Tiffani Chang Tiffani Chang, PA-S

Last winter, a video uploaded on YouTube went viral with over a million views. This popular video showed a small cub climbing up a steep, snow-covered slope in Eastern Russia. The cub repeatedly slips and falls down the treacherous slope as its mother waits at the top of the slope. This heart-wrenching, thrilling video shows the cub’s never-ending perseverance to succeed.  

As I reflect on my first year of PA school, I look back and picture myself as this cub throughout the year, constantly struggling and falling down. With the daily grind of lectures, assignments and exams, I wrestled with stress, fatigue, and discouragement as the intensity of the program persisted. I thought about what I need to prepare, what I need to study, and what I did not know. But like this cub, I had an incredible support system of classmates, family, friends, and Duke PA faculty — my mama and papa bears — that helped me keep my eyes set toward the top and remember my "why."

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Clayton Cooper, MD, MBA Clayton Cooper, MD, MBA

Each day I care for patients at Duke Family Medicine Center, in the hospital, or occasionally in a nursing home or a patient’s own home. While each individual’s story is unique, over time I have begun to see patterns in my patients:

  • Delays in seeking care due to not being able afford a high deductible leading to emergency or hospital care.
  • Inability to pay for medications due to skyrocketing costs.
  • Traveling long distances to seek medical care due to the shortage of primary care physicians.   

As a family physician, I can make a difference on a one-on-one level by helping to keep my patients healthy and address their concerns when ill, but I can also use my voice to speak on behalf of my patients to prevent the patterns I see time and time again. 

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Linh Nguyen, MD Linh Nguyen, MD

While scanning through the peer evaluations at my recent semi-annual review, I happened upon the following comment:

“She appears to be Teflon to the daily frustrations of being a resident physician.”

I was flattered and immediately inspired by this observation. Did I hold the secrets to solving the physician burnout health crisis, and if so, wouldn’t that be an exciting thing to share with readers in my upcoming blog post?

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Mowita Kensinger Mowita Kensinger, PA-S

A memory that I often think back on is that of being a young girl on my neighbor’s farm, peering out over the pasture, searching my thoughts for the reason that my heart did not quite feel settled. I did this often and could always trace it back to a feeling of excitement and joy, or worry and fear. Sometimes that fear was proportional to my stature: would I have to go home before the cows came in for the night and not get to sit on Queeny, the friendly white heifer, while she milked?

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Katherine Lee, MD, MSPH Katherine Lee, MD, MSPH

I knew residency would be difficult. The profound degree of new responsibility, steep learning curves, and long hours of caring for patients and charting are all challenges I anticipated. I was most surprised, however, by the unique challenge of training away from my specialty. We call this time “off-service” — periods when we rotate within non-family medicine specialties like pediatrics, internal medicine, and even surgery.

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