Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Laney

Welcome back to our intern spotlight series where this edition we’ll dish on our latest Southern Plastic Surgery (SPS) guest resident, Laney. A native of Lawrenceville, Laney is in the home stretch of her formal training at the Mercer University College of Health Professionals where she’s focusing on becoming a Physician Assistant. Having come to us with an interest in one day joining an esteemed dermatology or plastic surgery practice (we selfishly vote for the latter choice), Laney has really found her knack working with our patients and has seemed to genuinely love every minute of her time learning through hands-on practice and combining the hard work she’s put in so far. Before Laney left, we had her share some of her fondest memories with us and open up on where she hopes to go once she’s officially a graduate, here’s what she had to say:

Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet LaneyWhat made you choose a career in medicine? It’s like a puzzle. Every day presents new problems to be solved. Each patient is different, and the field is always changing and advancing. It’s challenging, exciting, and rewarding!

What’s your favorite memory? When Dr. David Whiteman sent me to the penalty box. He asked me a question in the operating room (OR) that I couldn’t answer, so I was sent out to the nurse’s station (the penalty box) to look up the answer. Then I returned to the OR to teach everyone about the information I had found.

What’s been the biggest challenge? Probably being open to criticism. I think most people in the medical profession are very driven, type-A people. We are motivated to be the best at what we do. Sometimes I have to swallow my pride and remember that I am going to be wrong, and it’s ok!

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?  I think knowing how to relate to each of my patients and  make a surgical plan to meet their needs will be important regardless of which specialty I choose to pursue.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman? He is such a good mix of personality traits. He is really laid back, but completely invested in helping me become a better provider at the same time. He is demanding but also very forgiving.

Do you have a personal motto?  Improving requires you to go outside your comfort zone. If you’re not being challenged, you’re probably not growing.

If you didn’t practice medicine, what would you do professionally instead? Ice cream taste tester.

Hobbies: Reading, hiking, soccer, sewing, and refinishing furniture.

Fun Fact: I attended college at both Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. I met my husband at Georgia Tech, but we cheer for the Dawgs during football season!

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta: Taking my beagle to the park or hiking.

The office is never quite the same whenever we have to say goodbye to any of our extended SPS team members, but we are enthusiastic that Laney will do great no matter where she ends up. Having skill and expertise is always important but it goes beyond that. The relationships that you are able to nurture with your patients set certain medical providers apart – it’s our belief that the passion you embody and exhibit towards your patients are the type of additional qualities that make overall great providers and Laney will undoubtedly fit the profile when she starts to make a name for herself within the medical community. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for more installations in our intern and patient spotlight series, and if you’d like to share your own personal plastic surgery story with other readers, don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery so we can help get you started!

Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Jakai’

It has been a while since we’ve had an intern at our Southern Plastic Surgery (SPS) office but today we are thrilled to share with you the latest SPS plastic surgery intern rock star – Jakai’!  Jakai’ is a 4th year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus and has been a great addition to the SPS family.  She’s got a genuinely caring personality and an infectious laugh, but what we admire most about Jakai’ has been her ability to connect with many of our patients over the past month.  We had Jakai share some of her experiences with us and here’s what she had to say:

What made you choose a career in medicine? My parents have always instilled in me the understanding that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  Growing up, my pediatrician was a young, black female.  I can remember becoming instantly fascinated with her and her job, and she eventually became my idea of what a doctor looks like.  In a field that I now know to be dominated by my male counterparts, I’ve always felt that there was a place for me.  My pediatrician was my role model until I turned 20 (yes, I had trouble leaving the pediatric nest).  Thankfully my love for science and reading followed our initial introduction and my parents, teachers, and other loved ones helped to cultivate what soon became a love for medicine.  So I guess you can say that I’ve always wanted to be a doctor.  It also helped that I somehow successfully made it through the pre-med coursework at Vanderbilt University, because honestly, things could have easily gone south.

What’s your favorite memory? I have two favorite memories.  My first was being told that one of our post-operative patients came in for their follow-up and asked to see me before leaving.  It felt good knowing that I had built up enough of a rapport that the patient felt comfortable coming to me with questions and accepting my medical advice.  My second was all of the events leading up to being given the nickname “little sister”.  I won’t get into that story, but there is never a dull moment with Dr. Whiteman and his team!

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?

  • Listening; all patients come in with a plastic surgery goal and it is the job of the physician to understand what it is and guide the patient towards reaching that goal.
  • Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race; time is precious when in the OR and though I always freak out when Dr. Whiteman tells me to move faster, his surgery tips have come in handy and I am slowly, yet steadily increasing my suturing and note writing speed.

What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned during your internship? To trust myself – whether it is knowing the answer to one of Dr. Whiteman’s questions or anticipating where my hands need to be in the surgical field, I know more than I think I do and there is little to no time for hesitation.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman? The best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman is the autonomy that he and his staff expect and allow.  Learning to be “THE doctor” is one of the greatest struggles I’m sure I will encounter after graduating and beginning residency.  This month has been a small taste of what I can begin to expect.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I see myself fresh out of my neurology residency program and hopefully on a much-needed vacation!

Hobbies: Reading, traveling, watching football and my weekly television shows.

Favorite movie: The Breakfast Club.

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta: Brunch

Do you have a personal motto?  I don’t know if I would consider this a motto, more of a note to self: “Keep trying, keep praying, stay positive, be Awesome: become better!”

We’re going to miss having Jakai’ around the office but we have no doubt that she is going to go on to do great things in the medical field because she’s got the drive and determination needed to excel.   Hopefully you all enjoy getting to know our interns as much as we have these past several months, so be sure to catch the latest on our intern feature stories on our blog in the upcoming weeks!

Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Andrew

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.