"Samruddhi was never fighting her battles alone; Dr. Washington fought them with her."
If there was one thing that Samruddhi wanted more than anything else, it was to become a doctor. While she was on her way to achieving that dream, the young aspirant moved to the United States in 2019 with her husband. And the pandemic brought an abrupt stop to her plans, especially when observerships were no longer permitted.
Then she was introduced to Dr. Washignton through his online website promising hands-on experience & immense clinical exposure, and she finally had the hope to pursue her lifelong dream. The young doctor started off as a timid participant who was hesitant to speak up and even more scared of being wrong. Her fear of failure prevented her from reaching her full potential. But, that gradually changed with Dr. Washington's encouragement.
As an IMG, Samruddhi also struggled with the cultural aspects of being a medical professional in the US, as she lacked knowledge about its unspoken rules. Dr. Washington's hands-on training allowed all the participants, virtual or physical, to get a detailed perspective on US healthcare and guidance around navigating it, providing a unique learning opportunity through active participation and guidance around navigating it.
Samruddhi's favorite part was active learning, where Dr. Washington would deliver small lectures between patients to help the externs keep up. The remote and on-site students would equally benefit from those little bursts of detailed information during the sessions. He would often grant the externs the autonomy to interact with patients and build experience. Additionally, all participants were encouraged to give a presentation on interesting medical subjects that helped with boosting confidence.
She also admired his work ethic—Dr. Washington was very gentle and patient with his patients. He cared for them beyond their ailment and would offer his time and attention to counsel them in the best way possible. This value is something Samruddhi wishes to carry ahead in her profession.
She was especially appreciative of Dr. Washington's teaching technique, where the externs were encouraged to participate, contribute, fail, and learn. For somebody who had struggled with low confidence, Samruddhi felt that her mentor never caused her, or any of the externs, any angst about "getting the answer right." He would often tell them that not knowing or having the "right" answer is nothing to be ashamed of because it's an inevitable part of the learning process. He always pushed them to be confident and do their best and not allow themselves to be inhibited by performance anxiety.
Being in Dr. Washington's classes made Samruddhi realize, as he would tell her, that no one is incapable; they only lack the confidence to do their best. The only thing holding her back was her self-imposed inhibitions that Dr. Washington helped her overcome.
He had confidence in the students who made it to his clinic because he could see that they were deserving. Dr. Washington always saw the best in his students, and he wanted and helped each of them see it too.
Eventually, Samrrhudi found her voice and had the confidence to express her ideas comfortably. And doing so helped her when it mattered most- during the residency interviews.