Brand New M.D.

Hi folks,
I want to introduce myself. My name is Natalie J. Belle, M.D. and I have been an M.D. for about 24 hours at the time of this little post.
Today we had our official total Howard Univesity graduation ceremony. We gave honorary degrees to Judith Jamison, Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and Venus Williams, U.S. Open Tennis Champion. The mayor of Atlanta was our speaker. As each school was introduced, the graduates did a demonstration or cheer. When they introduced the College of Medicine, we stood on our chairs and chanted, " HU O2, Medicine is what we do." Our dean was thrilled with our little demonstration.
My degree is 17 inches by 32 inches and written in Latin. They included a translation for those who are not able to read the ancient language. We also had our pictures taken again with our Deans and degrees. The weather was hot but there were bottles of water under our chairs. We were placed between the School of Divinity and School of Law. What a strange place to put medicine. When one of the graduates fainted in the crowd, some of us were pressed into service early.
Yesterday and today were emotional and amazing. I still can’t believe I managed to get through all those thousands of little things that one has to get through to finish medical school. I feel ready for the next step and ready to start residency. I am starting to get excited about operating already.
I took lots of photos from graduation and I will post them somewhere on the web. It has been an interesting journey and I would not have traded any part of it. I will say out loud and with all honesty, if I can do this, anyone can. I keep the quote below pasted on my computer so I can read it every day. I hope it will help those who follow, to get to this point.
“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An
occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind,
but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new
vantage point.” *Harold B. Melchart

Now Betsy has some company

Dr. Natalie Belle,
Wow! :0 What a sound! To actually hear Dr. before your name must give you a real sense of pride and accomplishment!
Thank you for sharing your graduation day with us all. I can hardly wait to see more pictures (I already have the one from the email).
It is such a vicarious thrill for me to be able to imagine that someday the woman in that picture might be me. Thank you again for all the memories and experiences you have shared along the way, and for all the advice and camaraderie you have offered.

congratulations Natalie Belle, M.D.
You are truly an inspiration to all of us here who are in pursuit of that M.D.
I know that you will continue to inspire and encourage us as you make your way through residency, fellowship and in practice.

Dr. Belle, (might as well get used to seeing that!)
I’ve only read a few of your posts, but I wanted to say congratulations. How proud you and your family must be! I’m proud FOR you, and I don’t even know you! I can only imagine what that feeling will be like for me in 2006. I wish you much success, and please, do continue to post here. It’s an inspiration. :)

Your posts have been inspirational and very helpful. Good luck during your residency.
Thanks especially for the quote. Every day I look for inspirational quotes to put in my journal - this one has become my number 1.
Congrats again and best wishes

Congratulations Dr. Belle!

Congratulations Natalie,
As I shared with you in an earlier email, my sister also graduated from Howard University Medical School and I still remember the excitement and pride we felt as we watched her receive that HU degree.
I wish you much success in your residency program as well as your professional career.

Congratulations, Dr. Belle! And the best of luck to you in your residency. Thanks for sharing your photo album with us. You must be so proud! All the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears, have finally paid off. You go girl!

Dr. Belle congratulations! I am so bummed that we did not meet in D.C. but we both have been way too busy. I hope to meet you one day…
Judy McElhiney

well, everyones already said it but I’ll say it anyway - “congratulations!” and thank you for posting the pictures of your graduation and making us all a part of it. I am sure many others on here, just like me, follow eachothers progress and delight in seeing a fellow OPM succeed.
Good luck with the residency, I know you will continue to make us all proud!

Dr. Natalie Belle,
Congradulations!!! You are such an inspiration.
Whenever I read one of your posts, it makes me want to be my personal best. You share so truthfully your experience, your passion and commitment shine through. I hope you will continue to share with us. I wish you the best in your residency.

Congratulations!!! You are truly an inspiration :D I am so proud of your accomplishment, and hope to attain that goal one day. Thank you for sharing your photos with us - they’re great.
Here’s hoping that you continue to have a successful and enjoyable career :)
Keep in touch - we realize you will be busy…

Hey Doc Natalie,
I have been trying to send you an email through the OPM private messenger following up on our discussion about Howard Medical School’s admission stats (more specifically about my graduate GPA).
Everytime I try to verify that the email has been sent through the “sent items” folder, my computer is telling me that the email message “does not exist”. Have you received any emails from me since the OPM server has been back up?
As always, thank you for helping out us OPMers!


Hi folks,
I was looking back on what I posted 24 hours after becoming an MD. Now I am at the 6-month point. My learning curve is so steep. If you read some of my posts on the Surgery 101 thread, you can see that I have been exposed to some interesting situations. I am going to continue to chronicle my experiences with internship/residency in my section of the Diaries also known as “SOAP notes”. There is a link to my experiences as well as the experiences of JP and others in the quest to practice good medicine.

It has been six months and I am comfortable with my ability to assess a patient. I know when to call for help and I know how to get a good evaluation started. I have been challenged with running my first code (successful) and I have been able to step back to get a perspective on why my patient might be doing well or not doing well.
I still have lots of things to learn in terms of the actual craft of performing surgery. Little things like holding the instruments properly and not wasting movements have to be practiced over and over to hone your craft. I still read and study like a mad woman but my studies are more pointed. My surgical atlas in my friend. Moore’s Clinical Anatomy is my friend. biggrin.gif
Check out the Diaries of everyone and see how the progression goes. At every step along the way, there is insight. We need some more MDs up there.

Hi Natalie,
rather late but CONGRATULATIONS.

You are my hero smile.gif (think Ferris Bueller)
Seriously, you are a inspiration to us that are behind you in the process. your very eloquent and wise words have been very much useful and appreciated by myself and many others I know. I think you will make a fantastic surgeon.

Hi Folks,
I’m at the one-year point and it feels like I have been doing this all of my life. Things that I have accomplished this year: I know how to operate! I know how to walk into the operating room and step into the role of Surgeon! I even have three or four surgical procedures that I know very well. I am very comfortable putting in central lines, arterial lines, Swan-Ganz catheters, cordis catheters, Endotracheal tubes, chest tubes, blake tubes etc. I still have problems with simple IV lines though. Funny how I can put a hose in someones neck or chest but have problems with simple IV lines. Go figure!
I am looking forward to honing my ICU skills and operative skills. The more I get in there and do, the better I become. This is a blast!
Natalie cool.gif

Hi there,
Well, I’m at the 2-year point. I can definitely say with total confidence that I AM a surgeon. I have many cases and procedures that I even have a personal “style” of performing. I am totally comfortable in the OR. I am totally confident in the ICU. I can open a chest or an abdomen under duress and have the patient survive!
I will be leaving UVA for Cleveland in about 14 days. I am so excited to be getting my dream program. I will have lots of vascular surgery and tons of general. My days will be heavy on the operating and less heavy on the ward work. I do have a couple of ICU rotations but nothing like what is behind me. I read my own CTs, MRIs, and radiographs. It has been a real treat to see that in 95% of the cases, the radiologist agrees with me.
I am ready to get some experience in the more complicated areas of patient managment like burns and transplants. I even have a few good chest cases under my belt. This had been a great year.
Soon to be a part of the Cleveland Clinic system!

Natalie, you’re an inspiration!
If you’d care to share with us, why are you changing programs? Is changing residency programs (especially surgery) typical? I thought that once you’re in a program, it’s difficult to switch.