Part of what I enjoy about being a double board-certified plastic surgeon is getting to know my patients.  I like hearing their stories and what motivates them on a day-to-day basis; same goes for my interns, which is why we started the Southern Plastic Surgery (SPS) intern spotlight series.  We wanted to give you all a chance to get to know more about the interns who have spent time as an integral part of the SPS team – this month we are turning the spotlight on Andrew.

Southern Plastic Surgery InternA little backstory on Andrew: he lived in Mexico for a few years after he finished high school and it was there that he honed in on his goal to become a medical provider.  What stuck out the most during his time in rural Mexico was how poor health and hygiene affected entire families and communities.  He ultimately decided he wanted to help people feel better and live longer, happier lives.  That dedication to improving the quality of life for others is only a small fraction of what will make Andrew a great dermatologist in the future.  Here’s a little bit on what Andrew had to say about working with us and our cosmetic plastic surgery patients:

What’s your favorite memory?  Probably when I was able to attend a national conference with Dr. Whiteman and observe an entire group of dedicated professionals improving their own skills and knowledge to benefit their patients. It was a fun and educational weekend!

Describe your internship in ONE word.  Inspiring!

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?  I learned how you can interact with your patients in a fun and comfortable way while still maintaining a professional, positive workplace. I was also reminded that medicine really is an art – that no two patients are the same and each requires unique attention and your best effort in order to make each and every procedure a masterpiece.

What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned during your internship?  You cannot help people if you don’t know how. Medicine is not easy, and neither are the many procedures that are often advertised all around town by sometimes inadequately trained semi-professionals. When a patient trusts you to help make them feel better and look better, that is a big responsibility and one that should never be taken lightly. Having adequate training, experience and a strong foundation of medical knowledge is key in ensuring your patients get the safe and effective plastic surgery results they deserve.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman?  Dr. Whiteman’s outgoing and upbeat personality makes him a pleasure to work with! There is never a dull moment when the Doctor is around. For an intern it makes learning more fun, and for a patient it’s much more comfortable and reassuring when your doctor actually has a personality.

What’s been the biggest challenge?  Definitely keeping up with Dr. Whiteman! He has been doing this for a number of years and keeping up with his schedule, his preparation and especially his mind-set has been both challenging and rewarding!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Fresh out of medical residency and looking to establish my own dermatology practice.

Andrew is originally from Vancouver, Washington and when he’s not studying at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, he leads a really active lifestyle.

Hobbies: I love hiking in the mountains, camping, snowboarding, playing basketball and soccer, gardening and cooking with my wife.

Fun fact about yourself: I worked as a snowboard instructor during college (yes mom, it was work…)

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta:  Hiking in the North Georgia Mountains with my wife and kids!

Do you have a personal motto?  Growing up my dad would always say, “Leave it better than you found it.” I’ve learned you can apply that to almost any situation whether it’s a hiking trail, a relationship or even a simple conversation. In medicine I’ve been able to use this with patient encounters – always leave the patient better, happier and healthier than when you met them.

Pick one: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner?  Breakfast all day long!

If you didn’t practice medicine, what would you do professionally instead? Probably work for the National Parks Service as a Forest Ranger or a Ski Patrol/EMT at a ski resort.

Catch the latest on our intern feature stories on our blog and stay tuned for more in the near future!  If you have any questions about our practice or any of the reconstructive and cosmetic procedures we perform, feel free to contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C.  You can also stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.