Sunday, October 7, 2012

GUEST POST: How I got into pediatric sports medicine

Dr Nailah Coleman (pictured here) writes:

Not many know about the field of pediatric sports medicine. I must admit that as little as 10 years ago I was one of those people. How, in less than 10 years’ time, did I go from a pediatric resident to a pediatric sports medicine attending? Here is my story…

Even as a young, athletic child, I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician. I’m not sure if it was an innate desire or if I was influenced by my weekly visits to the allergist or similarly frequent visits to the emergency room for asthma exacerbations and reactions to food allergies. I just knew that I was meant to help other kids like me.

When I finished residency, I thought, “Finally, I am a pediatrician. Now what?” That was the big question, and something I encourage all medical trainees to consider. What will you do after residency? Fellowship? What will your days and weeks be like? It is important to think about and to plan for now, even if that plan changes, which it likely will. It did for me.

My “Now what?” led me to work in our hospital’s Information Technology (IT) department, helping to design, build, test, teach, and implement our computerized provider order entry system. It was a great experience, and I think the career sidebar has served me well. I not only learned the process of implementing a multi-million dollar system, I also learned about the inner workings of our hospital, as well as the direct and indirect effects of the regulatory environment on our actions. I came away as not just a practicing pediatrician—I maintained a limited medical practice during that time—but a practicing pediatrician with a more encompassing understanding of the medical world in which I worked.

During my time in IT, I had the opportunity to participate in a variety of our hospital’s conferences and workshops, including our case conference which we call “Professorial Rounds.” During one Prof Rounds, our expert speaker was a pediatrician with an added qualification in sports medicine. I remember thinking, “How did she get into the sports medicine specialty? That sounds like fun!” After she had given her talk, I rushed to speak with her and set up a meeting.

After our talk, I had my answer. My future changed that day, as I knew pediatric sports medicine was meant for me...

STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE POSTS by Dr Coleman and find out what she actually does!

Dr Coleman earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at Emory and then completed her pediatric residency here at Children's National. Once she learned sports medicine was for her, she went on to fellowship training at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Georgia, and then returned to Children's National as a sports medicine attending.  I hear that she likes to play as well.

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