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Why I Became a Doctor

Doctors' Day: Why I Became a Doctor

Posted on Thu, Mar 30, 2017

It's National Doctors' Day! Envision physicians share their personal stories about why they became a doctor.
 

Dr. Michael Lozano
Emergency Medicine

Dr. Michael Lozano                                            

I grew up in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn, and there were two factors in my childhood that drew me to medicine. When I was in third grade, I spent 74 days in the county hospital. Needless to say, I was around doctors and nurses a lot. It was a municipal teaching hospital, so there were about a dozen or so people who came around every day on rounds to check on me. I was impressed by one doctor, who seemed to have all of the answers – and all of the tough questions for the residents. I vividly remember thinking on the bus after being discharged that I wanted to be one of those people in the white starched coats whose days were occupied with taking care of people.

The second influence was the New York City EMS team. There wasn’t any primary care to speak of in my neighborhood, so folks would just forgo care until there was no other option. In a roundabout way, it was through observing these paramedics that I would eventually choose emergency medicine as my specialty, and why I always have a soft place in my heart for paramedics.

Dr. Shilpa Amin
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Shilpa Amin

Like many first-generation Indian Americans, my parents had a vision for me to become a doctor. My mother was accepted to medical school in India but her father wouldn’t let her attend because he feared that no one from his village would want to marry a highly educated woman. She left India as an unmarried 19 year old (which was unheard of at that time) and attended college at Murray State University in Kentucky in the ‘60s. While I was growing up, she would tell me that she wished that one of her daughters would grow up to be a doctor so she could live vicariously through us. Luckily, science, curiosity and care-taking come naturally to me, and so I pursued my dream – and my mother’s dream – of becoming a physician.

I studied medicine at SUNY Downstate and learned so much from the underserved population in Brooklyn. It was in Brooklyn where I found my calling in emergency medicine. I was attracted to the specialty because I love the unpredictable nature of the each shift. I truly enjoy the flexibility that EM offers to working mothers.

I feel fortunate to have found a career in which I can continue to learn every day, care for a variety of patients, be a director in a very busy urban ED and be the “team mom” for my son’s baseball team. And my mom still calls me after my shifts and asks me about my most interesting case of the night.

Dr. Gina Puglisi
Hospital Medicine


Dr. Gina Puglisi

My grandfather came from generations of Italian craftsmen and farmers. When he moved to America, he was determined to create a better life for my father and uncles. He built an egg farm, which my father inherited and turned into one of the largest egg packaging and distributing companies on the East Coast. My father had left school at grade 8 to work on the farm, working 18 to 20 hours a day. He told us kids that all he wanted was for us to go to college.

My mother came from a line of poor Irish immigrants. She finished high school and later decided to become a nurse. She worked a full-time job while attending nursing school full-time. She was an inspiration to me. As an ER nurse, my mother's stories about the ER made me want to go into medicine.

I practice today because I know that it took many generations of hard work in the fields, on the farms and in the kitchens to get me where I am today. I am grateful to all of my ancestors who dreamed of bigger and better things for their children and grandchildren. I honor them by being proud, persistent and dedicated.

Dr. Peter Q. Lee
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Peter Q. Lee

"Anyone can find sickness; the purpose of a physician is to find health.” – A.T. Still

I hope to find health in my patients by relating to them and trying to find the positives during their time of need. I hope to continue this not just in medicine but in my interactions with friends and family. I hope to be a light in every aspect of my life.

Dr. Nathan Goldfein
Hospital Medicine


Dr. Nathan Goldfein
 
Despite my parents being told that I would probably not make it in college, I did go and chose a career in mechanical engineering. However, at nearly 40, two life-changing experiences changed my mind.

The first was being in a situation where I wanted to help someone but couldn’t. I was on a flight when a passenger had a heart attack. I felt helpless because I didn’t know how to help him. It was an awful feeling. The second was a lingering regret from earlier in my life. In 1986, when I was designing and manufacturing air brake systems, NFL players went on strike. I was playing Texas League football. I wanted to try out for the Houston Oilers, but didn’t. I always regretted not trying and vowed not to ever let that happen again. The bottom line was that I was interested in medicine and didn’t want another opportunity to pass me by. Although I was sure I wouldn’t get into medical school, let alone finish, I didn’t want to fast-forward to my 70s, sitting in a rocking chair, filled with another regret about a chance I didn’t take because I was afraid of failure.

Looking back, I know that I’m a better physician because of my engineering background. My advice for those thinking about a career in medicine is simple: You’ll regret what you don’t do more than what you do. It’s always better to try and fail then play it safe and never take the risk.
 
Dr. Ed Eppler
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Ed Eppler
I’d like to say that medicine was a lifelong dream to serve others, but in realty I think it’s as simple as both of my parents worked in hospitals while I was growing up, and I followed in my their footsteps. I chose emergency medicine while rotating on a required family practice clerkship and admitting ER patients to our service. It was an instant love affair.
Dr. Eric Schuck
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Eric Schuck
I decided to become a doctor to serve others. I chose pediatric emergency medicine because I love caring for children and families. They are vital to our future!
Dr. Daniel Smith
Anesthesiology


Dr. Daniel Smith
Originally I wanted to become a surgeon, but after my intern year I found I really just liked being in the OR taking care of patients.
 

Dr. Cesar Aristeiguieta
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Cesar Aristeiguieta

I was a police officer and EMT. I worked with EM residents at Kern Medical Center and became interested in becoming an emergency physician. I thought they were cool people and wanted to be “part of the club.”
Dr. Nicole Haig Jasper
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Nicole Jasper
 

I decided to become a physician because I am a “people person” and I have an innate desire to see people happy and healthy.

I choose emergency medicine for several reasons. The great lifestyle, when my shift is over I leave work at work, as well as the intensity and the diversity. Emergency medicine is ever changing; it’s like a box of chocolates – never know what you are going to get. I can't really predict what my day is going to be like,  which is a huge factor in what keeps me motivated to go back to the ED each day. I'm also a people person. I love meeting new people every day. I meet their family and friends, hear their stories and learn some of their most intimate details within moments. I love that interaction. But above all, I get immense personal satisfaction when I know I've made a positive difference in the lives of my patients.

Dr. Jeff Davidson
Emergency Medicine


Dr. Jeff Davidson
I had many positive influences when I was younger that opened my thoughts to becoming a physician. My father practiced podiatry and was a great influence on both me and my sister, who practices anesthesia. I learned that the practice of medicine was a lifelong commitment of learning, training and practicing. I was drawn to the idea that you would continually need to challenge yourself to stay atop of practicing medicine. I knew that my personality and drive were ideally suited to becoming a physician and committing to taking care of others.
 
Dr. Ije Akunyili
Emergency Medicine

Dr. Ije Akunyili

 
Medicine is a second career for me. I started off working in economic policy and development for the World Bank. I became a doctor because I felt like I couldn't change the trajectory of world poverty but I could help one patient at a time. I walked into the emergency department my first week in medical school and never looked back.
Dr. Brian Haas
Hospital Medicine

Dr. Brian Haas
I decided to become a doctor after I was told that I had a heart condition during my senior year sports physical in high school. I was initially told I was not allowed to do anything strenuous, until more testing had been done. I remember being terrified and wishing that I understood more of what was going on. At that point I decided that I needed to become a doctor so that I could understand myself as well as to help others to be less afraid than I had been.
Dr. Kathryn Cullen
Hospital Medicine

Dr. Kathryn Cullen
I always wanted to help people and my mother was a nurse, so she sparked my interest in medicine as a way to do it.
   

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