools, we called family, we scrambled the best we could to bring her children into the hospital. We learned that her husband was on his way late afternoon with the children in tow. 

The moments leading to her families arrival were most tense for me. We attempted a procedure to help with her symptoms but she was not able to tolerate being turned. She began having long pauses in her breathing, each pause seeming longer than the next. We call this type of breathing ‘agonal’, and usually precipitates the final stages of life. Each pause my heart stopped, I did not know what I would do, what I would say, if she passed before her children had the opportunity to say goodbye. I knew how much this would mean to her. Moments after I was informed of her husbands arrival, she had her longest pause I’ve seen. I ran down the hallway, mumbling ‘oh shit, oh shit’ to myself. Scenarios of her family missing this moments ran through my head. I pulled the husband to the side and calmly but frantically shared her condition. He left the four kids with myself and my team member and ran to join his wife. 

Myself and my team found a room where we could sit with the children. We calmly explained what we had been seeing, explained the concept of cancer, explained the concept of death. Her oldest child was in junior high, the youngest wearing a teddy bear dress with her hair in two high ponytails. I felt their innocence slipping with each word. This is still one of my most painful memories of my practice this far. The children could no longer maintain eye contact at the conclusion. I am aware this is a part of the natural grieving processes, but I hope her children regain that spark, someday. 

Ella passed shortly after this meeting. She did not make it to her vacation. I’d like to think she was okay with this, that having her family around her was enough, that her motivation to provide her children a stable upbringing and her ability to do that while she was on this Earth is enough to bring her peace, although she will not be here to see them grow. But I do have lingering feelings that her final thoughts were of her vacation. Of the sadness in her children’s minds knowing they will not be there with mom next month. Of the sadness in her heart wondering if they would still go without her. 


Thanks for reading, 

S

A New Direction

Life has changed so much since my last post, and entirely since my last event. 

I am now a palliative care nurse practitioner working at a safety net hospital in a major urban center in the southwest. I will get in further detail about this in my next post.

In processing my day to day and all that I encounter at work, I have decided to start blogging about the experience of my new neighbors and friends, the patients I encounter (with identifiable information including gender, country of origin, illness, etc changed to maintain privacy). I am hoping this can grow into more in my new city, providing opportunities for volunteering and making an impact in my community. But until then I will start with their stories. 


I hope you enjoy. 


Sara

We’ve all heard about the Apple Watch but have you heard of Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a medical condition that affects over half a million Australians. It happens when there is a disturbance of the heart’s electrical system and so it beats out of rhythm. Some patients have no symptoms and others may feel faint, dizzy, short of breath, experience chest pain or feel their heart racing.

Healthcare professionals can detect AF by checking your heart rate, listening to your heart or with the use of an ECG. Those diagnosed with AF are at an increased risk of stroke than the general population. Treatment can include medication or a procedure to correct the heartbeat.

Smart watches, like the Apple Watch can detect an irregular heartbeat and if it has, it’s vital to seek medical help. For my full review on the Apple watch head over to youtube.com/drnora.

If you have any concerns or are worried about your risk of Atrial Fibrillation please pop by and see me in clinic.

Take care and stay healthy 😘

Dr Nora 💉

More info: hearts4heart.org.au

Source: https://instagram.com/p/B2kjFm9AcBM/

You’re strong, you’re beautiful, you’re a woman 😍

It’s time to put yourself first and that’s exactly why there’s a whole week to celebrate women’s health.

Whether you’ve been putting off that smear test or if you want to check if your periods are ‘normal’ or even a simple change of birth control or a cosmetic treatment now is the time to do so!

Make your health a priority today.

Pop by and see me in clinic if you have any questions or concerns.

Take care and stay healthy 😘

Dr Nora 💉

#womenshealth #womenshealthweek #women #womeninmedicine #empowerment #femaleempowerment #inspirational #gratitude #glamourous #empowered #doctorsofinstagram #girlpower #cervicalcancer #smeartest #heathtips #determination #cosmetics #solidarity #strongwomen #goodhealth #healthychoices #femaleempowerment #birthcontrol #powerfulwomen #breastawareness #lifegoals #positivevibes #medicine #motivational #defiance

Source: https://instagram.com/p/B197v8pAMcO/

Post #9: Accomplished

I was too tired to post an entry last night cause of all the poster presentation chaos but I’m happy to say that I extremely feel accomplished and I hope my dad feels the same way. So, yesterday, We had breakfast at a cafe near the congress’ venue but was very disappointed with the taste of the coffee, everything else tasted awesome though and we would definitely come back for breakfast. I mounted my poster at around 9am yesterday and stood beside it to present to interested delegates from 12-1pm. I was so sleepy cause I stayed awake the night before to study a bit. Anyway, after the presentation, we went to the mall and walked around the neighborhood. At 4pm, we went back to the hotel to freshen up. The original plan was to come back to the venue to attend the gala night (I got a free ticket from my adviser)… But I fell asleep. I was on my outside clothes and full make up when I woke up at 12midnight. 🤣 I guess I was really too tired. The MWIA congress ended a while ago and though I did not win, I’m just happy I was able to come this far. This research has been shared with a lot of passionate people in medicine and I hope some were inspired at least. Anyway, we’ll be hearing mass in a while. So, see you! ❤️

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*PS: here are some pictures from the event! ❤️ (7/27/19)

Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

This past school year was a bit of a waste. I got great grades on both of my classes but only completed one pre-requisite course (statistics) and mostly felt I was waffling and unsure of it I even wanted to continue down the path to apply to medical school. I do not want to leave my current position because I genuinely love my job and I don’t want to lose it until I am 100% sure that I am going to medical school. So I didn’t want to have to quit and move just to finish pre-reqs.  But I live in a rural area and access to college level courses is slim. 

Fortunately, I have discovered a way to take my last couple of classes as online hybrid courses - with lecture and reading assignments done online, but labs done during an intensive in person on campus for just a week out of the semester (and yes, I have looked, and my top choice school as well as several others will accept online courses for pre-reqs). That is so doable - as I will just need to take some vacation time in order to complete the labs - rather than have to leave my job altogether. I’m thrilled to have found an option that makes continuing this journey a real possibility!

So since I only have physics and organic chemistry left to complete I am also starting studying for the MCAT in hopes of taking it in fall 2020 or spring 2021.

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Give Love Back, Always

I wanted to post about two situations that happened within 24 hours of eachother about 2 weeks ago because unfortunately, situations like these do still occur, and I’m sure in some locations, more often than we realize. I should point out that this is not the norm for me at work, but every few months, I’m reminded that there’s still work to be done.



Scenario 1: after work (not at my primary hospital), as I was walking in the parking lot about to open the door of my car, an older white man approached me and asked if my car ran on diesel, I said no, smiling as I thought we were about to have a fun convo about cars but instead he then asked if my husband bought me the car, I politely said “no”, and was about to enter my car, then he again asked, while pointing to my left hand (engagement ring), “did your fiancé by it for you”?, more serious now, I said, “no”. The confusion on his face was classic. He then said, “hmmm, ok”, and walked away.


Scenario 2: I walk into my patient’s room in the morning, as I’ve done the last 3 days he has been my patient. He’s an older while man. I greet him, examine him, tell him the plan for his care for the day, then ask if he has any questions. He then says, “now I just gotta ask, are you an honest to goodness doctor?”. I try not to roll my eyes and respond, “yes Mr. X, I’ve been taking care of you the last 3 days, I admitted you from the emergency department, remember?”. He responds by telling me that yes he knows but then says, “not many of your sorts around, more and more now a-days. Guess that’s a good thing, right? Well…. good for you”. I smile at him, then leave his room to go and see my next patient.

Why is any of this important? Because I still have people telling my things like, “oh you’re so lucky”, “things are so easy for you”, “when you get to a certain level (like being a doctor) I bet there’s no racism just because of your position”. It’s not luck and it’s not easy. It’s perseverance and the dedication to treat everyone I encounter with respect and love in hopes that my behavior will teach them to be better.


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・・・
Coming Soon to @excitementradio Hosted by Conversations With Charito 💃🏿💃🏿Women’s Forum: Jealousy…The Green-Eyed Monster…Stay Tuned!! #jealousy #greeneyedmonster #envy #betrayal #hatersgonnahate #womenempowerment #womeninbusiness #womeninmedicine #womenentrepreneurs @djbenhop1 @mrflynt @davispeaks_ @gabriellecharlesevents @gabriellecharlespr @crysspeaks @chio_c_c @anaiyahsunshine @scorpiomvp @shaiwill @lavern_deer

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It will be worth it...

Exams are just around the corner and the stress levels are high once again. During these stressful situations, sometimes, I can’t help but ask myself if I made the right choice of coming into Medicine. But every time when I have those doubts, I remind myself on why I wanted to do Medicine in the first place. As cliche as it might sound, I wanted to do it because I wanted to gain the knowledge to help others when they can’t help themselves.

Last Tuesday, I had my clinical skills session at St James. We started off by discussing about self care and how important it is to take care of ourselves while we are focused on learning to take care of others. After which, I had an opportunity to follow a consultant from the respiratory unit, at the outpatient clinic. I just sat quietly at the side, while most of the patients didn’t pay much attention to me. I still learned a lot from the way the doctor carried himself in front of the patients as well as more about the conditions of each of the patients. The highlight of the visit would definitely be one of the patient’s wife, who was clearly distressed during the consultation but then soon calmed down. She was the only one who kind of looked at me as well while she was talking to the doctor. Although I did not say a single word, she held my hands and thanked me, before she left. 

I know that it is not much of a big deal, but it reminded me again on why I am doing this, and that it will all be worth the wait, the sacrifices and the tears shed, when I eventually become a doctor.  

Harassed, hit on, and fed up: Women in medicine want their #MeToo moment.

Unlike Hollywood and other industries where allegations against powerful men have recently shined a light on inappropriate behavior, medicine has yet to have its #MeToo moment. 

Nonetheless, women in the field are hopeful that that is about to change. 

During a months-long investigation, NBC News spoke with nearly a dozen women and experts in medicine, who described widespread misconduct, deeply woven into the fabric of their workplaces even as they made life-or-death decisions for their patients. 

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Dr. Christina Jenkins says she was harassed by a veteran surgeon across the operating table as they performed surgery on a patient. Her chief resident once told her he could make her life easier if she had sex with him. 

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Teresa Goodell has been a nurse for 35 years and says she has endured multiple incidents of sexual harassment. A male nurse casually asked what her bra size was when they were working together in the 1990s. As a nursing student, a physician aggressively demanded her phone number.

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Experts say the risk of being shamed or retaliated against, plus other factors unique to medicine — such as the 24/7 nature of the job, plus easy access to beds and call rooms in hospitals — has allowed sexual harassment to proliferate.  

But many females in medicine, who want to see an overhaul of their entire profession, are determined to be part of the revolution. 

Read more here. 

Today Facebook reminded me of something: 7 years ago to the day, I began my med school journey and the commitment to my eventual profession. I didn’t know what this road would involve, the stress, the sacrifice, and the tears. I also couldn’t have anticipated the joy, excitement, knowledge, friendships, and the satisfaction of caring for others I would gain. It’s not easy, but as residency draws to an end and hematology/oncology fellowship draws near, I’m stand without regrets. #CantStopWontStop


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