med sisters series: Shannon, OMS3

The Med Sisters Series is a series of interviews of women in various stages of their careers in medicine: pre-med, medical school, residency, fellowship and attending physicians. As women, I believe we face unique challenges within any field, medicine included. As I’ve moved along on this journey, I truly believe one of the biggest support systems we have is each other. Society works so hard to pit women against each other in every situation you can think of but, as feminists, I think it’s so important to combat that urge to try to ‘beat each other out.’ There’s room for all of us on the other side of the glass ceiling. The goal of this series is to shed light on the challenges women face in the field of medicine and how they achieve a work-life balance that works for them. This blog has always been a place for me to share the realities of this journey, both the highs and lows. I thought of this series as a way to share the perspectives of the other extraordinary women on this journey too.


Shannon is a third year osteopathic medical student in Washington with her husband and adorable puppy. You can follow her journey at her Instagram.

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Q: Why did you decide to pursue medicine as a career?

A: I am the first person, let alone the first female, in my rather large southern-based family to pursue a career in medicine (other than a dermatologist uncle who married into the family, that is). My passion for the sciences started at a very young age, and it was not uncommon for my parents to find me downstairs in the guest bathroom “operating” on baby dolls and delivering stuffed puppies. Actually, much to my mother’s dismay, my imagination ran wild and I would use ketchup for blood, toilet paper rolls as leg casts, and even “hire” my younger sisters to join me as a medical assistant and receptionist. Needless to say, the passion never died. Although my original intent was to pursue a large animal veterinary degree and specialize in equine medicine, my allergies to all things with fur caused me to reconsider that dream. After shadowing multiple veterinarians in the local area, and struggling to stay hive/sneeze free, I finally gave shadowing people in medicine a go. Ever since then, the desire to be a healer has not dwindled, even when the journey as brought tears of frustration.
Q: How do you stay motivated on the difficult days?

A: There are many days when I have to remind myself of the advice I’m about to share. This learning process is too challenging to just breeze through without some sort of self-care routine. So for me, this comes in several forms: 1. I am an avid equestrian and have owned my baby girl, “Annie” (she’s a Morgan mare) for 13 years. My evenings or early mornings spent in the quiet of the horse stable, cleaning out her stall or lunging her in the arena, are some of the most rejuvenating moments. 2. Photography has been an interest of mine for several years, and just recently has also helped produce a small spending income for me as I enjoy capturing moments for other people. Using my free time to take pictures and edit images for clients is incredibly life-giving. 3. Quiet time with my hubby is key. This often looks different for us: watching a fast TV show before bed (we love Modern Family and Parks & Rec), having him sit on my [[tired]] feet while chatting on the couch, or making a meal together. He’s my confidant, encourager, and non-medical source of relief.

Q: If you could go back and be a premed again, what would you do differently?

A: Do better in organic chemistry! Ha. Just kidding. Well, maybe not… in all seriousness though, I wouldn’t change a thing. I attended a wonderful private school in the heart of Seattle called Seattle Pacific University. I obtained a major in human physiology and two minor degrees in chemistry and psychology. It was actually really nice having my psychology courses to balance out the hard sciences. I would highly encourage other pre-med students to consider thinking outside the box, in terms of a major or minor, and pursue something that fascinates them (as pysch did for me) and allows them to possibly stand out more during the medical school application process.

Q: How do you balance marriage and being a medical student?

A: I’m the first to shout from a mountain top that, I LOVE MARRIAGE! It’s truly no secret of mine. My husband and I met during the last semester of our undergraduate years, and dated for 2.5 years before sealing the deal December 2013. To be very honest, I remember thinking to myself that I would ultimately marry someone from medical school or residency and end up as a doctor-duo. But gosh, I am so glad that this was not part of my story and that my husband found me when he did. It has been the biggest blessing to do life with him on this rough and beautiful journey. His abundant support and non-medical perspective has been a breath of fresh air since the beginning. We take our marriage commitment very seriously and as such, we make sure that to set aside time for just us, at least once per week no matter the craziness of the calendar. These “date days” are the highlight of our week, even if they consist of just staying home.

Q: Does your faith play a part in why you chose to pursue medicine as a career and how you interact with your patients?

A: Absolutely. Faith is the cornerstone of who I am and what I stand for. My love for medicine stems from a place of awe as I see the intricate details of creation in every aspect of the human body. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me the opportunity to pursue medicine and use my training to provide healing in a holistic way, both physically and spiritually.

Q: Who is a woman in medicine you look up to and why?

A: Hands down she is the one and only: Florence Nightingale. I wrote an 8th grade English paper on this incredible woman and still have it tucked away to show my kids one day. Known for her stamina, grace, and compassion during the Crimean War, this gal earned the well-deserved title as “The Lady with the Lamp” because she would round on wounded soldiers at all hours of the night. No matter how exhausted I feel during a long on-call shift, or day on my feet, I always remind myself to emulate the attributes of Florence Nightingale. And most times, this reminder gives me the little extra pep in my step needed to finish the day strong.


Thank you so much for stopping by our corner of the internet Shannon! We wish you the best on your journey.

Past Interviews:

 

 

 

my premed journey: is medicine for me?

The ‘my premed journey’ series is going to be a series where I share my journey to medical school – the ups and downs. I wish I had started blogging about this journey earlier because I could’ve to share how I got here. Many of you who follow this blog or my Instagram are still in that premed leg of the journey and I want you to know that no one ends up here without many bumps in the road. I hope that you may find inspiration here and that it serves as a reminder that it’s all going to be okay.


 

In my previous post, I talked about how I chose which college to attend after high school. Next, I’ll be talking about how I decided I wanted to pursue the premed route and eventually apply to medical school. While I knew that I found science moderately interesting, I knew I needed to expose myself to clinical settings to really understand medicine, what it was all about and whether that was what I wanted to spend my life doing.

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all members advocacy meeting

When I first found out about the All Members Advocacy Meeting, I was immediately intrigued. As someone who is very passionate about social justice and being an advocate for her future patients, I made attending this event a priority.

One of my biggest fears with progressing in my journey to become a physician is becoming complacent and apathetic towards the needs of those in my community and the world at large. So many times I’ve come across physicians who believe that because they practice medicine, they are excused from paying attention to the injustices in this world. So to avoid this, I try hard to put myself in spaces of critically thinking healthcare providers such as AMAM.

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med sisters series: Elyse, MD

The Med Sisters Series is a series of interviews of women in various stages of their careers in medicine: pre-med, medical school, residency, fellowship and attending physicians. As women, I believe we face unique challenges within any field, medicine included. As I’ve moved along on this journey, I truly believe one of the biggest support systems we have is each other. Society works so hard to pit women against each other in every situation you can think of but, as feminists, I think it’s so important to combat that urge to try to ‘beat each other out.’ There’s room for all of us on the other side of the glass ceiling. The goal of this series is to shed light on the challenges women face in the field of medicine and how they achieve a work-life balance that works for them. This blog has always been a place for me to share the realities of this journey, both the highs and lows. I thought of this series as a way to share the perspectives of the other extraordinary women on this journey too.


 

Elyse is an intern and will be starting her dermatology residency in July! You can follow her journey at her Instagram and the blog she runs for millennial professionals.

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explorin’ home 

As I’ve said before, hubs and I try to take a short trip after every block. At our school we only have finals so that really adds a lot of stress to each set of exams since our entire grade rides on that. With all the stress of trying to figure out my new schedule for boards and remediation, I didn’t get to plan anything in advance. Last minute, we decided to have an overnight stay-cation in downtown Los Angeles. Then we realized that we’re not hip enough to hang out there and then decided to go to Pasadena instead.

Because it was so last minute, all the hotels were going to be really expensive so we decided to try out Airbnb. I’ll hopefully have another post separately on advice on using Airbnb in the next few weeks.

I’ve been living in California for well over a decade but still haven’t really explored all the touristy spots in SoCal. Because we wanted to stay local for our trip, we decided to go to Pasadena and check out places around there. Our first stop was The Huntington. I’ve included some photos below from my ‘real’ camera.

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med sisters series: Anjum, OMS3

The Med Sisters Series is a series of interviews of women in various stages of their careers in medicine: pre-med, medical school, residency, fellowship and attending physicians. As women, I believe we face unique challenges within any field, medicine included. As I’ve moved along on this journey, I truly believe one of the biggest support systems we have is each other. Society works so hard to pit women against each other in every situation you can think of but, as feminists, I think it’s so important to combat that urge to try to ‘beat each other out.’ There’s room for all of us on the other side of the glass ceiling. The goal of this series is to shed light on the challenges women face in the field of medicine and how they achieve a work-life balance that works for them. This blog has always been a place for me to share the realities of this journey, both the highs and lows. I thought of this series as a way to share the perspectives of the other extraordinary women on this journey too.


 

Anjum is a third year medical student! You can follow her journey at her Instagram and blog.

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my premed journey: choosing the right college

The ‘my premed journey’ series is going to be a series where I share my journey to medical school – the ups and downs. I wish I had started blogging about this journey earlier because I could’ve to share how I got here. Many of you who follow this blog or my Instagram are still in that premed leg of the journey and I want you to know that no one ends up here without many bumps in the road. I hope that you may find inspiration here and that it serves as a reminder that it’s all going to be okay.


As I’ve shared before, I definitely was not one of those people who went into college ‘knowing’ that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Both my parents attended med school and encouraged me to do the same – but when you’re 17, you hardly do what your parents ask of you. I resisted the idea for a long time when I was younger but every time I tried to think of what else I could potentially do with my life, nothing else seemed all that interesting. I loved photography and writing, but I knew that I would lose my passion for it if I tried to make a career out of it. I loved public health work but I wanted to know more of the science behind disease mechanisms in addition to studying the epidemiology.

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