1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello everyone! My name is Bri’Ana Gardiner originally from Shreveport, LA but now a resident of Houston, TX. Currently, I attend the University of Houston Downtown as a post-bac, while also working full-time as a Research Coordinator for UT Health. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human development/family studies and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Throughout my college career I have always been actively involved in research. First within the psychology realm focusing on children and young adults with anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Then moving into the medical devices research for vascular and cardiothoracic surgery. When I have free time I enjoy giving some of my time back to my community through volunteering. I also enjoy traveling and doing anything that involves being outdoors.
2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? My favorite teacher was Ms. Marshall. She was my 4th grade elementary teacher and the first teacher I ever told that I wanted to be a doctor. I still remember her response saying, “You know what you will be a great doctor one day, so do not let that dream die no matter what anyone says”. I was so hard on myself and still am when I do not get things quickly, but she always figured out a way to teach things in multiple ways, so that everyone could understand and excel. The environment she created within the class was one of empowerment and resilience. Till this day I thank Ms. Marshall for building part of my drive I have today.
3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? To this day my mother and father have said I always said I wanted to be a doctor, even when I was young. To this day that has never changed, I started my college career as a pre-med student. However, life happened and that plan became derailed for a little while. The reason I wanted to be a doctor back then is because I wanted to help people. Now it’s even more than that, I have experience being on the side where my mother was the patient and I had to discuss with her doctors what the next plan of action was to getting her well. That experience just opened the door to make me want to be on the other side talking to patients and their family on what I think the next steps should be and to help everyone understand and be comfortable with their medical decision. My why and goal is to not only be a physician but also an advocate for my future patients.
4. What area of medicine are you interested in? I am in love with surgery! I get excited every time I walk to the operating room. So of course surgery, specifically trauma surgery is what I am most interested in. However, I am keeping my mind open to other possibilities the farther I go into this path.
5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? In my current position I have the opportunity to shadow the surgeons in clinic and in the OR. Well the coolest experience I had so far was when I went to my first surgery at my job. I was able to learn so much not only from the attending but from the fellows and residents as well. I saw the importance of making sure the patient completely understands what you will be doing to them, while also having the empathy to know it is a scary process for them. I was able to watch anesthesiologist prepare the patient for the surgery by giving them general anesthesia. Each physician, nurse, and tech working together to save this patients life. It is an experience that I will never forget and an image that will be another motivating factor that I will carry throughout my journey.
6. What is your favorite book? I do not have one favorite book but the book that I read most recently was Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. I enjoyed reading this so much, that it only took me a couple of hours to finish it. I love reading which is why I cannot just choose one book as my favorite.
7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I love to write poetry, in high school one of my poems was actually published. I have not been able to write recently due to my busy schedule, which I definitely miss and need to make the time for again. However I do still try to be a regular at poetry slams that are happening around the city. Writing or hearing the emotions behind every word, it is electrifying experience.
8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? I would be a psychologist, I find mental health and health go hand in hand. When you are treating a patient it is not just the symptoms that we as future physician should just look at but other aspects in the patient’s life that may be contributing to their decline in health. Also if you had not guessed it already, being a psychologist was my Plan B.
9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? My biggest obstacle as a premed was coming back to this journey. I know for a while I did not feel like I was worthy to ever be called a doctor or even go through the process of becoming a doctor. Then my mother fell ill, so life threw some hard rocks and boulders at me. It took me a while to finally shake them off and tell myself that I am the only one who can stand in my way of my dreams. I had tried my Plan B and was not fulfilled, even still having medicine always on my mind. So now here I am again a non-traditional pre-med student.
10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR? The opportunities to network with other individuals on the same journey as I am. It is always nice when you see what others are going through on their journey and their successes they have achieves. In addition, I find the discussions and webinars that are posted from Dr. Dale and other members on the site to be beneficial and motivating.
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