MEDELITA is proud to celebrate National Doctor’s Day because it provides an opportunity to recognize physicians nationwide for their tireless commitment to providing excellent patient care. Our Ambassador MDs are a distinguished and resilient group of physicians that deserve recognition, and so throughout the month, we are featuring many through online features, social media takeovers and videos. Dr. Tommy Martin MD, a Meds-Peds resident physician from Arkansas, shares with us what this special day means to him through some of the most memorable experiences of his life.
WHY DID YOU GO INTO MEDICINE?
I decided to pursue medicine because of my burning passion to help others. Yes, you can do this in a million different ways than pursuing medicine, but after a mission trip to Sierra Leone I knew becoming a doctor was what I was supposed to do. On this mission trip, I could see disease stricken areas around the world that needed help, that needed a doctor. While, I was still young on the journey I could not contribute much Medical on this trip but rather give my time, energy, and love. It was on this trip where I had an encounter with a little boy that changed my life forever. I remember it so vividly. This young boy approached me and said, “Doctor, doctor will you help fix me and my mom.” Just a first-year university student I obviously could not treat any medical ailment that either of them had. Sadly, I had to utter the words that, “I am sorry, but I cannot.” The boy gave me a sad but sideways smile and said, “It is ok, I know you will come back one day and heal us.” That is when my mind shifted, no longer was I torn between becoming a doctor and other careers, my mind was set, my heart was full, and I knew becoming a doctor was the only career for me.
WHAT IS A PASSION PROJECT OF YOURS?
I am very passion about health, fitness, medicine, faith, and community. I am active on social media accounts: Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube with the goal to encourage people to pursue their goals with endless love and relentless passion. I am active in my local church and have great passion for overseas mission work, most recent my wife and I served in Bomet, Kenya at Tenwek Hospital. With fitness, I run a personal training business with hopes of encouraging medical professionals to not sacrifice their own health while providing great care to improve the health of others. I also have many individual fitness goals that I hope to achieve in this upcoming year. Lastly, I am part of the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Med-Peds Residents Association, and The American College of Physicians.
WHAT IS AN AWARENESS CAMPAIGN THAT IS MOST PERSONAL TO YOU & WHY?
The awareness campaign and organization that is most personal to me is the St. Jude Children Research Hospital. As a fourth year, medical I had the opportunity to work a couple pediatric hematology and oncology rotations. Although not at St. Jude, I developed an incredible passion for treating and healing those with cancer. There was a patient that I will never forget. She was receiving treatment and although she was sick most days and extremely tired she would still always greet me with the biggest hug and smile. I remember one circumstance where she was probably sicker than I have ever been and she walked up to me and said, “Dr. Tommy, I bet you cannot dance as good as me,” Those who now me, know that I do not dance. But I could not let this little girl out dance me in front of everyone at the hospital. So, it was on, a dance off. I must say this was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life but it was so worth it to see her dancing through her illness. Through these experiences all organizations that fight to end childhood cancer and cancer in general have become a great passion of mine. St. Jude is an incredible organization and hospital that puts tremendous amount of research, resources, and time in finding cures and treating cancer.
WHAT ARE 2 FUN FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF?
I ran with Giraffes in Kenya after serving at Tenwek Hospital. I signed up for and completed an Ironman during my intern year of residency after 16 weeks of training with the goal of encouraging other medical professionals to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN YOUR CAREER OR LIFE & WHY?
My mother is definitely the most influential person in my life. When we were growing up our family did not have the most money. Neither my mother or father graduated high school which meant entrepreneurship and working extremely hard. I remember days my mom would come home after working a hard labor job; covered in dirt head to toe and painted with black grease. It wouldn’t be 30 minutes later and she would be showered, changed, dinner made, and getting us ready for bed. My mother was relentless in pursuit to help us have everything we needed and teach us what was important in life. Even when our family fell apart due personal issues, my mom was there working to provide for us, encouraging us to become all that we could become, and teaching us what true love and hard work looks like. I am forever grateful for my mother and all that she has taught me. I would not have been able to become a doctor if it were not for the lessons she taught me.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO FUTURE MDS?
Do not forget of what is ultimate importance, caring for your patients or as a medical student your future patients. In medical school and residency, it is too easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down with studying, exams, documentation, etc. There will be a constant pull for you to be out of the patient’s room and not spending time with them. My best piece of advice is to not sacrifice time at the bedside with the patient to study, do notes, or other busy work. It is the bedside where you re-experience your passion, where your burnout turns to but a small ember, where your heart becomes full again, where you will make memories that will hold you through until the end of this long journey of medical school and residency. I believe these moments at the bedside, where you are sacrificing your “extra” time, is what makes the biggest impact on the patient. As a doctor, we have many incredible medicines that will cure a vast number of illness but I still firmly believe the most potent medicines to heal the person as a whole are time, compassion, and love.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEDELITA PRODUCT & WHY?
My favorite MEDELITA Product is the MEDELITA White Coat. It is fits perfectly as if it was tailored, pockets are pocketed in the perfect spot, and it is spill proof to protect from the coffee that inevitable falls on it.
WHAT DOES DOCTOR'S DAY MEAN TO YOU?
To me Doctor’s Day is a day to appreciate and recognizing physicians and all the hard work and sacrifice they put into for caring for others.
WHAT DOES THE WHITE COAT MEAN TO YOU?
The white coat to me serves as a reminder of our commitment to our patients and to our community. Each time one puts on their white coat I believe you should take just a small moment to reflect on your “why” for starting medicine. In doing this it will bring you back to the important parts of medicine of serving your patients and helping your community. My white coat serves as a reminder for me to spend the extra 10-20 minutes at the bedside with the patient and their family, a reminder to go out into the community and serve and advocate, a reminder that my patients come first and I will serve them with all my heart.
WHAT IS A CHALLENGE YOU FACE AS A PHYSICIAN?
A challenge I face as a physician is balancing work, personal life, and my hobbies. In residency, you work very long hours and if you do not have an extremely strict schedule it is hard to do all the other things you also truly want to do. I believe that throughout residency I have been able to improve on this but as time is always limited it is a constant battle.
WHAT CAN (and DO) YOU DO THAT HELPS EMPOWER YOU TO BE THE BEST PHYSICIAN YOU CAN BE?
I wake up every single day and start my morning the same way; coffee, bible study, journaling, and exercise. As I am journaling I write out my “why” for becoming a doctor and ensure that is in the forefront of my mind every day before going into work. I believe as you go into work with this mindset and enthusiasm it will be contagious to other and hopefully create an avalanche effect to everyone you encounter that day.