Resident Spotlight. Dr. Rachel Mullins

Get to know Dr. Rachel Mullins, native Virginian, PGY-2 in internal medicine, and bread baker extraordinaire.

Why did you choose UMMC for residency?

I was looking for something different from my previous experiences. Until my intern year, I had spent my entire life in Virginia. I applied all over the east coast, looking for a program that provided diverse pathology in addition to people I could call family. I found that here.

Tell us about a memorable experience from training.

This is a hard one! So many memories come to mind from the last year and a half. I think the most memorable was my first code blue. I was an intern on my last house month, and my upper level let me run this code as practice with him by my side. Unfortunately, it was a patient we did not expect to deteriorate so quickly. We had called multiple other services to help us, so there were a lot of doctors in the room. Jackson Ross, one of our ICU fellows, my upper-level Adrian Sims, two surgeons, and I think one of the ICU attendings came toward the end. I was nervous, but I followed the algorithm and was ready to ask for help when I needed it. Unfortunately, the patient did not survive, but I am thankful for this experience. I had the best group of people around supporting me through the code, and they gave me excellent feedback after. It gave me the confidence I needed to run every code since.

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

There will be many days when you feel like you just weren’t good enough or smart enough or quick enough. That’s not true. The patients are fortunate to have you taking care of them, and as long as you put them first and work hard, you’ve done your job.

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

How to make fantastic homemade sourdough bread and keep a starter going. My mom and I made this together every Christmas throughout my childhood.

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

I think we have all learned to triage and deal with urgencies and emergencies more efficiently. We haven’t had all the resources we’ve needed during the worst parts of this pandemic, but we have always found a way to treat the patient in front of us. Problem solving is a great skill to have.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Every morning when my husband tells me to have a fun day, a cup of flavored coffee from Cups in the afternoon, seeing my friends in the halls of the hospital, and when a patient thanks me for taking care of them.

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

In the warm months, I’m usually doing yard work or happy hour on one of the local patios. During the winter, I’d be curled up on the couch with a hot cup of tea. 

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

I seriously considered being a math teacher for a while. The satisfaction of getting the to the right answer after a long calculus problem is wonderful. That probably sounds incredibly geeky, but true!

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