On episode 76 of that Hope4Med podcast we feature Dr. Renita White, an obgyn and women’s health expert. Dr. White is a trailblazer. She is a first generation American, was the first person in her family to go to college, and the first one in her family to pursue postgraduate school. During our time together, Dr. White shares how her journey into healthcare was not easy and some of the hurdles along the way she had to overcome. We discuss the challenges of balancing career and family life and the strategies she uses to prevent and combat symptoms of burnout.
Connect with our guest:
You can reach Dr. Renita White on her website: www.renitawhitemd.com and check out her podcast “Cradle & All” located on any podcast streaming platform.
Dr. JB: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Hope4Med podcast. I am your host, Dr. JB, and today’s featured guest is Dr. Renita White. She is board certified in OB/GYN and is a woman’s health expert. She currently practices at Georgia Obstetrics in gynecology in Atlanta, Georgia. Welcome to the show Dr. White.
Dr. Renita White: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Dr. JB: So, Dr. White, I’m so excited to have you here on this show, and I am excited to share with my audience your origin story. So please, tell us your story.
Dr. Renita White: Yes, absolutely. When I think about my origin story, I just think immediately of all the people who got me to where I am today. So, I am originally from Georgia, but my family is from Guyana, South America. And so, I’m a first generation American, with tons and tons of aunts and uncles and cousins, and they have been such a big part of my journey.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in medicine and interested in health, and women’s health in particular. I was gravitated to asking a lot of questions to my pediatrician, and gravitated toward doing health related volunteering when I was younger. And a lot of that stemmed from being comfortable with my own skin and understanding how I tick and how my body works. And then also just being able to educate other people who had other questions that were similar to me. And so I think I naturally found my way into women’s health, but I know looking back, it started when I was younger.
So, I knew I wanted to go into medicine, I knew I liked the idea of delivering babies, and I knew I was interested in educating about women’s health, and it all came together when I got to medical school and got the opportunity to get all my rotations and just see how much the field of OBGYN has to offer when it comes to everything about women’s health. And so that’s how I found my little niche that I have today. And so, I was one of the first people in my family to go to college, and so I navigated that experience of understanding financial aid, and what college even looks like and what it is, and then to be definitely the first person to go to medical school.
So, it’s been a very interesting journey for me, but it’s been filled with lots of great experiences that I think make me the person I am today, and the doctor that I am today, knowing that a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds are coming to receive care.
Dr. JB: I think it’s always wonderful to really show your gratitude for your beginnings, and everybody who helped you along the way. And so, I think it’s perfect how you started off this conversation, really showing that gratitude, and really acknowledging that you didn’t do this alone, right? It’s a village.
Dr. Renita White: Absolutely, absolutely. And then especially knowing that I’m the first person in my family to go to college—well, one of them, but definitely the first person to go to medicine, it’s such an accomplishment, not just for myself, but for my entire family. So, we all made sacrifices and I had so much support in a lot of different ways, which I think is really big.
Dr. JB: And so congratulations by the way, on being the first person in your family to go to college. Do you have siblings?
Dr. Renita White: I do. I have one younger sister.
Dr. JB: Okay, and then with you going to college, what did your younger sister end up doing?
Dr. Renita White: So, she went to college, and she has a background in early education, but since then she has expanded beyond that. So, she does education, but also has experience with all aspects of education. And she now just started her own nanny agency, where she’s able to provide childcare for others, and she’s expanded upon that in her own way.
Dr. JB: Nice. So, on your own family, with you paving the path to show that it’s possible to go to college, your younger sister also was able to follow in your footsteps and attend.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. JB: Nice. And so, where did you go to college?
Dr. Renita White: So I went to Duke University, and so being from Georgia, I was just a Stone’s throw away from where my immediate family was, and it’s one of the best experiences of my life.
Dr. JB: Yeah. And so, not only did you go to college, but you went to an amazing undergraduate institution. And I’m not partial or anything, but yeah, but Duke is a great place to train, and I’m sure you had amazing experiences there.
Dr. Renita White: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Dr. JB: And then the journey into medical school, was that pretty straightforward for you?
Dr. Renita White: So, it was not straightforward for me. So, for one, I knew I always wanted to go into medicine, and I was somebody who really excelled in high school and excelled in college, and I had a good GPA, but it’s very competitive to get into medical school. And though I felt like my application was really competitive, I was worried and I was getting this feedback from guidance counselors that maybe I needed something more to bolster my resume, so to speak. And I knew I was interested in medicine, but honestly, I was getting a lot of push back for some of the people I talked to about what it would maybe be like to be an OBGYN.
I kept hearing like, “Oh, you’re not going to have a life, you’re not going to be able to have a family, or have spend time with your kids, you’ll miss events.” And that added a little bit of doubt to my mind. So, some of the doubt was, well, am I even going to get in? And the other doubt was, well, if I do this, am I going to just like ruin my life and not be able to have the personal life that I want?
So, I decided to take a year off to get some other experiences, still within the healthcare field, to see if there were other things that would be interesting to me. And also, if I did go to medical school, to have something else to build up my resume. So, I ended up taking a year off and doing something called the Bill Emerson National Fellowship, and it was an opportunity to focus on health from a perspective of public health. So, I spent six months in Seattle, doing like on the ground public health work with this Lifelong Aids Alliance organization, where I got to learn about, and advocate for using medicine, or using food as medicine.
So, people who have chronic illnesses like HIV, or chronic kidney disease, your diet is a big part of how to take care of yourself. And so, dealing with that from a public health standpoint. And then I spent the other six months of this one-year fellowship doing public health from a more policy-based standpoint as well. And this was at the time of Obamacare actually, it was in 2008, when this was going on, so, getting some more information about how that rolled out.
And so, as part of that journey, I realized I love public health, but I really do love clinical medicine is where I needed to be. And so, I ended up applying to medical school at that time, and I actually did not get as many interviews as I think a lot of people do. I think I got between three or five. But I ended up finding the school that I love, which was Ohio State Medical School, and so, that’s where I ended up going.
Dr. JB: So, the question is, how many acceptances do you need to become a doctor?
Dr. Renita White: Just the one.
Dr. JB: Just the one.
Dr. Renita White: Yes.
Dr. JB: I think that’s a really important point to make, right? You could get accepted, or you could apply to a thousand schools…
Dr. Renita White: That is so true.
Dr. JB: You can’t attend all thousand of them, right?
Dr. Renita White: Absolutely.
Dr. JB: You just need that one, that one acceptance letter, and get MD behind your name.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah.
Dr. JB: So congratulations.
Dr. Renita White: Thank you, thank you.
Dr. JB: And so, how was medical school?
Dr. Renita White: So, medical school was amazing. I feel like I gained a lot of great mentorship at this medical school. One of the things that attracted me to the Ohio State University was their diversity, it was a big school, which is a lot bigger than Duke, and they had a lot of different, I felt like a lot of different opportunities to work with different specialties. And though I knew I was interested in women’s health and OBGYN, I just wanted to go on with a very open mind.
And also, they had a big push about diversity, so there were people of all ages, in fact of all the colleges, medical colleges, they are one of the few who have a lot of people who take years off, or who may come into medicine as like their second career. It was great diversity across the board from people of different races, people who had children, and they also had a different, a path for different learning styles. So, now I know with the pandemic, everyone’s probably doing a lot of virtual things, but when I was doing this, they had a path for people who wanted to be in the classroom and do in the classroom lecture type learning, versus people who just could learn on their own and had a more independent style and do everything virtually and from books. So, I just felt like this was the place that I needed to be.
And then the mentorship I gained was phenomenal. I feel like I was able to really find people who weren’t in the specialty that I was looking for, be able to see them out in private practice, out in academic medicine, see them with children. One of the OBGYNs that I loved working with the most had six kids. And I was like, “Wow, she has six kids and she is an OBGYN?” And so it really let me see different perspectives of what medicine could look like, and let me know that I can have that too.
Dr. JB: Wow, that’s amazing, and Ohio State seemed very advanced for their, for that time, to really have a path where you could just do virtual, never have to go into class.
Dr. Renita White: I know.
Dr. JB: Yeah. And could you hop from one path to the other, or you had to commit?
Dr. Renita White: You had to commit, but there was a component of virtual for either path. So, I wasn’t on the independent track, but I still had, all of our classes still had a virtual component, if you just didn’t want to go, they were all recorded, and things like that.
Dr. JB: Wow. You know, some people start medical school, and they think they want to do X, and then by the time they’re done, they do Y. So, for instance, myself included. I wanted to be a pediatrician, and that’s what I said for my whole entire life, pediatrician, pediatrician, pediatrician, everything was pediatrician. Until I did my pediatrics rotation, and then I said, “hmm, no,” and I ended up in emergency medicine. So, in your experience though, you came in saying OBGYN, and never changed your mind.
Dr. Renita White: Despite trying. I kept thinking, oh, let me find something else where I’ll have a better quality of life, let me find somebody else where I’ll make more money. Let me find something else where people say it’s going to be better. And at the end of the day, I realized, I don’t need to worry about what those people were saying, I need to follow the thing that I want to do.
And unfortunately, there’s a lot of burnout in medicine, there’s a lot of people who don’t have the best experiences. And so, people sometimes mean well, when they’re like, oh, you may not want to do this path or that path. But that is not always the case, so, I strongly believe in just following what you want to do, because at the end of the day, when you find something you love, it’s not going to be work so to speak, it’s going to be you doing your passion.
Dr. JB: And did you still find that OBGYN was your passion throughout residency?
Dr. Renita White: Yes, absolutely. In fact, every day I was just so grateful to have this job, in my delirium of working a million hours. But it’s just like, you know, I’m sure there are so many other things outside of medicine. But when you find something that you love so much, my interactions with patients, being able to witness people in the happiest times of their lives, when they’re having a baby. Or even being with people when they’re having the hardest moment of their life and you’re talking about something like a pregnancy loss or cancer.
Me knowing that I have the skills, and I am that person that they need right now to help comfort them, it just brings me so much joy to know that this is my calling. So, I do not regret it for a minute.
Dr. JB: That’s absolutely amazing. So then the question I have for you is, have you ever experienced symptoms of burnout on your journey?
Dr. Renita White: Oh yes, absolutely. And I actually would say pretty recently. And it maybe because the pandemic, it maybe because I just had a baby, but I think that that has been a new experience I’ve been going through recently. So, on medicine, it’s almost like this train that you’re on, and it’s like okay, med school? Check. Research? Check. Residency? Check, and then you just go, go, go. But then for me as an attending, it was like okay, I can slow down a little bit and just enjoy life, but I almost didn’t know how to slow down. I felt like I need to go onto the next thing, and do this, and do that.
And that can get a little bit more complicated when you have kids, because I have two little ones. A one-year-old, and an almost four-year-old. And I have things I want to do and give time and energy to them, make sure that we have our quality time together, not miss their events, but also feeling like I want to excel at work. And so, it was a bit challenging trying to navigate those waters of how do I balance this? How do I make sure I’m not taking away from my time for my kids, but also not taking away from my passion and my thing that I think I’m really good at?
And it got even more challenging when I had a baby who was born early, my youngest son was born nine weeks early, and it was almost like everything you have planned got stopped immediately. So, I had to leave work immediately. I think the day I went on bed rest, I had a surgery scheduled that day, and when life doesn’t fit the mold of what you think, it can lead to a lot of stressors, and for me, it was more burnout, because I felt like I was trying to compensate for my maternity leave to work more at work, and it was just way too much. And so I think there are lessons that can be learned from those kind of moments, and I’ve definitely been learning a lot. Since the last year of dealing with a lot of this happening.
Dr. JB: So, share, what are some of those lessons that you’ve learned?
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, I think for me, self-care is key. We say that, and it’s like, what does self-care? What does this mean? But medicine is such a field that you give, give, give, it is inherently filled with sacrifice, sacrifice for your years, sacrifice for your income, and any debts you may take out. And so, it’s sometimes hard for those of us in medicine to be like, okay, I need to set some boundaries, I need to say no, I need to take care of myself.
And so, what I have learned for myself is that I’ve made such big accomplishments to get to this point, and the whole goal is to take care of others, but the best way I can take care of others is to take care of myself. So, what that looks like for me, was making some adjustments in my work schedule, so that I can come home a little bit earlier, so I can spend more time with my kids, or even just have time for myself before my kids come home. What that also meant for me is that I may take a little bit extra call to make up for some of that, but at least I know what I have certain weekdays that are available, so that I can go to doctor’s appointments, and go to things like that.
And then also in my personal life, I realized how important it is for me to just have time for just me and no work. So, I’m investing a little bit more in exercise, or just reading, or just binging out on a show, because it’s okay to not feel guilty that you’re not doing something related to work, or doing something related to your kids. So, I think what I’m taking away from these experiences of burnout that I’m having, is to take care of myself more in a self-care manner, because at the end of the day, I still love the things that are causing burnout, it’s just a matter of finding a better balance.
Dr. JB: Balance or another phrase that I’ve been using lately, that I borrowed from others, is work-life integration.
Dr. Renita White: Oh, that is good, yeah.
Dr. JB: Because you clearly love what you’re doing, but it can be all consuming, and you can lose yourself in it. And so, how do you integrate all these different spheres of your life? You’re a mom, with two young kids, you’re a doctor, and a wife, and a friend, and a daughter, the list goes on and on and on. And all of those things are important.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah.
Dr. JB: And so, when you integrate these things, just like you said, like, yes, sometimes I might have to spend more time doing X than I am doing Y. But maybe next week, I’ll spend more time doing Y than I am doing X. And not feeling guilty about it, and having self-compassion, I love that word, self-compassion. Because I think we’re so quick to beat ourselves up for, “Oh, I can’t believe, I can’t give 100% to being a mom, and a hundred percent to being a doctor, and a hundred percent to being a wife, oh, what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me?” You know, and just go ahead and start talking to negative, internal thoughts, your inner critic just takes over. But when you realize that this is just part of who I am, and it’s okay, then that helps you not get burnt out.
Dr. Renita White: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Dr. JB: So, tell me a little bit more about what you’re doing now, especially in terms of your women’s health mission.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the things I love the most about my field and working with women is that you get to work with women from all aspects of life. So, I can have somebody in my office who’s 15, or I can have somebody in my office who’s 65. And so, at the end of the day, I want people to walk away and leave feeling like, I understand what’s going on with me, I understand some of these common things, and if I don’t understand, I know how to address this, I know who to ask, I know how to advocate for myself.
So, I always joke to myself that my office, my doctor’s office, my room that I see my patients is almost like a classroom, because I’m busy educating everybody. But that’s really my goal, and so, part of me figuring out the kind of things that I love, is figuring out ways to get that message out beyond the exam room. And so, I definitely spend a lot of time really talking with people in the office, but I also get the opportunity to…
Dr. JB: Hold on one second, one second.
Dr. Renita White: Oh yeah.
Dr. JB: Do you see something on the screen?
Dr. Renita White: Oh yeah, movie recording has been stopped automatically, maximum recording time.
Dr. JB: Movie recording, what are they talking about? So strange, okay, sorry, where were we? So, you said part of what you do is educate.
Dr. Renita White: Yes. So, I feel like when people are in my office, I spend a lot of time educating them about topics related to their health, I don’t want somebody to just come in and be like, okay, doctor told me this, so the end. I want you to understand why it’s happening to you, understand what other things it could be, and ask all the questions you have to ask, so that when you leave, you can actually articulate yourself what happened. Because at the end of the day, it’s your body, and I want people to have the tools to take care of themselves as much as possible, or know where to go to get help.
So, I realize that in itself is part of my passion, is educating people who come in to see me. And so, I was like, what are some ways that I can do this outside of my exam room, outside of my office? And so, I have been able to do that in a couple ways, which I think of as passion projects for me. So, one of those ways is that I have been writing some health articles, because I know a lot of people look for their health information online, I am nobody’s social media person, I’m not really that great at that stuff. But I can write a good article, and I know people read that kind of stuff online.
So, I’ve been able to publish some of these articles on like TheGrio, or have been able to give some resources to other people who write, and I think that’s a good first step to have some evidence-based information that’s at a level that everybody can understand. And at least, you can walk into your doctor’s office and say, hey, I read this thing somewhere, is this true? And it’s actually accurate information. But then I also started a podcast with my sister, because we are very close and very close in age, and have a lot of similar experiences. And it was just an opportunity for us to talk about things related to motherhood and related to what’s going on with your body in pregnancy as women, as working moms.
And so, I feel like when I talk to people in my, I am a doctor, yes, but I’m also a mom, I’m also a sister, I’m also a patient. And so, those are the kind of conversations I had, so I wanted something similar to that outside of the exam room, so that’s where that podcast came in, and as another opportunity to do that.
Dr. JB: That’s absolutely amazing. And I love the fact that you highlighted the fact that being a doctor doesn’t define who you are.
Dr. Renita White: Absolutely, and I want people to know that, like it’s something I’m really proud of, and I think it’s a gift that I have, and I’m excited to have that gift. But I think it’s just one piece of who I am, and I think everyone’s got a little piece of who they are that doesn’t define them completely.
Dr. JB: Yeah, because some healthcare professionals are defined by their profession.
Dr. Renita White: Oh, yeah.
Dr. JB: They don’t take off that white coat when they leave, they’re a doctor wherever they are.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah.
Dr. JB: And one of my arguments with Hope4Med is, the dangers to doing that is, if something happens to that identity of being a physician, right? If there’s an adverse outcome, if you get sued, or whatever, then it’s even more personal, because who you are and what you do are intertwined.
Dr. Renita White: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Do you mind if I plug my laptop in? Sorry, this thing just said low battery.
Dr. JB: You’re good.
Dr. Renita White: Oh, one second. Perfect. Sorry about that. I didn’t realize it wasn’t plugged in.
Dr. JB: Oh, it’s okay, again, these are all prerecorded. So, we’re just…
Dr. Renita White: Okay. All right, so…
Dr. JB: So, another area that I would like us to talk a little bit about relates to imposter syndrome. Have you ever experienced symptoms of imposter syndrome?
Dr. Renita White: Absolutely. In fact, I think I’m about to laugh aloud, because I told my husband the other day, I was like, “Have you ever heard of this thing called imposter syndrome?” And he was like, “What is that?” And I was naming it off to him, and he’s like, “You have that. What is this thing.” So yes, I have. But basically, I think that coming out of residency and joining my private practice was the first time I’d ever experienced that.
You train so long, and I personally felt I know a lot of people who go into this kind of field, or may be Type A, they feel like they’re the top of their class, they feel like, “I’ve got this, I’ve got this.” But then for some reason, for those who may deal with imposter syndrome, it’s like, “Oh, I don’t belong here.” So, when I joined my private practice, I was one of six, and I was just recently out of residency, so technically the youngest. I was the first person of color amongst all whites in my group. I had never been in a private practice before, so I didn’t have the business expertise that they technically had.
And because I was just out of residency, my surgical numbers were not as high as they had. So, there were so many doubts, there were times where I’m like, am I good at this? Or I would choose not to speak up, because I was like, oh, well, they have been doing this business practice for long enough, they don’t need me to speak up. Or there would be a lot of times that I question myself about like, is my medical decisioning correct, compared to theirs, maybe I should just assume and go with their expertise.
And I realized after a while, that that was all in my head, no one had given me the evidence that that was the case. They were excited to hear my ideas when it came to some of our business practices. They were excited to work with me [inaudible 25:43] because I was out of residency and had some different skills. And my patients were doing very well surgically, I just in my head was making me feel like, I didn’t belong there.
So, it wasn’t until my mom actually was like, “You have imposter syndrome,” and I was like, “What is this?” But she’s like, “You belong here, your voice matters, they recruited you, they want you, you’ve done well, you have graduated residency with accolades and honors, you belong here.” And I almost had to just convince myself, like, “Oh, okay.” So, it is a real thing, and I don’t know why I felt like that, but I was so grateful to have the support of like my mom, and others, and my partners who were great, to just show that, we want you here, you belong here, you are exactly what we need to add on to our group.
Dr. JB: I think it’s wonderful that you had your mom who pointed that out. Sometimes people hesitate to speak truth to others, because they’re not sure how people are going to receive that information. But the one thing that I can say is that so many people experience an imposter syndrome. Yours started after graduating. You know, people go into medical school, and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know if I belong here, how did I get accepted in medical school? “And then it goes on to residency, “Oh, how did I get accepted? It must have been a fluke. It must have been a mistake.” But there’s no mistakes, you worked hard, and you earned your letters.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, that is true.
Dr. JB: And I think that it’s important for people to remember that.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, and that not only did you work hard, and you earn your letters, but that you got there because people saw something in you. I know that that was helpful for me to realize, that, people want you here, people see something in you, they read your applications, they saw that you had potential, and so, you have to just believe in yourself.
Dr. JB: So, what does your typical day look like currently?
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, so, there’s a lot of variety in my day, which is part of why I love this field. Actually, let me give you an example of my day was like today.
Dr. JB: Sure.
Dr. Renita White: So, I was post call, I was on call yesterday, and so the way my office, we take call, we take call like once a week, and it’s not in house call. So, I was able to deliver two babies, still see patients in the office, and then I went home, had dinner with my family, and put my kids to bed. Saw another patient that evening, and then I slept through the night with plus or minus a few calls. So, I woke up this morning after having been post call, and was able to take my kids to school, and I had a surgery this morning. So, sometimes I’ll add in surgery throughout my day, so it may be able to do a surgery or two in the morning, go into the office and see my patients.
And in the office, we can do procedures, and things like that, so there are a couple procedures I also did in the office as well as some of my annual checkups and things like that in my pregnant patients. And then on a day like today, where I was post call and had some cases in the morning, I’m able to end off a little early, which is part of those boundaries I set for myself, so I can have some time with my kids.
So, I love the variety in my field, because I can literally see many different ages of women, different backgrounds of women, surgery, in-office procedures, deliveries, all over the place, but that’s exactly what I like.
Dr. JB: Yeah, nice variety. So, I have a quick question for you in terms of the boundaries. Now, some people feel like you have to set these boundaries before you start working, right? So they know, this is what I want, and this is what I won’t accept or whatnot. But I don’t think that’s what happened with you, you went ahead and set your boundaries after you had accepted the job, so can you walk us through how you did that?
Dr. Renita White: That’s a great question. So, I think that one of the big key points here is that when I was interviewing for jobs, I found, I picked the job I picked, because I sent how supportive my coworkers, my colleagues and partners were going to be. So, I got that sense from the fact that they all had different passions themselves that had nothing to do with medicine. The fact that they had a little bit of flexibility in their own day to day. So, some people’s schedules were a little bit different, and the fact that the way we set our goals for each person was not really based on how many patients you see in the office. And not every place is like that, and not everyone has that opportunity.
And so, I came in working with this practice, excited to work as hard as I did in residency and see as many patients, and that’s how I am, I probably see some of the most patients than anybody, because I’m building my practice more than my established partners. But, when the time came that I needed to advocate for myself and say I needed some boundaries, I felt like I was able to, because I have had the support for my partners to begin with. So, I came up, I was able to talk to one of my partners who tends to do more scheduling and things like that and say, I really want to be able to leave earlier, I am able to pick up slap in these other ways.
So, I felt comfortable giving a new agreement, or a new offer to them, like, okay, I can pick up slack here, if I can change my schedule this way, and that went over really well. But in situations where you may not know how it’s going to go over, I think one, is knowing your value. So, I felt like, okay, I see, the number of patients I see a day will not change, if I don’t see these patients, am I still going to bring in as much money to the practice if you’re in private practice, you have to think about those things.
Or what other value can I bring? Whether I’m doing more administrative tasks, am I doing more research, or how am I picking up the slack? So that you know you’re still bringing value in some way. And don’t discount your value, when you’re getting nervous about asking for something, because what’s the worst somebody can say? No, or you can just renegotiate.
Dr. JB: So, how do you determine your value?
Dr. Renita White: So, I think that, oh, that’s a good one. How do you determine your value? You know, for me, it has taken time. I think confidence is something that some people naturally have a lot of and others do not. And I was finding my way with regards to my confidence, and so part of what I use to build my confidence and to find my value is by looking at the outcome from my interactions with my patients.
And that doesn’t mean if somebody gets better from something, or has no symptoms, but be able to meet the needs of my patients in the way that they need them. So, if somebody who comes into my office scared about something, feels overwhelmed. My ability to help quell their concerns and fears, and know that it’s going to be okay, my abilities to help people navigate a tough situation, and feel like they can get through it, and understand what’s happening to them. That’s where I seek my value in this field.
Because I think at the end of the day, we all have different gifts and different things that we bring to the table, but I know mind, as my ultimate goal is to make people feel like they understand what’s going on with their body, and feel like they’re not alone with some of the things that are going on for them. So, I find my value in being able to care for patients in that particular way.
I believe myself to be a really great surgeon, and I believe myself to be really great at the technical things that I do. But I also feel like the bit of bedside manner that some people take for granted is so important. And the reason why that’s so important to me, is because as I mentioned, I come from an immigrant family, my mom and dad came here with barely any money in their pocket. So, I have family members who may not always have access to care, who may not always have doctors who are willing to sit down and talk with them, and be able to meet those needs.
And so it’s important to me to be able to do that for my patients, because I imagine that to be any one of my family members who could be in that same situation. So, that’s where I see my value, in my ability to do that for others.
Dr. JB: I think that part of finding out your value, is taking out time to self-reflect, right? And finding out, what are your strengths? What are you good at? And from what I’m hearing you say, I mean you’re an excellent surgeon, but you’re also really good at connecting with people, right? And you’re good at breaking down complex information into bite size pieces that your patients can understand.
You have patience, right? And you are willing to take out the time to discuss in however amount of detail that is required to ensure that the person in front of you truly understands what it is that you’re talking about.
Dr. Renita White: Yeah.
Dr. JB: So, that’s what I’ve gotten from this conversation, I don’t know how close I am.
Dr. Renita White: No, I think so.
Dr. JB: So, if my listener wanted to find out more about you, how could they do so?
Dr. Renita White: Yeah, so, I live and practice here in Atlanta, Georgia. So, you could come see me at my office, my practice name is Georgia OBGYN, and we have two offices, one in Dunwoody, and one in Alpharetta. I also have a website which is www.renitawhitemd.com. And you can check out my podcast called Cradle & All, which is all about motherhood, and womanhood, and just finding balance. And so, it’s for mothers, mothers to be people, who support mothers, you do not have to be a mother. But it could be a really great podcast to check out, and you can get that on any platform.
Dr. JB: Okay, awesome. And so, Dr. White, in closing, do you have any pros of wisdom for my listener?
Dr. Renita White: Absolutely. I think that one of the most important things that I would hope that somebody listening could take away, is just that everyone comes with a different experience. And that experience that you have may be unique to what you’re going through, but there’s some kind of connection you can get from other people. And so, one of the things that I think we as physicians, we as people going into medicine should do a little bit more of, is try to be more vulnerable with our patients in a way.
In that concept of taking off the white coat, I mean, you don’t have to physically take off the white coat in your office, but just using that opportunity that you have with people who are in your office, or people who are looking up to you as mentors, or people that you’re even looking up to, understanding that you have your own vulnerabilities that you can connect to others with, because whether it’s imposter syndrome, whether it’s building your confidence with a skill, wondering if you’re going to get into medical school, or even, you may have your own personal challenges that you may be afraid to talk to other patients about, but you may be able to connect with, don’t be afraid to do that, because at the end of the day, that humanism is going to be what helps all of us.