A quick sit down question and answer session with Dr. Noman A. Siddiqui.
Q1: Is there an example or memorable time during residency when you felt burnt out, overwhelmed, frustrated, or second-guessing your career choice?
I like this question. It is something every resident, junior attending and/or senior attending can relate with. I do not recall feeling burnt out or second-guessing my career choice. However, in my first year, we covered Orthopaedic and Podiatry surgery on-call for 7 days, every 3 weeks. During those weeks, on-call could get very busy with ortho/podiatry trauma. It would get very overwhelming at times, and I was constantly reminding myself that the decisions I take medically can have a significant impact on a patient. Luckily, I had great co-residents. Their companionship and mentorship helped me get through those difficult first few months, transitioning from student to resident. After that, it became a lot less daunting.
Q2: What was your WHY or motivation during residency? What kept you through those late nights or early mornings?
There were two motivating factors. The first motivator: I had to scramble into the residency program I was fortunate enough to end up with. I used that rejection of not matching to make sure I made the most of my future residency education. The second motivator was very simple: Loans. Many of us are in student loan debt. I had enough school debt to remind me that I cannot miss this opportunity, or I’ll be in big trouble in 3 years.
Q3: What is the most memorable quote or advice that was given to you?
“Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew it.”
My residency director said that to me once.
Q4: What happened over that period of 3 years to make it so successful and fulfilling, both personally and professionally?
I was blessed with co-residents, attendings, and a director that truly cared for us. I came in feeling like an outsider (remember, I scrambled to Scranton, PA. Never heard of it before then) and left feeling like a part of a special fraternity. This experience had a major impact on my professional and personal life.
Q5: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself while you were in residency, especially during the hard times?
To borrow a favorite quote.
“You know nothing, John Snow”.
Everything is a function of time. Things I found hard in the past, have become easy now, and that process is continuous. So not getting down in those moments when things get hard but to remind ourselves that if I stick to a task of improving, I will get it and with time, it will be easier.
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Interview by Roberto De Los Santos
Special Edition, Medical School, Literature Review
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