When selecting your career path in medical school, how did you come to decide on Internal Medicine?
I decided on Internal Medicine because it felt right. Initially, I had a lot of difficulty in deciding because no one in my family is in medicine for guidance. I am also originally from Vietnam, where medicine does not have the multitude of options and pathways for further education. After a lot of self-reflection, I feel that I was most happy and true to myself when I was on Internal Medicine as a medical student. The decision then felt very natural. I like being the primary provider, coordinating care for my patients. As long as I get to have meaningful interactions with my patients, my day is fulfilling, no matter how busy I am.
What drew you to Mayo Clinic for your residency training?
My interview day at Mayo Clinic was one of the most memorable. Having lived half the world away from my family for almost one-third of my life, finding the right “fit” for residency, where I feel most at ease, was important to me. I came to Rochester a full day before my interview day, met with a current trainee who then drove me to Pho Chau because I wanted to try the Vietnamese food in town. The Mayo residents who were alumni from my medical school sought me out, gave me a personal tour, and answered any and all of my questions to my heart’s content. All of the residents I met at the interview dinner and during the interview day seemed to know and genuinely care for each other, despite the bigger size of the program. Of course, the interview day is usually a quick snapshot that can easily be biased. However, I found that my snapshot of the Mayo interview day to be a true representation of what I now have and appreciate so much in my life: a very supportive group of colleagues at work, and friends outside of work.
How has training as a resident at Mayo Clinic allowed you to continue your work on trainee wellness?
I am on the Internal Medicine Residency Council (IMRC), where we meet to discuss issues and concerns facing the program. A lot of that discussion ties into trainee wellness. We talk about everything from food options at noon conferences, work-life balance on certain rotations, ways to improve trainee schedules to allow flexibility, to pet therapy time for trainees, and extracurricular activities. Outside of work, we have potluck and board game nights for the game aficionados, ultimate frisbee Fridays, soccer on Wednesdays and Sundays, trivia nights at local pubs. Despite the busy intern schedule, I feel lucky to have time to contribute, participate, and keep these events going!
What are some of the things you most enjoy doing to maintain your own wellness throughout residency?
I like feeding other people, and many of my friends are very good at eating. So when I have time, I go grocery shopping and make Vietnamese or Korean food. When the weather is nice out, I like going to frisbee Fridays. I also enjoy taking part in our infamous Fitness Challenges to stay active.
Is there anything that surprised you about Mayo Clinic?
I am surprised by how down-to-earth people are here, including consultants, all staff members, and colleagues who are very accomplished and recognized worldwide.
Is there anything that surprised you about Rochester?
I am surprised that there are 3 Asian grocery stores within 15 minutes of driving from where I live, that I can live within walking distance from work, that I can live comfortably without having to pay a fortune for rent, that all my friends are close by, that the winter is survivable and the summer is really nice, and that I have been more active outdoors than I have ever been in my life!
What are your plans following residency/where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have not set my mind on what I want to be when I “grow up” yet. Part of it is because I tend to like everything. I can see myself being happy doing Critical Care Medicine, General Internal Medicine, or a some other subspecialty. In 10 years, I envision myself spending some of my time in Vietnam, in order to contribute to healthcare there in some capacity. I will definitely still be cooking and inviting people over to eat!