Dr. David Baltazar


Episode Description:

This week, Ben sits down with David – a dermatology resident in Scottsdale, AZ – to reflect on the residency experience.  We touch on David’s journey in medicine including his time as a physical therapist, as well as the importance of showing up for our families during residency.

Ben 0:01
Hey y’all. Welcome back to beyond surviving residency, the podcast dedicated to helping residents like you find more rest, fulfillment and clarity amidst the chaos of residency. I’m your host Benjamin long. Through this series, I hope to equip you with practical tools to move away from just surviving residency and toward flourishing despite it. This week, I get to sit down with Dr. David Baltazar a third year resident at the honor health dermatology residency program in Scottsdale, Arizona. David graduated from medical school at Western University of Health Sciences after working for seven years as a physical therapist. And so today we talk about how David’s time as a physical therapist impacts how he practices medicine as a physician, as well as the role of curiosity and David’s journey to become a physician. And the importance of showing up for your family during residency, y’all, I can’t wait for you to hear more. So let’s get started.

All right, everyone, I am here with Dr. David Baltazar. David, thank you so much for coming onto the show.

David 1:22
Hi, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Ben 1:24
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m really excited to talk to you because to be honest, as a pediatrician, people think that I should be really good at rashes and know a lot about the skin. But I hate rashes!

David 1:41
it’s a very common thing. You know, it’s rashes, or sometimes they scare me too. You know, it’s a it’s a common thing.

Ben 1:48
Yeah. So I’ve always thankful to my dermatology colleagues, and we have one in particular, who he wanted to go into pediatrics, but then kind of went through dermatology. So he’s always really open to kind of helping us out and I curbside him a lot. And I’m like, Dude, I have no idea what this is. And he looks at it. And it’s like, oh, yeah, it’s bla bla bla bla bla bla bla. Great. Thank you for your brain and your service.

David 2:17
I have a ton of friends who do that all the time. And sometimes it’s like, ah, yeah, I don’t know what it is either.

Ben 2:21
Yeah. Yeah. Or Yeah. And I’m sure y’all probably get the consults of like, you know, I have parents who are like, what is this? I have no idea. But you know, if you want to go dermatology, you can and then by the time they get to y’all, it’s like it’s gone.

David 2:35
Right? Exactly. It’s if you’re coming into the office, your rash is going to improve, and it’s not going to be there when you get there.

Ben 2:40
Right, right. Right, exactly. So I am interested in just kind of as a start up to this conversation, what do you think is kind of a common stereotype about dermatology, that’s definitely not true.

David 2:54
The biggest one that I always get is, you know, this, you know, put steroids on it, if that doesn’t work, then put an antifungal on it. And then the other thing is just that we’re very, like, pretty and don’t like to do hard work. And that’s why we’re in dermatology, you know, those are the lot of things that my kind of friends give me a hard time about. I don’t necessarily – the thing is, steroids work for a lot in dermatology, however, like we just previously talked about, there’s a wide variety of rashes, and you know, some of them can be really, you know, cause a lot of morbidity and mortality. So, you know, it’s, it’s that thing of, although the treatments, some of the treatments might be very similar, like knowing which rashes are really bad, and which rashes are totally fine, is really the kind of key. And then in addition to that, you know, I know, as a resident being on call from time to time, you know, I do get calls in the middle of night, but there is a lot of, you know, studying and effort that goes on for dermatology, because there’s such a wide variety of anything and anything that possibly happens on the skin, we kind of have to go about it.

Ben 3:59
It’s so funny your going on about the steroids and the antifungal because that’s about the extent of of my dermatology expertise as a general pediatrician.

David 4:13
It helps, you know, honestly, it’s a you know, stereotype sometimes it’s like, there’s a small bit of truth in them. And so, you know, honestly, it helps a lot of people and it gets people through, you know, they can’t get into see a dermatologist a if that’s what you know, it is helpful a majority of the time, so I can always argue with it. Yeah, absolutely.

Ben 4:31
So I’ve introduced you to everyone who’s listening a little bit about your background, educationally, where you were before this and that you worked in physical therapy prior to pursuing to becoming a physician. But can you talk maybe a little bit more about your road to medicine and what made you decide to pursue this as a career?

David 4:52
Yeah, so um, yeah, definitely, I guess a non traditional route you could say, when I was a lot of things, you know, I tried to sit down and like make sense of like my decisions at certain points in my life. And, you know, a lot of it kind of has to do with just what interests me and what like really gets me to think in undergrad, I was a terrible student, you know, there’s a, I almost got kicked out of school for poor grades during my first year of college, just because I didn’t go to class and thought I could just sit in and read the book and take the test. And that wasn’t the case. So my experience was not really like, I didn’t really know how to do things, and I didn’t really have a lot of confidence in learning myself. So basically, when I sat down and figured out what I wanted to do, I had an experience in high school where I broke my elbow. And I really enjoyed physical therapy, and I liked the person to person interaction. And so when I was in physical therapy, when I started going into it, it was the first time that I had really kind of sat down, and like figured out how to study and really get all of my ducks in a row, you could say, And so pretty much for that, once I set that goal towards the end of college, I was really doing well and really able to learn at a really rapid pace. And then once I got into physical therapy school, there was a I remember a project specifically, we were learning about the kidney, just in a route of we’re treating patients, and how do we, you know, make sure that we treat them appropriately for in a physical therapy standpoint. And I had found myself going down the road of like literally reading a book on how the kidney functions. And so that was, it was it that was the most interesting thing to me. And you know, it, I got in trouble. I remember doing my portion because I was on the pathophysiology of like glomerular nephritis, or some I can’t really remember exactly, but it was the, the professor was like, What are you doing? Like, we don’t need to know any of this. And it’s very off topic, and I got in a lot of trouble for it. And so that was like kind of the first inkling that I was like, Okay, maybe physical therapy isn’t for me. But I was like, I’m gonna finish because the program I went to, which was University of Pacific in Stockton, California is an accelerated program, it’s 25 months. And so I was already almost halfway through at that point. So I was like, I’m going to finish it, I’m going to work because this is what I said I was going to do. And so I did that. And basically, about two to three years out of physical therapy, I found myself just looking at patients diagnoses, and really more about those because I was more interested in those and then their actual functional deficits. And so it was kind of a recurring theme. And I said, at one point, I said, okay, if I’m going to do this, I need to look up the prereqs. And, you know, start figuring out how I’m going to do this. And it was an important step. Because as I was going through taking the classes, my girlfriend at the time who I met in physical therapy school, we were talking about life, you know, we were talking about, hey, I was around 2930 at the time. And so she’s like, Hey, I want to have kids, you know, I don’t know if I want to go to, I don’t know, if I want to be in somebody with in medical school. And, you know, it was just real long term, real life goals that I had to sit down and think about, if you know how I was going to do things. And I said, at that point, I was like, if I don’t become a doctor, I will literally die on my deathbed hating myself. And that’s like, it took me a while to get there. But my girlfriend and I actually broke up and we broke up for about, I want to say it was like five or six months. And it’s funny now because she’s my wife, and we were talking about this the other day. And, you know, I was like, I remember getting an email from you, like four in the morning because I was up in the middle of the night. And she’s like, I never sent you an email. So there’s a lot of arguing between what actually happened. But in my head, I got an email from her saying that we can work things out of, you know, because I was I was also in the camp of I don’t know, if I want to have kids in med school, because that’s crazy. Like, how are you going to do it? How is time going to be managed with that? I had some important mentors at the time. And they just told me, they said, if you want to do this, you’ll find a way. And so my girlfriend and I at the time, we basically said, hey, you know, like, I think I can you know, if we have a child, I will make everything work. And as long as you’re there to support me and help me the best you can, we’ll make it work together. And so the rest is kind of history. We ended up getting engaged before we left for med school. And I had my first daughter about 18 months into med school. And it was it was basically thinking of my future life as well as the curiosity that never kind of stopped, percolating in my head regarding medicine. And so it all just kind of culminated in like, Okay, I’m going to do this and I’m going to try the best that I possibly can. So it was kind of a very, you know, big life decisions had to be made before I you know, set out on the path for medicine, but it was, it was totally worth it.

Ben 10:01
Yeah, that’s awesome. Would you say your time in physical therapy has that impacted like how you practice medicine?

David 10:10
I think it has an a multitude of ways. So one, it gives me a background of just like, towards the end of physical therapy, I was doing home health. So it’s going into people’s homes, and you never really understand how somebody lives until you see their house. And having that and seeing how much of a fall risk somebody is, if they can’t get out of a chair, you know, having that type of understanding was super helpful. The other thing it’s done is, like I said, in undergrad, I was a terrible learner until I kind of focused on getting things together and making goals. And in PT school, since it was an accelerated program, I like really learned how my brain likes to take in information. And so that prepped me for med school, because I had already known I already had gone through that trial and error process of, you know, however you develop your strategies for learning. So basically, by the time med school hit, I hit the ground running, like I was ready to go, I was primed, I knew what to do. And so it was, it was really nice, because it paid off on my exams and everything for how I take in information. And then the kind of last thing is, things that I work on today are questions that I had when I was in PT school, you know, I had questions regarding, you know, I kind of combined the two, in kind of research questions that I asked myself, you know, for dermatology, I’m, you know, one of the things I’m working on is post op complications and patients who are fall risks, you know, like, I don’t know, necessarily know if I would have thought of that, if I didn’t have that experience. And, you know, I was also had experiences in wound care in physical therapy and those kinds of things, led me to really enjoy dermatology and enjoy the skin and wound healing. And, you know, there’s a few things that I’m interested in pursuing on that. So I think it’s, you know, even though sometimes I’m like, Oh, that was a lifetime ago is what I feel like it’s literally intertwined in my day to day life. And on top of that, my wife’s a physical therapist, so I can’t really get away from it either.

Ben 12:15
Yeah, and, man, I think that is so true, as far as your now wife’s kind of in this initial hesitation for, “Hey, do I want this life of being with someone who has the demands of medical school and probably residency and beyond?” How would you say your residency experience has been as far as how have you changed during your your time in residency?

David 12:43
It’s definitely I’d say, residency, you know, I, I try not to have like a romantic view on life, you know, I try to think that it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be a roller coaster. And that’s literally what it’s been. And so, you know, there’s times where I’m like, wow, this is great. You know, it’s awesome. And then there’s other times when I’ve been down in the dumps, and depressed and just like, Man, this is really hard. And I don’t know if I can do this. I felt like in med school, it was all geared towards, okay, I want to get into residency and I really wanted to get into DERM. And it’s not a guarantee. And so I didn’t really set goals beyond getting into Derm, because I didn’t really want to address those until I got into DERM. Because I felt like if I don’t get into Durham, then I’m just thinking about a romanticized future that I would never be a part of. So once I got in, you know, I really tried to sit down and figure out what I wanted to do with it, and how I wanted my life to be for the kind of the rest of my life. And so a lot of stuff that’s changed in me in residency has just been more toward geared towards what, because I would like to be a fellowship director for for Mohs surgery in the future. And in my head, when I sat down, I was like, Okay, what do I see myself as in the future? And so, I’ve tried to create a lot of the actions that I’ve currently doing in that kind of role in the future of like, what do I perceive as like a really good, you know, mentor, role model and director in the future. And so that’s how I’ve tried to change myself. It hasn’t gone as easy as I planned. But for the most part, I’ve got, I found myself getting a lot more involved in a few areas. So one is advocacy. So I’m involved in the Arizona Medical Association quite extensively, and just really learning the ins and outs of government, the government interaction with healthcare and how everything works down to the nitty gritty details of passing a law, or you know, just where money comes from, has been a really interesting part. The other part of it has been kind of research, because, like that curiosity that I’ve had throughout physical therapy and and, you know, a majority of my adult life. Now I’m kind of like, okay, well, what about this? And then, you know, I look up, you know, an article, and if there’s no article on it, you know, I’m like, Okay, well, can I address this? Is this possible. And so that has also led me down a path of working with my hospital a lot on problems that they’ve had with research, and, you know, ways that I can improve it for the upcoming group behind me. And then lastly, it’s just been, more or less trying to improve things, from my point of view of things that I feel like are deficiencies or things that aren’t being met, you know, either by my hospital or my program, and just being constructive about it. I think that’s been a learning experience, too, is because, you know, I’ve always been very straightforward. But that comes at an expense, if you’re being kind of mean about it. Right? Like, it may not, I may not think I’m being mean, but it can be perceived as being aggressive and hurtful, you know, and so I think I’ve really had to learn to make sure that everything I say, is in not only the right tone, which also goes into being a parent, because your kids really understand your tone, which is crazy. But also just in communications via email, because you know, those things don’t you can’t carry through your intentions through email through text all the time. And so those kind of three things of like communicating advocacy research, have all been where I’ve been trying to guide myself towards and improve upon.

Ben 16:36
Yeah. And so what would you say? Because you, you touch a little bit on like, there are definitely downtimes residency is, is hard, kind of no matter no matter what specialty you’re in. So when it when it has come to those, like harder parts, just surviving residency, what do you feel like are the biggest roadblocks or challenges that you faced?

David 16:58
You know, I think it’s honestly my biggest roadblocks are in my head. You know, and I honestly feel we as people put a lot of roadblocks in front of ourselves, just saying we can’t do something, you know, because, you know, I’m 39 now, and, you know, it’s one of those things is, I really realized the importance of how you talk to yourself in your head, is, is just extremely important, because I find when things outside of what I can control are kind of going down, like when I because we have weeks on call, like we have a week on call at a time, or sometimes it’s been upwards of like two weeks on call. And so we’re on call for a few different hospitals, in our health system. And so that can really beat you down just because they’re really tough patients. And you know, you may not know exactly what’s going on right away. And so that on top of, you know, all these other things that I’m doing, it can make it things really difficult, and then not knowing my future, kind of how DERM was of, you know, maybe a year maybe not getting into fellowship, all of those things, you know, culminate into, you know, you just kind of beating yourself up and just getting into a really low part in residency. And I think those are the hardest times when you know, you like sometimes I’m able to talk myself out of it, and sometimes I’m not, and then, you know, I need to ask other people for help.

Ben 18:21
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m curious. So, you know, we said that you did a prelim year before starting dermatology? Did you match into both? Or did you have to apply at the end of your prelim year for DERM?

David 18:34
So yeah, that’s a great question. I matched into both. So the program I’m at currently, they had just received ACGME accreditation, like the year before I had applied and so their prelim year and the intern or the prelim year in the program weren’t necessarily combined. But they basically they saved a spot for Derm, they saved two spots for DERM in the prelim year, and then for basically from the program, like the program directors talking or like, Hey, this is who we want type of thing. So it was nice when I did match. And, you know, it said, both programs, so I was like, sweet, I don’t I only have to move once. It’s really great.

Ben 19:15
Yeah, yeah. So for your prelim year, did you do a lot of DERM? Or was it more kind of rotating through all the other specialties?

David 19:24
It was more rotating through all the other specialties. So for our program, we had like, I want to say we had like four or five months of electives, and they gave you a list of electives that you could do. And DERM when I talked to my program director, he’s like, don’t do DERM you’re gonna do it for three years, like do other things that will be beneficial for DERM in the future. And so that’s what I did, you know, and it was really, it was really great. I really loved my intern year. I made a lot of great friends that I still talk to this day, you know, I see him almost, you know, routinely and you know, a lot of them for their own they were medicine residents, and you know, they’re getting ready to graduate this year. So end up a chapter but exciting nonetheless.

Ben 19:59
Yeah, I was gonna ask how that experience was for your prelim year? As far as you know, if you were on rotation? Did you feel like you were treated differently? Because you were going towards dermatology? Or was it a really good experience for you kind of going through those different specialties?

David 20:28
I mean, people, when they asked what I was going into, you know, the reactions were very, were varied. You know, people were like, Oh, you must be really smart, or, oh, you know, you’re gonna have so much more time than I will type of thing. But for the most part, I would say, you know, I didn’t really get treated different. And that was nice. You know, it was no, I was expected to know how to do medicine, and I enjoyed it. And on top of that, you know, it was a really great experience. You know, I felt like the attendings really, really cared. And a lot of the attendings will we have TigerText, I don’t know if you guys know what TigerText is, but it’s a it’s a, you know, an encrypted messaging service. And honestly, some of my attendings will, the previous attendants will curbside me sometimes or ask if I’m on call, you know, because they want to give me a console, you know, and so I think it’s, it’s been really nice, because I made a lot of connections that really hadn’t been made between the kind of the DERM program and the hospital system, because it’s so new. And people asked me, Would you have done it over again, like, 100%? Like, I, I’m so glad my intern year turned out the way it did, because it’s given me so many networking connections, and just being able to, if I have a problem, or I need something, you know, like, a lot of the things I’m involved in, if I have a problem, I can go directly to the top, because I know those people, you know, on like a, you know, on a first name basis, which is really awesome.

Ben 21:54
Yeah, yeah. And I think there is something to that to the now other specialties have a face. And it’s, it’s so easy in our kind of compartmentalized healthcare system to just be like, oh, man, this specialty is taking forever to return my page, or to do this or do that kind of thing. But when you’ve had that experience, I think it does build more empathy for you. And that you, you at least have a little bit of a working knowledge of kind of some of the constraints that some of the other people in your same hospital are dealing with. So yeah, that’s awesome.

David 22:36
Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Ben 22:37
So kind of shifting towards maybe a little bit more practical as far as your your margins. One thing on this podcast that I’m trying to focus on is time. And that’s kind of the number one thing when I’ve talked to residents and I remember from my residency was that I just felt like I had no time to do anything. So I’m interested in what your margins as far as your time outside of work for the beginning and end of your day, and maybe even kind of at your your days off and your weekends, what that looks like for you on busier and maybe easier rotations.

David 23:17
Yeah, so I have a family, I have two, two little girls. My oldest one, five years old is Maddie. And my youngest one is just turned one in December, Blake, you know, my wife, she’s like, I feel like you have so much more time as in, I’m present more because in med school, I was gone. You know, I was on rotations a lot. And so I was out of the house and not present at all. So it’s nice to always come home, and like be able to be there. You know, for a majority of dinners and things like that. However my days are, I feel like a pack to the brim. So when I’m on clinic, it’s more or less, my clinic starts in between eight and 830, which is lovely. But my day usually starts in between like 4:30am and five. So typically, I try to wake up early and try to do some sort of activity, physical activity and with COVID and everything. I’ve honestly kind of made a garage gym almost, but it’s just kettlebells I have an assault bike and the sandbag that I use. And intermittently, there was some jujitsu going on, which I love to do but I just can’t do it all the time currently. So in the morning workout for anywhere from half an hour to an hour if I’m lucky if I’m able to wake up early enough. And then after that it’s pretty much helped my wife get the kids ready for daycare. So pretty much my I try to make my wife coffee, she wakes up I try to wake her by 520 Try to make her coffee. My older daughter Maddie, we wake up at 540 And so then it’s pretty much my job from then on to get her ready for school. So getting her dressed, feeding her brushing her teeth. And one thing that I was is never good at until I had our second child is braiding hair or brushing hair, because my hair has never been long. So I’ve had just a little over a year of practice, so I’m definitely getting better. And then pretty much I make sure everybody eats for the most part, my older daughter gets a smoothie, which we make a few days in advance, my younger daughter is now eating solid foods. So anywhere from like, we do peanut butter on waffles, or, you know, toast or cereal or something, and everybody gets something, and then we usually leave the house about 630, we drop them off, I go into either the hospital or the clinic that I’m gonna go to after that, and try to get a little bit of work in. So you know, I’m squeezing in maybe anywhere from like, 45 minutes to an hour of studying at that point, and then clinic or my rotation. And those vary. So some clinic days go late, like I’ve been in clinic until like 630 at night. And then I’ve had other days where it’s a nicer rotation, and I get done at like 230 or three. And that’s totally awesome. And either way, when I get off and get home, my studying doesn’t start until seven at the earliest. So basically at that point, it’s getting the kids bathe, making dinner, cleaning the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, doing the bedtime routine, which is usually like a, you know, we I’m playing with both of the girls like I tried to roughhouse with them a little bit, you know, that goes on until around 615 630. And then usually Blake goes down around then. And then Maddie, we do we read, my wife’s been reading Harry Potter to her on the first book, which has been pretty awesome. And then basically about seven 730, I’m able to kind of sit down and get some work done. And sometimes I have meetings, one of the committees I’m a part of, for the Arizona Medical Association, we have meetings, probably one or two meetings a month, and then whatever things I have going on at night as well. And I tried to get some studying done until around nine or 10. And then basically get ready for bed, try to talk to my wife a little bit, get some quality time in and then go to sleep and, you know, hit the thing all over again the next morning.

Ben 27:01
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s so good to have that rhythm and that routine. And it’s, I think it’s so hard for a lot of residents, especially like, you’re kind of getting used to some kind of pattern. And then it’s like, you switch up your rotation, and then you’re a lot more constrained for your time. And I think it’s hard sometimes to kind of shift your margins were, you know, like, I talked about a lot just like your expectation for what you can do in your margins. And so people, at least for me, so many times, like exercising would kind of go out the window, because I was like, Well, I don’t have time to kind of do like a, quote, full exercise or kind of workout or something like that. But then you know, just the importance of like maintaining that habit, even if I only have like 5-10 minutes, to just do something real quick to like, run or move or, you know, whatever, then that still kind of helps maintain that consistency. So I think I’m hearing more people saying that kind of the need to have some time to be physically active and to keep yourself at least keep your fitness. If not, you know, advance it. So yeah, how does maybe like your days off look like for you?

David 28:21
Yeah, so, you know, I will say one of the nice things about Derm majority of the time, if I’m not on call, I do have the weekends, you know, mostly off, it’s just really varies. So a majority of the time, it always revolves around our kids, you know, I always tell everybody, it’s like, they’re kind of the first and foremost thing that occurs before I do anything. So the one of the nice things is some of our kids have slept in a little bit. So you know, they sleep until maybe 630, or seven, which is awesome. But what we ended up doing is, you know, it’s still similar to we try to keep a routine, as you know, as close as we can to like what the weekdays are like, as in like, you know, we always eat breakfast, you know, we do a smoothie, we do figure out something on the weekends, or we might go to, we might go and grab some coffee at a coffee shop, and my older daughter loves doing that with me. And so, we do that, and then we come back and you know, usually, usually there’s something for me to work on either it being like, at home, or you know, I’m usually telling my wife like i Hey, I need to go and get some work done. And I might take off for you know, three to four hours to go and study. And then Sunday’s are my wife’s day to go to orange theory. So she’ll usually go in the morning and I’ll watch the kids during that time. But usually the middle of the day is kind of a time when I can kind of get stuff done on Sundays I try to make meals for the family so we usually do like a really big dinner so I usually start cooking around two or three. And you know, there’s usually like protein, vegetables, some sort of carbs and I try to make enough so it’ll last until like Tuesday at you know just to make our life easier. So we just you know we get home for dinner. It’s not we don’t have to make a full Dinner type of thing. But usually it’s trying to do something with the kids, especially recently, it’s been more like, Hey, can we go to the park or yesterday, my wife did a quote unquote science experiment with my daughter, which was, you know, putting candy canes in different liquids to see which ones dissolve the fastest. So, you know, we’re just trying to really keep the kids entertained and keep them, you know, motivated and just trying to make sure they’re, they’re fed and happy. Really?

Ben 30:28

David 30:28
And other than that, try to get a little bit of studying done and, you know, try to do something outdoorsy if we can.

Ben 30:34
Right, right. Yeah. I mean, I think I had kind of the same desire and goal of like, when I’m home, being integrated with my family and being present, and, you know, trying to help as well. And I feel like it can be so hard, especially in those like lower moments in residency, where you just like, have no energy and don’t have that capacity, or like bandwidth, it feels like to show up when you’re Yeah. Have you ever had moments like that? Or often?

David 31:10
I mean, I feel like it happens more often than it should, you know, it’s one of those things is, it’s the way residency is and I also feel like, it’s, you know, it’s also life, I will say, yeah, like, I there’s been a few times when I’ve like, snapped at my kids, you know, and you feel like a jerk, you know, and they’re, you know, I snap and, you know, and there’s like different times and different things that you do, and you’re just like, Wow, you look back on, you’re like, wow, you’re that was a really mean thing you did you know, and you’re just like, wow, I hope I didn’t traumatize anybody. And so, you know, it’s like, you think of all these things as a parent, and you’re just like, Man, I hope my parent, my child doesn’t grow up and hate me because of, you know, something I did to them or something. So, yeah, yeah, I mean, it, I just try, you know, if I do things like that, I honestly try to apologize, you know, and say, you know, especially if it happens with my kids, or my wife, I say, hey, it’s not an excuse, it was a really long day, or like, it’s been a really rough week for me, or that’s no reason for, you know, daddy or myself to act that way. So I always try to make amends if I do something wrong, and just try to show my kids that life isn’t always what I have to say. And life isn’t always rainbows and chicken nuggets. You know, it’s, it’s just not. And I think, to know that and to understand that it makes you feel human, you know, not everybody’s happy 100% of the time. And I think it’s a part of life. And you just have to know you have to have ways to deal with it in constructive ways. Because it can either be one of those things that takes you down a path of substance abuse or other things that aren’t healthy to you versus using it to build a stronger relationship.

Ben 32:43
Yeah, absolutely. Wow. Well, thank you so much for your story and your perspective. I have really enjoyed our conversation today. But to wrap up, I end every interview on beyond surviving residency with a couple questions. So the first one is, what’s one thing you’re doing to move toward flourishing instead of just surviving right now?

David 33:06
I think for me, it’s being grateful, I realize I’m in a very privileged position. You know, I’ve made it into DERM. I have an amazing family. And I have a lot of really great mentors that support me, although I can look at it as things I don’t have, or things that I want, I need to sometimes step back and take a look at the things that I do have and just be really thankful for that because, you know, I’m only a few decisions away of not being where I am.

Ben 33:33
Right. So and then another big aim of this podcast is kind of exploring what it means to be a good physician. So can you tell me about a good physician, you personally know in medicine?

David 33:44
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been thinking about this all weekend, because I figured like this would be like a question and there’s so many and like, there’s four that come to mind and for specific reasons. So I would say in no order for these people, so one of them is a BMT doctor, Dr. Favell, she is just so kind like the care that she delivers, like when I rotate with her is knock on wood, if I had any bone marrow or cancer or anything like that, that’s who I go to, because she is just the most kind, caring physician, one of the most kind I’ve ever met Dr. Lam, who’s one of our surgical attendings, our most surgery attendings, the skill that he possesses, he just makes it look so easy and beautiful. And I appreciate his ability to teach us the kind of last two that I have are my attending I’m rotating with right now. Dr. Moser, and then doctors attuning is also kind of a mentor to me, both of them have just really fostered my curiosity and how have also given me avenues to really explore those things. And they’ve given me tons of help when I’ve asked for it, because there wasn’t always somebody to help me answer the questions I had, or fill the role of like a mentor that I needed. And those two people have given so much to me and whether it was inspiring curiosity, or helping me discover things that I didn’t know, or push me out of my comfort zone like those four people, I can’t think enough. And they’re just amazing people. And you know, those are the type of people that you know, when I’m laying on my deathbed is who all feel like, that’s who I’m thankful for.

Ben 35:23
Yeah. Wow. That’s awesome. Well, thanks again for for coming on. I really appreciate your time.

David 35:30
Yeah, thanks for having me. I enjoyed it.

Ben 35:41
Y’all, I’m always so encouraged when I talk to residents about their lives and dreams. And I know that talking to y’all helps remind you of your original commitments and motivation to enter medicine, and can really help bolster your perseverance to continue. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re feeling crushed from the residency experience, I got something for you. I would love for you to join our 2022 to 2023 Wayfarers Intern Cohort. It’s a small mentoring group that I’m starting that’s designed to help you both practically with things like time management and fatigue mitigation, as well as more holistically by helping you reflect on the residency experience with the questions we ask on this podcast. Because there are still several spots left, I’m actually opening the cohort to all residents, not just interns. So if listening this piques your interest than just go sign up today, to connect with me and a community that’s focused on giving you more rest, fulfillment and clarity amidst the chaos of your life and residency. Click the link in the show notes to sign up to become a Wayfarer or just go to thewholeheartedMD.com/wayfarers to sign up today. And that’s it for this week, y’all. So I’ll see you next time. Bye, everybody.


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