Compassion for patients drives Dr. Robyn Wirsing Black, family medicine resident at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. Below she discusses her time at The Wright Center, prevalent needs in the area and her hopes for the future.
What inspired you to study medicine?
Growing up, I witnessed my mother and father — both practicing physicians — offer their medical knowledge and concern for their patients on a daily basis. When my mom would rush out the door in the middle of the night to take care of a patient at the hospital or my dad would take a phone call during a weekend family event, I realized how dedicated they were to their profession. Oftentimes, a family friend or church member would remark, “Oh, your mom helped me out so much during my hospitalization” or “Your father did such a good job taking care of my brother.” I knew that I, too, would one day want to help out people in this way while also pursuing my intellectual interest in medicine.
What led you to The Wright Center?
Several of my medical school colleagues had started training in the program before I began. They had talked about how approachable and encouraging the attendings were. The program was also ideal for learning procedures in various specialties such as gynecology, orthopedics and surgery. After interviewing with the program, I was convinced that it would train me well to become the well-rounded primary care physician that I hoped to become one day.
What has surprised you about the residency program?
The amount of emotional support and encouragement everyone offered me during a family crisis. I experienced the tragic, unexpected loss of my young son during my training and the amount of love and support that the program and my colleagues gave me was invaluable.
Talk about your connection with the patients.
The patients can easily be considered one of the greatest assets of the program. Over the years I have become very close to some of my patients and will always remember their contribution to my learning experience.
What do you feel are some of the most pressing healthcare needs in the Northeastern Pennsylvania?
In this part of the country, the opioid crisis and comorbid psychiatric illnesses have been a daily concern. Tough decisions have to be made as to how we treat or do not treat certain patients. Over my years of training, I believe significant progress has been made to provide the best care for these patients, allowing them to return to productive and happy lives.
Do you have any tips to avoid burnout?
Stay positive and stay involved with whatever and whoever makes you happy. My faith and family have always kept me going and kept me positive and hopeful for the future. I would advise that a physician always remember that their physical and emotional health is the No. 1 priority. A physician cannot take care of others if they do not take care of themselves.