Courtney Reynolds is a fourth-year student in the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM). She is from Cross Plains, Wisconsin, and her specialty interest is full spectrum family medicine. Get to know her in the following Q&A.
How did you choose your specialty?
I initially had a difficult time choosing between OB/GYN and family med because I love delivering babies. The idea of following a pregnant woman throughout her pregnancy, delivery and after is definitely an area I am passionate about. However, taking care of the baby and the rest of the family puts the icing on the cake for me, making family medicine the perfect fit.
I truly love the clinic, and establishing relationships with my patients is definitely what keeps me motivated in the long run. I also really like procedures and want to be involved in my patients' community. It helped that I really enjoyed all my rotations throughout third year of medical school, too.
What are your hopes for a future practice?
I hope to stay in Wisconsin in a smaller town with a hospital close by. I'd like to admit and round on the patients in my clinic when hospitalized and deliver my patients' babies. I'm not sure if I'll have any special focuses but I really enjoy obstetrics, women's health and integrative medicine.
Is there a particular WARM experience/memory that is special to you?
Yes, I have quite a few.
First, I have really enjoyed feeling so welcomed and supported by all the mentors the WARM program has. I enjoyed going to Dr. Remeika's dinners, joining Dr. Crouse for dinner in Rice Lake, going to lunch with Dr. Remeika in Minocqua and water skiing with Dr. Henningsen and his family. I spent a lot of time in Rice Lake and it was obvious Dr. Holthaus really cares about his students. He helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses and showed me what kind of family practice doctor I want to be.
Second is seeing the continuity with patients. I was able to participate in a well-child visit in Wausau that resulted in a referral to child psych in Marshfield that I also got to participate in a few months later.
Third, I had some wonderful weekends when my husband came to visit in Minocqua, Rice Lake and Wausau. These were like long date nights/mini vacations to be just us away from our typical day to day in a new area to explore.
What advice would you give to future WARM students?
During the pre-clinical years, do fun things you love when you can but also do something that reminds you why you want to be a doctor. One of the reasons I went into medicine was my time as an EMT and I continued to do this throughout the first two years of med school. This really helped remind me why I was putting myself through the endless hours of studying and all the stress when my friends were going to concerts and movies.
When you get to the clinical years, go into every rotation thinking that "this could be my specialty!" I'm serious — this really helped.
Have an open mind. I was always surprised by the things I ended up liking that I didn't think I would and vice versa. Ask questions even if you think they may be stupid. Your preceptors will admire you for your eagerness to learn.
Don't be afraid to get the answers wrong and learn from your mistakes. Write down good cases as you go that touch on communication, teamwork, compromise and difficult times for you. They make great stories for residency interviews that will hopefully set you apart.