Dr. Naima Bridges, MD – A Doctor Like You!

Dr BridgesResidency: Obstetrics & Gynecology – University of California Davis

Medical School: University of California San Francisco 

Graduate School: Harvard School of Public Health

Undergraduate: Stanford University

 

1) When did you decide you wanted to become a Medical Doctor and what led to this decision?  Elementary school! I loved the human body and physiology so I pretty much dedicated my path to doing well in the sciences and putting myself into appropriate situations to learn more about medicine and shadow people, starting in high school.

2) What was the most difficult part of getting into Medical School for you?   MCAT! I am not the greatest test taker, even today, which is reflected in most of my board scores, etc. However, I had a very strong application with my recommendation letters and also my grades in my classes. I also realized that interviewing is one of my strong points. Just be personable and be yourself. I had both interviews and offers from these qualities. Make sure to also diversify your activities. Go abroad to study, work with a cool organization (medical or not) because this gives something interesting for you to talk about on your interviews and in your applications.

3) How did you study for the MCAT? How do you recommend students study for the MCAT?  Princeton Review course.  My score definitely improved but this was before the computer shorter MCAT. I took the paper 9 hour MCAT. Do a lot of practice questions and test yourself for the full examination time at least twice before taking the MCAT.

4) What did you do during your undergraduate summers?

Summer 1:Research in a physiology lab

Summer 2: SMEP at Yale (minority student internship/medical program- its great!)

Summer 3: I took physics, was a summer RA, and worked with campus housing/conference services (my housing was paid for), took MCAT class, and worked in a psychiatry and cancer lab

Summer 4: I lived in Tanzania for 3 months researching female genital cutting with African Service Fellowship through my university

5) What is one thing you wish someone told you while you were in college?  Your chemistry grade does not make or break your medical school application. Stay well rounded and excel in your other courses. Start making connections early with people in the medical field who also work in medical schools so they know you when you apply. Also, don’t let someone “guilt trip” you in wanting to follow extracurricular passions (I was in a cappella, directed a gospel choir, ran a premed organization, did church activities, went abroad to study, etc). Not everything has to be so science focused.

6) What led you to choose your current specialty?  The intersection between primary care, surgery, and preventative medicine!  I realized that I like results relatively quickly with continuity of care, which OBGYN has. We operate and deliver babies, deal more or less with a relatively healthy patient population, and see all ages with the opportunity for international work also.

7) What is one thing that a mentor did for you which has had a lifelong effect on your career?  I have had multiple mentors and many times they were just a few years older than I was.  I rarely worked with people who were 20 years my senior as they could not relate as easily to the current state of applications/schooling/testing.  Most of the mentors were just a stage of life ahead of me (e.g. when I was in high school, I sought college age premeds, in college I sought med students, in medical school- I sought residents, etc).

8) Briefly describe your average work day.  My work day is highly variable. We have a few different teams/services that we rotate through Labor and Delivery: Work hours are long and there is a constant flow/pace of work. My time is spent between triaging patients (determining who is in labor, seeing high risk pregnant patients like those who have been in car accidents, those who are bleeding), doing labor checks, delivering patients, performing cesarean sections.

Gynecology Inpatient Service 7am-6pm: Operate all day in OR with a few clinic pre-operative days during the week where we evaluate and schedule patients for surgery.

Gynecology Oncology Service 6am – 7pm: Similar to the gynecology inpatient service in terms of surgical volume but longer hours. Surgical cases are also longer and this service is more internal medicine focused as these patients are typically sicker.

Clinic 8am-5p: We spend the day seeing patients in the clinic for the OB GYN care

9) What do you enjoy most about your profession? What do you enjoy least? Most:  The diversity and opportunities to always do/learn something new and exciting. There is never a dull moment.  Least- The long hours

10) What words of advice would you like to leave with pre-medical students?  Don’t stop believing (thanks “Journey”!). I was ready to give up so many times in college but my mom kept encouraging me.  Sometimes I felt not good enough when compared to other students but my best and your best IS good enough. Don’t worry, pray, breathe, and have peace (phil 4:6)

 

 

 

 

 

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