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.

Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet George

So far you’ve all had the chance to get to know a little bit about our past interns in our intern spotlight series.  We’ve introduced Lila and Hiroki, but now we’d like to introduce you to George.  An Augusta, Georgia native and a current 4th year osteopathic medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – GA Campus, George has been a great addition to the Southern Plastic Surgery (SPS) family during the duration of his medical internship.  It’s always great to have interns that are dedicated, focused and hard-working in regards to making the most of their internship and being proactive in their learning; and George is no exception!

SPS internWhat made you choose a career in medicine? I grew up in a medical household. My father is an osteopathic physician, my mother is a registered nurse practitioner, and I’ve just always sort of been drawn towards medicine. In fact, when I was around 8 years old I dressed up as a doctor for Halloween and my mother never let me forget it!

What’s your favorite memory so far?  Among many great memories, Dr. Whiteman’s staff is tremendous. Great people, great at what they do.

Describe your internship in ONE word.  Fascinating.

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?  Steady hands – invaluable in medicine.

What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far during your internship?  Never leave the office until all of the work is done. You’ll just have more to do tomorrow.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman?  Dr. Whiteman tries to come across as the “tough professor” in the beginning of the internship, but by the end we all know he’s just a big teddy bear.  Seriously, he is an excellent doctor and teacher, and he doesn’t accept a job performance less than well done.

What’s been the biggest challenge?  Managing time – without a doubt; there never seems to be enough, does there?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Practicing medicine and somewhere on a beach or a golf course.

When George isn’t finessing his plastic surgery surgical skills, in hopes of one day specializing in Internal Medicine, he leads a very active lifestyle here in Atlanta and is quite the renaissance man (fun fact about George: he taught himself how to play five different instruments with only the help of the internet – and he’ll eagerly share that this was back in the days of dial-up!).

Hobbies: I have a wide variety of hobbies.  Sports, music and good food/beverage are pretty close to the top of the list.

Favorite movie:  Tommy Boy. Don’t judge me; it’s a classic from my childhood.

Do you have a personal motto?  Always be better than the guy before you, and make it extremely difficult for the guy after you.

If you didn’t practice medicine, what would you do professionally instead? I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant. Maybe someday further on down the road…

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta:  A day at the park with my dog, Murphy.

Pick one: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner?  Brunch!

Everyone at the office has enjoyed George’s time here and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!  Check back next month as we feature our next SPS intern feature.  Feel free to also contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. with any questions you may have about our practice or cosmetic procedures.  You can also stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Hiroki

A Gainesville, Georgia native, Hiroki started his professional career working for a global animal pharmaceutical company for a decade before deciding he wanted a career change.  After growing tired of the monotony of his office job, Hiroki found medicine to be his calling as it would provide the challenging rigor he found most rewarding and also be a way he could help give back to the community.  Currently majoring in Osteopathic Medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Hiroki has been an outstanding example of hard work and dedication to improving the medical field as a whole and we wanted you all to get to know him a little bit.  This month we turn our spotlight on Hiroki and wanted to get the scoop on his time spent interning with me and the rest of the Southern Plastic Surgery team:

SPSIntern(Hiroki)Describe your internship in ONE word.  AWESOME!

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?  Grace under pressure.  Dr. Whiteman would often quiz me while in the Operating Room (OR).  Being put on the spot while in the OR is an intense experience with an audience of the OR staff, being scrubbed in and maintaining the sterile field, all while focusing on assisting on the case.  Sweating under the bright lights, I would always find myself fumbling through a response.  Fortunately, Dr. Whiteman was always patient and after listening to my rambling, he would explain how he would have answered the question.   Most importantly, he would map out how to organize my medical knowledge in order to come up with a cohesive and concise answer to any question that might be asked of me during my training.

What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far during your internship?  Don’t stop suturing to think about a question from your Attending!

What’s been the biggest challenge?  Transitioning from being less of a medical student and more of an actual physician has been the biggest challenge.  As a student, you spend all your time learning medical facts such as anatomy and physiology.  However, as a doctor you need to utilize all the medical knowledge you have learned in a problem solving capacity.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  In an Anesthesia Fellowship, potentially Pediatric or Regional Pain.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman?  Dr. Whiteman is an excellent teacher who provided me with guidance and excellent insight to prepare me for residency.  It was truly one of my best rotations as he provides ample opportunity for hands-on experience; from being first assistant in the OR to being the point of contact for his plastic surgery patients.  It was a Resident level experience.

As a husband and father of three kids, Hiroki stays busy but still manages to find some time doing what he enjoys to help maintain a healthy work-life balance:

Hobbies: Spending time with my family.

Favorite movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (my guilty pleasure movie).

Do you have a personal motto?  “Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

If you didn’t practice medicine, what would you do professionally instead? A chef, without a doubt. The kitchen is hands down my favorite creative outlet.

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta:  Picking up a great brie and fresh baked bread from Star Provisions.

Pick one: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner?  Brunch.

We are excited for Hiroki’s next journey (he recently matched into Anesthesia at LSU-Shreveport) and wish him nothing but the greatest of successes in his academic and professional future!  Check back each month as we feature more of the SPS interns.  Feel free to also contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. with any questions you may have about our practice or cosmetic procedures.  You can also stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.