I’ve been a pediatrician for 29 years – all of those at GHPA. When I started practicing I was the only female pediatrician in a group practice in Nashville. Now more than half of all new pediatricians are women.
What were you like as a child? (Any favorite activities or strong personality traits?)
As a child, I was extremely curious and asked lots of questions (I was told my first “word” was “whatzat?”). I loved being outside in nature, turning over rocks to see the bugs underneath, playing in the creek and walking in the woods. I’ve always loved to draw and make things with my hands.
What inspired you to become a pediatrician?
I wanted to be a doctor to help people and to make a difference (I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s), but I was also fascinated with science and the human body. During high school, I worked as a ward secretary on the OB/GYN floor at the university of Mississippi Medical Center, and loved it. I went to medical school thinking I wanted to be an OB/GYN, but realized it was the babies who interested me more than the labor and delivery process.
Children fascinate me. They have the usual illness and injuries that adults do, but they are always changing. Their growth, development and behavior make them much more interesting to me than adults. They heal faster than adults, they’re funnier than adults and they are rarely impressed by their doctors!
What do you enjoy most about being a pediatrician?
I love taking care of a child from infancy through childhood, adolescence and into young adulthood. I love the continuity. Since I’ve been practicing so long, I have many “grand-children” in my practice. Knowing a family through two or three generations is fantastic.
What important lessons have you learned since being a pediatrician?
An important lesson is to keep an open mind and never stop learning. Listen to your patients. I think you will be a much better doctor if you do. Also, surround yourself with good colleagues. I learn so much everyday by being in a practice with excellent partners and staff.
What is your top piece of advice for parents?
Top advice to parents? Relax, if you can. Every year, it seems like parents get more and more pressure to raise the perfect child. That sure takes the fun out of parenting.
What is one fact that most people don’t know about you?
Something people don’t know about me? I’m mostly a southern girl, but have lived in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and New Jersey as well as Tennessee. I’ll travel anywhere you’ll buy me a plane ticket.
What additional information do you want people to know?
If I had it to do all over again, would I still choose to go to medical school and become a pediatrician? Absolutely! No question.