Resident Spotlight: Dr. Nathan Usry

Get to know Dr. Nathan Usry, second year internal medicine resident, soon-to-be new dad, and avid fantasy football fan.

Why did you choose UMMC for residency?

I think it all came down to the leadership. On my interview trail almost everywhere boasted large fellowship match percentages, fair compensation/meal plans, and calculated didactic training- but I had trouble finding a Dr. Thigpen, Dr. Horn, Dr. Henson or any of the APDs to trust my training with. I’ve been told that the way you end up practicing medicine is a reflection or collection of skills of those who have trained you- I hope I’m so lucky.

Tell us about a memorable experience from training.

On my first ward month as an upper level, we had a patient with advanced heart failure present with shortness of breath. She was diuresed in the ED and had no oxygen requirement, so I was struggling to find a reason to admit her, but a random lactate came back marginally elevated along with a calcium just above normal. We brought her in for work-up and closer observation. In ten days, the patient passed away after being diagnosed with an advanced lymphoma that was diagnosed several days into admission. Though I think everything medically was done appropriately, I think her story will stick with many of us for a long while.

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

Fantasy football- there’s a lot of nuance in drafting the perfect team. Now the type of league you’re in greatly affects draft strategy –ppr, ½ ppr, or no ppr- but there’s a great art in drafting an elite TE early. Travis Kelce, George Kittle are going to rake in 11-16 points any given week while the Dawson Knox’s may have a big game every 3-4 games. Everybody goes for a running back early, which is fine if you want to finish at a neat 3rd or 4th in the league. I’m in 5 leagues and am usually very busy on Sunday afternoons.

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

I kind of came in on the later end as a trainee, but in medical school I think the biggest thing I took away, at least for inpatient medicine, is never assume how sick you think someone is. It can flip on a dime.

What are some small things that make your day better?

That first sip of coffee after my morning shower. The cafeteria hallway in the morning when Subway is baking bread. My golden retriever running to me when I get out of my truck after a long day and my wife right behind him.

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

In Belhaven at a neighbor’s house or at the new brewery. Playing soccer with old friends. In Starkville at the Junction on a fall Saturday. Lately, in our nursery putting something together.

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

I actually put this on my personal statement when applying for residency- I’d be a detective. Not really that different from medicine except for the magnifying glass and handgun. If not a detective, an investigative or sports journalist.

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