Cooper Medical School of Rowan Univerisity
  Instagram Facebook Twitter Contact

Five Minutes with an Alumnus: Michelle Breda, MD'16

CMSRU: Tell us where you're doing your residency and what you're studying.
MB: I'm at Rhode Island Hospital, the Brown affiliated hospital. I'm in the General Internal Medicine program, which is their primary-care focused track.

CMSRU: Did you already know anyone there (that hospital or that area of the country, either one) or did you have to bravely go where you knew no one?
MB: I didn't know anyone in RI, but had the benefit of getting the low-down on the area from Dr. [Jenny] Melli, who is a graduate of the same program. She had nothing but great things to say about Providence and the program, and she was right.

CMSRU: Residents' schedules are notoriously grueling. How's yours?
MB: Sure, it's grueling, but you make it work. Maintaining a work-life balance has always been important to me, and I was able to maintain that during medical school at CMSRU. I chose Brown in part because I knew they valued that as well, and I've been pretty pleased with the balance. You learn to become very efficient as a resident, whether while working at the hospital or on your day off, because time is so valuable. There have been some late night nights on call when I drive home in disbelief that I have to be back so early the next morning, but in that same thought I know that I still wouldn't change what I'm doing for anything.

CMSRU: Give us a day in the life of Dr. Breda.
MB: I wake up early enough that I can enjoy my two cups of coffee before heading to the hospital. I aim to get there at 6am, which is on the earlier side but my day goes a lot smoother when I can get a head start on notes (efficiency!). 6-7am I review the charts and overnight events, 7-8 I see my patients, and 8-9 I get a head start on notes. Rounds usually start around 9am, and go until lunch. I usually eat lunch while working, since it helps me get home at a more reasonable hour. The afternoon is spent admitting patients, finishing notes, touching base with consultants, and my favorite part of the day, afternoon rounds where I visit again with my patients. Depending on the day, number of patients or if I'm on on a long call, and barring unexpected events, I'm usually home by 5 or 6pm. Evenings are spent at the gym if I'm feeling ambitious, making dinner, and watching Netflix with my cat - no shame! :)

CMSRU: Can you give CMSRU a grade on how well prepared you were for your residency?
MB: I'd give CMSRU an A! I definitely learned what I needed to know to start residency. I think what really put me ahead however wasn't what I was taught, but having been able to direct my own learning in the way that I needed. I chose CMSRU, and I think CMSRU chose me, because the school's values aligned with my own. I'm grateful for my four years there because the school gave me the autonomy to mold myself into what I wanted and needed in order to achieve my own definition of success. Whether it was working in the community, going to the gym, coaching soccer [as part of CMSRU's service learning curriculum component], or spending my day studying, I was given the time and encouragement to do what I needed to do to develop myself into the physician I wanted to be. And while I certainly will continue to mature and evolve as a physician, I think I'm starting residency as the best version of myself at this point in my career because of that nurturing environment.

CMSRU: What do you miss about CMSRU?
MB: My best friend, Jordan. I'd give anything to chat with her after a long stressful day over a glass of wine and good dinner!

CMSRU: What's the best part of your life now that you're an MD?
MB: The sense of liberation, that I've made it. I put in so much time and hard work, and made sacrifices through undergrad and medical school, all with the vision of doing exactly what I'm finally doing. The other day I was running up the hospital stairs to check on a patient not doing well, was late for a family meeting, and I swear my beeper was going off every two minutes that day. I was tired and overwhelmed. But in that moment of chaos, I was so grateful to be there. Nothing's greater than that feeling.

CMSRU: What's the most challenging part of your life now that you're an MD?
MB: No more two day weekends, and the lack of flexibility in my schedule. Also, friends and family now expecting me to know the diagnosis of their rashes.

CMSRU: Tell us your favorite CMSRU memory.
MB: I can never pick just one, life is about the small moments! Right now a few come to mind: 1) walking out of an exam on a Friday afternoon after having practically lived at the school studying the week leading up, 2) a well-run soccer practice on a sunny Saturday morning filled with laughter and no melt-downs, 3) the satisfaction understanding a difficult clinical topic after a Dr. [Brian] Gable lecture. Oh, and match day. I still get chills thinking about it! But I must say, the special moments are countless.

(October 2016)