January 29, 2021

Residents and fellows are some of the hardest working physicians in any medical center.

Knowing the intense time and energy required of clinical trainees, particularly those in the field of orthopedic surgery, we asked a few of our own three questions: Why they chose medicine, why they chose orthopedics, and what they’ve learned from the last year during COVID. 

Meet a few of our amazing orthopaedic surgery fellows and residents, who share a unique perspective of training in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. 

Brian Fisher, MD

Meet Brian Fisher, MD – Orthopaedic surgery foot and ankle fellow

Dr. Fisher is originally from Flagstaff — a relatively quiet city in the northern part of Arizona. 

On why he chose a career in medicine: 
“[The choice] originally stemmed from a desire to help others and to make a difference in their lives. I really gravitated toward orthopedic surgery, though, as I enjoy seeing patients improve from their musculoskeletal maladies and regain their ability to be active.”

On why he chose Washington University for fellowship:
“Washington University has a great national reputation in producing well-trained surgeons who continue to contribute to their chosen field. What ultimately influenced my decision, however, was the faculty. I felt they would be the type of mentors I would like not only for a year of fellowship, but for the remainder of my career.”

On his biggest takeaway from being in medicine during COVID: “COVID has demonstrated the resiliency and flexibility of medical providers. I've seen orthopaedic surgeons and other specialists help in the emergency department, intensive care units, and act as manual labor to turn patients between supine and prone positions. All have gone beyond and expanded their usual skill sets to be of assistance during these trying times.”

Lauren Wessel, MD

Meet Lauren Wessel, MD – Orthopaedic surgery hand fellow

Dr. Wessel is originally from Bethesda, Maryland, and attended undergraduate school at Duke University. 
On why she chose a career in medicine: 
“I went into medicine for many of the same reasons any young adult pursues a career in health care: mainly to help others as much as I could. I initially worked at a consulting firm after college, but did not feel the same satisfaction as I did during my prior internships in a hospital setting. I really enjoyed seeing patients whose lives improved as a direct result of treatment. After a year in the world of consulting, I made the decision to apply for medical school.”

On why she chose Washington University for fellowship:
“I was a WashU medical student and worked closely with Dr. Boyer and Dr. Calfee during that time. I loved the time I spent there and felt the case variety and volume was remarkable…even in comparison to my case exposure during residency. I knew I wanted a high-volume fellowship, particularly one with microvascular and reconstructive surgery. I am going the UCLA next year for an orthopedic oncology fellowship and plan to use the microvascular and reconstructive surgery skills I acquired here to better address deficits after tumor resections in cancer patients.”

On her biggest takeaway from being in medicine during COVID:
I have been continuously impressed by the selflessness of people in offering to step up and help in ways they probably otherwise would not have. For example, as a chief resident in New York, I had attending orthopaedic surgeons right next to me in the COVID -19 ICU, providing care to critical COVID+ patients. I have been astounded how people in the medical community have been eager to help in this pandemic in a variety of ways, from making masks to functioning outside of the bounds of their own medical specialty.

Nichelle Enata, MD

Meet Nichelle Enata, MD – Orthopaedic surgery resident, PGY-1

Dr. Enata is originally from Belleville, Illinois, but later moved to and grew up in Bloomington. 

On why she chose a career in medicine: 
“I went in the medicine after seeing multiple family members deal with health problems, from diabetes to athletic injuries. In the course of their care, I rarely saw physicians who looked like us, and I saw how that affected their care and comfort as a patient. I went into medicine to not only help care for minorities, but also to help educate other healthcare providers on disparities in care.”

On why she chose Washington University for residency:
“I chose WashU because I wanted to be in a residency program where I knew I would get the best training while also feel supported. Our program’s history of excellent training and commitment to diversity and inclusion were the two most important factors I considered when deciding where I wanted to be for my residency training.”

On her biggest takeaway from being in medicine during COVID:
“The biggest takeaway I’ve seen since starting residency during COVID is the significance of developing relationships with patients and colleagues of all specialties. Even as an intern, I’ve had patients ask for advice on how to stay safe during this pandemic. I’ve definitely leaned a lot on former classmates and new colleagues for resources and education about COVID, the vaccine and how to best take care of patients during these trying times.”

Adam Khan, MD

Meet Adam Khan, MD – Orthopaedic surgery resident, PGY-5

Dr. Khan is originally from Anaheim, California. 

On why he chose a career in medicine: 
“Most of my childhood was spent in southern California, but I also spent time living in Sacramento and northern Virginia. Attending a science and engineering undergraduate university, I developed an interest in applying scientific principles and research to promoting health and helping others, which drew me to the medicine.  

On why he chose Washington University for residency:
“I rotated at WashU as a fourth year medical student and was taken aback by the faculty’s dedication to resident education and resources for surgical skill development. I was also extremely impressed with the quality of the residents as well as the collegial environment amongst them. 

On his biggest takeaway from being in medicine during COVID:
“This has certainly been a tough year all around. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that medicine is an imperfect science; despite the many advances we have made, there is much more to be discovered and learned. Conversely, the response from frontline medical workers and the scientific community has been a true demonstration of our resilience as a medical community. It’s encouraging for the future.”

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