Year in Training: 1st Year Resident (PGY-1)
Residency: Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
Medical School: The University of Kansas
Specialty Interest: Pediatrics
Undergraduate Majors: Health Science Studies
Undergraduate Minors: Medical Humanities
Follow Brittany: @britt_bruce on Instagram
What's your story?
Hi guys! My name is Brittany, and I’m a first year pediatric resident physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital! This year has been a whirlwind so thank you for the opportunity to sit and reflect on my journey with you! As a kid, I mean as young as 3rd grade, I wanted to be a “baby doctor”. Then I started running track and I wanted to be an Olympian. Then I found a love for drawing and painting and wanted to be an artist. So ya know, things changed!
My mother is a radiation therapist, giving radiation therapy to cancer patients. My dad worked in the cath lab for many years before entering medical sales. Growing up, I was in awe of their stories from work. My mom being able to help give treatments to cure her patients from cancer. My dad getting called into work on Christmas morning to emergently help perform an interventional procedure on a man who had a severe heart attack. I saw the emotional toll the medical field took on them, along with the extreme joy and satisfaction they got from their job.
I knew I wanted to be able to change families’ lives the way my parents had.
I ran track year-round as a teen, winning the AAU Nationals in the 400m at age 16 and receiving a full-ride scholarship to run track for Baylor University. Because I absolutely loved science in high school and had the lingering desire to enter the medical field, I chose Health Science Studies as my major and started down the pre-med route. Later developing an interest in medical ethics, I picked up a minor in Medical Humanities.
Being a Division 1 athlete and a pre-med was incredibly tough. I discovered that my love for both track and medicine required me to give my all in both… and I did. I was captain of the Women’s Track & Field team and worked equally as hard to make sure I excelled in my schoolwork as well. I was able to volunteer at several hospitals during the late summers after our season had ended and discovered that although there’s many careers in healthcare, I wanted to be a physician.
It’s been a long and tough road. And the journey still isn’t over. But being able to finally be a doctor to my patients and be apart of their lives in such a special and unique way has made the journey so sweet and worth it.
What are your #doctorgoals?
I’m still deciding on what exactly I want to pursue within the field of pediatrics. Hopefully I’ll have that settled out by the end of intern year. My #doctorgoals right now are aiming to be the best doctor I can be for my patients and their families and following my God-given passions and strengths to leave a lasting impact on my families and my community for years to come.
What advice can you give to a medical student interested in pediatrics?
The field of pediatrics is so fun and rewarding! Pediatricians are some of the most thoughtful, warm-hearted spirits and we are lucky to care for both the healthy babies and the extremely sick little ones as well. Identify good mentors that can help you decide if pediatrics is the perfect fit for you, do pediatric electives in 4th year to get more exposure, and utilize those that can help you to navigate the application process. Also, be yourself on the interview trail. This applies to any specialty, but especially in peds…we love personality!
How have you been able to balance medical school and now residency with a relationship?
It is not easy by any means. Clifton (my fiancé) and I have been in a long distance relationship for the past few years and both have extremely time consuming jobs (he’s a college football coach). What makes it easier is that he’s my best friend and we understand each other’s hectic schedules, our stressors, and what’s important to us.
Trust, sacrifice, understanding, and communication are all essential.
We’re now in the process of planning our wedding, which is such an exciting time. It’s just a fun time for us right now.
We are lucky to have each other…
There are not many Division I pre-med collegiate athletes. How did you balance athletics with your academics and be successful in both?
This is why I was so excited to connect with you, Dr. Trot! You were one as well!
Balancing athletics and academics was indeed a tough thing to do. I often tell people that I was the most organized and focused not during medical school, but during undergrad. I sometimes wish I could channel the energy and purpose-driven behaviors that I had then!
An example of a typical day during off-season would be…
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM:
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM:
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM:
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM:
2:15 PM – 3:00 PM:
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM:
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM:
6:00 PM – 6:45 PM:
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM:
8:30 PM – 11:00 PM:
Wake up, eat breakfast at the cafeteria
Attend my classes for the day, making sure to finish my 3 pre-practice water bottles.
Eat lunch while I made my to-do list/homework list for the day. Change clothes for practice.
Leave for practice
Pre-workout treatment (stretches, leg massage, heat pads, etc). This time was perfect for beginning my studies with either reviewing notecards or going over my notes while I got my legs worked on. I also had audio recordings of lectures that I would listen to during this time.
Track practice (*death*)
Post-workout treatment (foam rolling, stretching, hydration, check in with the trainers)
Go home, shower, eat dinner, catch up with friends, etc.
Study and do homework! How long I stayed up really depended on how much I had to do.
During the season, we would often miss Thursdays & Fridays of every week requiring me to be in close contact with my professors about my assignments, missed lectures, making up work, etc. I got in the habit of recording lectures on my phone in my tougher classes so I could listen to them on the bus or while warming up at practice or track meets.
The best things I took away from those years was :
The value in setting goals for myself
How to be efficient
How to organize my time
How to work relentlessly for what I wanted to achieve
Being able to graduate from Baylor as a 4x All American, 4×100 record holder, with an acceptance letter to medical school was the absolute sweetest feeling.
The ridiculously exhausting workouts, the late nights studying… it was all worth it.
What tips can you give to someone who strives to become a pre-med collegiate athlete?
You have to be ready to work twice as hard as you would have otherwise. Both your professors and coaches will demand 100% of you with no excuses. I brought my MCAT books to track meets leading up to my test. I had lectures on mp3 files so I could listen to lectures while I warmed up if I had a class exam coming up.
You’ll have to become creative and find ways to make it work.
What I WILL say is that the experience has helped me more than I could have ever imagined in being successful not only in medicine, but in my everyday life. Leadership, goal setting, multitasking, having friend groups that were both complete book nerds and complete jocks lol…it all came together and taught me how to tackle life, one stride at a time. It’s an experience I didn’t truly value until years later. You will be busy, but it’s an experience that’s truly unmatched. Nothing compares!
Special Thank You
Dr. Trot here! I’m beyond overjoyed by the growing support of DoctorGoals, and I’m so excited for what’s around the corner (*wink wink*). When I was in college balancing my busy basketball schedule with my demanding pre-med curriculum, I often felt like I was being pulled in multiple directions. It’s not easy being a pre-med student-athlete and many people will tell you it’s not possible.
Oh, but it is!
Years out from my “hoop days”, I get SO excited when I meet a former collegiate athlete who also has #doctorgoals, so I could not WAIT to feature Brittany. We wanted to show that yes, you can chase your dreams, no matter how big, and be successful.
Brittany and I compiled our top 10 tips to help you as you chase your #doctorgoals whether it be on the track, on the basketball court, or as a busy student just trying to figure out this “pre-med thing”. Enter your name and email address below and you’ll get a little “somethin’ somethin'” sent to your inbox in seconds…