Resident Spotlight: Dr. Sydney West

Dr. Sydney West, Mississippi native and PGY-2 internal medicine resident, shares with us why she chose UMMC for residency, why she’d do it again, and some of her favorite memories thus far in training.

Why did you choose UMMC for residency?

It was absolutely because of the people – from the patients to the faculty and staff. We have the privilege of taking care of a very underserved population, and I’m always blown away by how appreciative they are of the care they receive. The faculty and staff are kind and welcoming, and it really does feel like a family unit. When I look back on my decision to stay here and train after medical school, there hasn’t been a single day that I’ve regretted that choice. The people here make it easy to fall in love with the program and the state, and I can’t imaging being anywhere else.

Tell us about a memorable experience from training.

At the beginning of PGY-1 year, I became the PCP of one of the sweetest patients. In the fall of 2020, she was diagnosed with COVID-19. I would be lying if I said I thought she was going to do well in the hospital – she had several comorbidities, and I had already become a bit jaded and fatigued from COVID-19 (A little early since I was only a couple of months in to training, I know!). Her hospital course was extremely complicated and included multiple cardiac arrests, acute renal failure, and tracheostomy placement. She spent almost two months in the ICU before being discharged to an LTAC facility. Over a year later, she is at home and doing really, really well! My entire day is made every time I get to see her in clinic – her story is a bright spot in the midst of what has been a very challenging, dark time.

What is one thing you would tell the incoming interns about what is to come?

Each day will be a humbling experience, in one way or another, and you’ll often feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. At the end of the year, though, you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come – even if you still have a lot further to go!

What could you give a presentation on with absolutely no preparation? 

The importance of a 10 step skincare routine. 

How has COVID-19 changed the way you practice medicine?

More than anything, I think it’s taught me to slow down when I’m with patients. Being in the hospital can be unfamiliar and terrifying. Taking a few extra minutes to talk with your patients or their families – whether that’s about their medical problems, the treatment plan, or their life outside of the hospital – is really important and helps put them at ease. I think that, in the midst of our busy days, we often forget that our patients are more than just their diseases, diagnoses, and discharge plans – they are people with hopes, fears, and dreams.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Coffee, music in the workroom, and free lunch.

Where could we find you when you are not at the hospital?

Most likely happy hour with Lauren Bradley, Mindy Talley, Rachel Mullins, Spurthi Tarugu, and Colleen Drapcho. 

What profession would you have chosen if you weren’t a physician?

Probably interior design! I really enjoy the process of taking a raw space and making it into something beautiful. I love furniture, fabrics, architecture, and figuring out how different design elements work together to create a cohesive space.

One of many happy hours with Mindy, Spurthi, Rachel, Lauren, and Colleen!

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