Life as a Pediatric Resident: Dr. Kristen Kirby

Hey, everyone! Sorry that I’ve been MIA for over a month! I’ve had back to back exams. I’m currently studying for finals and trying to finish my post-bacc strong. I will be done in May, so I’ll have more time to post! As of now, I don’t know what my plans are after this program. It depends on how I finish and what I need to do to ensure I’m ready for the 2019-2020 application cycle. Since I haven’t been posting often, I thought I’d share something from my mentor, Dr. Kirby. I love hearing about her residency and figured you all would like to hear about what it’s like to be a resident! Right now, most of us are just looking at medical school as our main goal. However, after med school, the journey continues. I’ve spoken with Dr. Kirby about her residency as it is in my dream field: pediatrics. She inspires me to keep going when times get tough, because I know one day I’ll be where she is. Here’s her reflection on residency and how she has reached this point of her life. Hope you enjoy reading!


Since the age of six, I have dreamed of becoming a doctor. Last year I graduated medical school and started pediatric residency in July. It is hard to put into words the feeling of finally reaching this milestone. The many sacrifices my family has made as well as the favor of God has allowed me to navigate the paths that led me where I am today. This year has been a humbling, eye-opening, and gratifying experience. Reflecting back on my first year as a pediatric resident I have learned the following things:



I did medical school in Illinois, which was over 13 hours from home and now I am in Greenville, North Carolina, which is less than 3 hours away from home. I did not realize the importance of being close to family during residency until this past year. My parents, sister, and grandparents have all come to visit me a few times. Despite having to work some holidays, I am still able to spend them with family. For example, I was scheduled to work this Christmas but my family came down for the weekend and cooked a Christmas meal for my friends and I. It is so nice to be able to get home quickly and not have to spend so much time traveling.




I have been blessed with an amazing group of co-residents. Our first-year class is very close, and from the first month we have regularly spent time out of the hospital hanging out as a group. From baby showers, to birthday celebrations, to housewarmings, we take advantage of any opportunity to get together. Our overall residency program is very supportive. On Fridays when working inpatient, we have dress up days. Some examples are Superhero Friday, Flannel Friday, and Frozen Friday (in the winter). We also have monthly resident wellness activities and have done things such as planted flowers, watched a Disney movie, painted rocks, and had a pumpkin carving contest.




Once I moved to Greenville, I started looking for churches to attend. I have been able to consistently go to church on the Sundays I am not working. I also attend a weekly women’s bible study. This is very important because spending time in Christian fellowship has allowed me to meet a wonderful group of people outside of the hospital who are able to encourage me and hold me accountable.




During residency, especially first year, there is so much that we do not know as physicians. Every day at work I am constantly learning and growing in my new role. We are routinely given feedback on how we can improve. It is important to be humble and willing to listen to others who have more experience than you. I have learned to better accept that I am not perfect, and my goal each day is to provide the best care for my patients as possible.




There are mornings when I look forward to going to work despite having to sometimes work 80 hours a week. Walking into a patient’s room for a newborn check-up brightens my day, no matter how stressful my day has been. I also have patients who I see regularly; not only am I excited to see them back but when I walk in the room they scream “Dr. Kirby!” because they are happy to see me. Being able to interact with people during the most vulnerable moments of their lives is gratifying. It is instances like these that make the whole experience all worth it. I would not be able to continue doing this if it was not for my passion for medicine as well as children. 




In the months leading up to graduation from medical school, many of my mentors recommended that I relax because once residency started, there would be little time to myself. I came in expecting to not have a lot of free time during residency. Each month I am expected to work 7 days a week but do get at least 4 days off a month. I have found that even though the schedule is busy, there is still time to spend doing things I enjoy. On my days off, sometimes I just want to sleep (and sometimes this is needed!). I find though, that when I take time out to do something fun, I return to work the next week rejuvenated. Some things I do for fun are going to the pool, dinner, walking outside, working out, and to Zumba class.


Overall, I am enjoying residency and feel I made the right decision to go into medicine. I am constantly learning and growing as a person. With each new position in life there are obstacles but through persistence, faith, and encouragement, I have been able to push through, expectant of what the future holds.




Thanks for visiting my blog! Be sure to check out my other posts. There is more to come soon! Until then be kind and remember tomorrow depends on what you do today. Hope you enjoyed reading! — Taylor ❤


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