EP 80: Saving Myself

Your mental health and wellbeing should always be a priority. It is okay to be unsure of your decisions sometimes. It’s okay to even switch careers.  But, what is not okay, is to give up on your passion simply to please society and seek validation externally. In this episode we feature Dr. Kanene Ubesie, a trauma surgeon and “professional degree collector” (in addition to trauma surgery, Dr. Ubesie has specific training and expertise in general surgery, surgical critical care, burns, wounds and recently obtained her MBA) who shares with us her personal journey in medicine as a double minority: black and a female.  She opens up about the challenges she has experienced along the way and the role therapy has played in her life. One of the most profound and life altering realizations she made at a particularly low point in her journey was that “the only person who was going to save me is me”.  Dr. Ubesie’s story is one of resilience, courage and passion.  She is a true inspiration.

 

Podcast Transcription: 

Dr. JB: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Hope4Med podcast. I am your host, Dr. JB, and today’s featured guest is Dr. Kanene Ubesie. She is an African American woman full of life who also happens to be an acute care trauma surgeon with specific training and expertise in general surgery, surgical trauma, surgical critical care, burns, and wounds. She has an astute love for God’s education, teaching, cultivating relationships, being present in all things fitness. She’s excited to share her journey with all of us. Thank you and welcome to the show!

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Dr. JB: So, I am very excited to hear about this journey. So, can we start from the beginning? Can you share with my listener, your origin story?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Oh, the beginning, the beginning of my career or the beginning of just my life period.

Dr. JB: Wherever you want the beginning to be. So, why medicine?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I would say, medicine, I have always wanted to be in medicine. I’ve known that since I was—as long as I can remember. My dad’s an OBGYN, and as long as I remember, he’s been that—obviously, he hasn’t been that my whole life, and he’s a hard worker and I just saw the compassion and the love that he put into his family and his patients and just heart. And I always just thought, wow, that’s, you know, I look up to my dad, obviously, and I just thought that was just a great thing to do. I’ve tried other professions, I’ve done other things just to kind of make sure that medicine was it for me, but I’ve always wanted to be in medicine, that’s my love.

Dr. JB: What other professions did you try?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I looked into engineering, not my thing. I also looked into law and that’s not my thing. I do have a second love, or I would say it’s a first love, but it’s a second love because my parents convinced me it doesn’t make you money. And that’s dance. I love dance. I love all things dance. Coming from a Nigerian culture, that wasn’t really cultivated when I was young and my parents really wanted us to assimilate into the American culture but make money from it, right? Make a living from it. And so, me begging for dance classes and cheerleading classes and all those things, they were like, “No, that’s not where you’re going to go.” But I still had this love for dancing, and I always and truly will do. But I think my love for medicine, maybe even a tat bit more.

Dr. JB: And it makes money, but you can make money through dancing and art and other things, too.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: You can. And that’s the thing; by the time I found out that you could, it was a little too late. So, it’s not too late to enjoy dance socially. I dance all the time. I dance by myself in front of my mirror. I dance outside, with teams and groups. But now that I know that, it’s kind of late, but you know, I’m in medicine and I can share the love, you know, it’s all part of art and culture, and that’s really who I am, a very liberal artsy, creative person, I think, outside of the box. And I think having that love for medicine, for people and love for creation, like dance and art put together is just essentially a really awesome thing.

Dr. JB: You know, both arts and medicine heal. And so, you know, they’re kind of like opposite sides to the same coin in terms of taking care of people and making people feel better.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I agree. I agree. It all works in tandem.

Dr. JB: So, did you always want to be a surgeon?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yes, actually. In the same route, I’ve always wanted to be a surgeon. I actually wanted to start off being a neurosurgeon and I didn’t know it was called a neurosurgeon at the time. I just remember, like I was four and I was like, “I want to be a brain surgeon.” That’s why I kept calling it, until I got to medical school and I found the actual name was a neurosurgeon.

And, when I got to medical school and I kind of looked into being a neurosurgeon, I was like, “Wow, these people are kind of smart. And they kind of do a lot of research and we don’t know a lot about the brain.” And I was like, “Mm, that’s not the kind of doc I want to be.” And then I was introduced to plastic surgery and then I was just like, “That’s it, that’s the thing I want to do.” And I spent all of my medical school years and all of my residency years studying plastic surgery, getting really good at making scars pretty and being really good with my hands and my skillset. And then I got into burn surgery fellowship.

I finished my residency. I was trying to apply for a plastic surgery fellowship, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So, after my surgical residency, I was like, okay, let me do a fellowship in the burn at plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery division program. So, that’s what I did, and halfway through the program, I remember this distinctively, I went home during Christmas, halfway through the program and I woke up and I was like, “I don’t really want to do this.”

And I asked myself, why am I doing this? And I think the reason I was drawn to it was the sexiness of it. And it wasn’t really something that I really felt my heart was connected to and I was drawn to it based on what society considers as worthy, right? And so I think we all fall into that regardless of what specialty, we all fall into this thing where we want to do what society thinks is worthy because society thinks it’s worthy. Not because it actually is. And I’m not saying that plastic surgery is not worthy.

Plastic surgeons are literally changing people’s lives, you know, people that have disfigurements or whatever, you know, they want to change how they look, they are changing people’s lives, but that wasn’t something that was in my destiny, right? So, I had to switch gears. I left the world of plastic surgery and just kind of went off as a surgeon and in my general surgery journey, I found out that I have a love for critical care surgery, trauma surgery.

I really like, the fact that I can change someone’s trajectory and change someone’s life through healing in an instant. And that got to me, you know having to go deeper than just skin level as far as a surgeon goes. And I love it. I absolutely love it. I absolutely love the way I can speak into people at the same time, use my hands through God, and heal people. And I think that’s my gift and I want to share it with the world.

Dr. JB: That’s amazing. And so, did you have to go back through any training or fellowship or anything like that, or you were able to just continue?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Well, for trauma surgery all general surgery, all general surgery residents finish their training with a considerable amount of trauma knowledge. And so, they can be a trauma surgeon without actually having to do a fellowship for that. A fellowship is good, but it’s just kind of icing on the cake.

I did have to go back to do a fellowship in critical care. I saw the trajectory of general surgery, kind of wanting people to be fellowship trained in critical care. And I just loved it. I just wanted to know more about critical care. So, I left my job as a general surgeon and went back into fellowship. That was fun. Went back into fellowship and took like an 80% pay cut so I can learn critical care for a year. It was well worth it. And once I finished, I was just like, “This is amazing.” And I went straight into trauma surgery, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Dr. JB: So, what is your day-to-day like?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: My day-to-day. Woo, child. Let me tell you… I’ going to first tell you what I would like my day-to-day to be.

Dr. JB: Let’s start there.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I’ll give you the real, I would like my day-to-day to be, I wake up, I use 30 minutes for prayer, praise workshop. I go to the gym for an hour, go to work, heal all kinds of things. Work very well with my colleagues and hospital administration. Go home, do an hour or two on my MBA work, follow up with a good book and some candles, eat dinner, and go to bed, kiss my pretend husband because I don’t have one, but that’s what I would actually like to happen, right?

Okay, and let me tell you what actually happens. I go to work 14 to 16 hours a day, take your pick, barely snack-snack on something that keeps my energy going, go home, fall dead asleep with a book on my face, still in my scrubs. Wake up, do it again.

Dr. JB: Rinse and repeat.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Right? So, that’s really kind of the typical things. People want to glorify being a doctor and they don’t really understand the background behind it. And also, doctors don’t really understand the need for rest, right? And so, it’s a balance. My day-to-day is never the same from day to day. The first version of what I would like my day to be, I always keep that as my goal, if I don’t reach that, that’s fine. You know what? I saved a life today, you know, I was able to read a paragraph. I kind of celebrate my small wins along the way. But more often than not, my day is not the way I would like it to be, but it’s the way it’s supposed to be. And that’s okay.

Dr. JB: You know, this whole concept of celebrating your small wins along the way is definitely one of the tools to help prevent burnout. Have you ever experienced burnout during your course?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Have I ever? I think as an African American and as an African American woman, burnout should be on your CV, point blank period. And I think that comes with the social norms of what a doctor looks like and the expectations of how our doctor should act. And so, I think just fighting the discrimination and the non-existence of equity and inclusion from day one is going to burn you, just baseline point blank period. Then you add the struggles of learning medicine. Then you add the struggles of specializing in medicine, right?

So, you’re already burned out just being who you are out of the womb, right? And then you add all the other stuff. So you’re going to be burned out, you can’t avoid it. Especially if you’re a double minority, like you and I are, it’s going to happen. So, you kind of have to figure out ways to lessen that blow. I’m currently burnt out with the 2020 shenanigans, so ongoing COVID and the stress of being a trauma surgeon, the stress of being a surgeon, the stress of being a black woman, trying to be heard in medicine and not seen as condescending, aggressive, assertive, uncaring. I’m fighting that.

Having to fight for my black and brown patients in the face of police brutality. I’m part of that, you know, I’m the only one, you know, tell me how I would not get burnout if I’m trying to speak life into a black boy that was brought into the hospital after the police shot at him. And they’re mad at me and the hospital’s getting on me because I’m trying to speak life into a black boy that has never heard a word of that in his life.

These are the situations that cause burnout. And you have to know that these situations are going to come. And in order to combat that, is to find a way to love yourself, know that you are valued, and continue to show that in the world.

Dr. JB: And so, when did you realize that that was the tool to combat it?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I realized that recently in 2021, when I hit rock bottom, and people look at me and they’re just like, “Oh my gosh, she’s so energetic, she’s so happy, she has everything going for her.” And they don’t really realize the struggles behind the struggle, right? I realized that back in 2021 and actually, I’m going to be candid. And this is the first time I’m actually being public about this. I have a couple of close friends that know about this, but in October of 2021, I considered ending my life. And it was just all of the struggles from being a surgeon, trying to be present for other people that didn’t really value you, trying to right the wrongs you think you did. And it was just a lot of things of trying to be perfect and trying to be what other people expected me to be.

And a lot of that, I would say about 40% of that—it’s not 40—60% of that was based on the struggles I was dealing with my work. People don’t really realize how much time you actually spend at the job. You spend more time at the job than you do at home or with yourself. It doesn’t seem like it, especially if you’re like a 95, but if you calculate all the hours you spend at work, there are more times that you spend at home or with yourself, right?

And so, what happens at work does affect you; as much as you want to think it doesn’t, it does affect you. And especially if you’re at a place where you’re not able to speak up for yourself, you’re not able to advocate for yourself, you have nobody supporting you. Everywhere you go, you have to be censored. Everywhere you go, you’re being magnified and people are targeting you. This is not something that doesn’t happen.

And when I talk about this to people that don’t understand where I stand in my shoes, they Gaslight you. And that’s another form of microaggression that actually contributes to burnout and contributes to depression, contributes to people wanting to end their lives. There has been a massive amount of physicians that have committed suicide, a massive amount. And people don’t even know that. There’s a massive amount of physicians going through burnout and depression because of their job, because they can’t speak u,  because they feel like they don’t have a say. We are physicians, we went to school for this, we are saving lives. How the heck we don’t have a say?

If all the physicians got together and just walked out of the hospital one day, do you know how much impact we would have? But we’re brainwashed by the system, by society, by  , that only care about the dollars they can make off of people’s lives. We are controlled by them. And so, they make us fear that we have no control. So, many physicians fear that we can’t do nothing, we have no control.

We have all the control in the world; we are literally doing the work of God. We are literally turning people’s lives around, saving lives. Nurse practitioners can’t do that. I love my nurse practitioners. I love my APPs. I love them. I can’t do my job without them, but nurses can’t do it, physician assistants can’t do it. The world needs doctors. And we have to, at some point, put our foot down because we are at the bottom of the totem pole.

Nowadays, when you think of healthcare heroes, the term that’s been coined since 2021 or 2020, everybody thinks of a nurse. It automatically comes to mind, healthcare heroes, RN, really? Okay. So, doctors have been forgotten. Brown and black doctors have been forgotten. And it’s a little bit of a struggle, you know? And so, when I hit that rock bottom, I realize nobody going to save me. Nobody cares. The only person that’s going to save me is me. And if I’m going to go out in this world, I’m going to go out loving myself. I’m going to go out knowing that I spoke up for myself, I’m going to go out knowing that I put positive energy in this world. You’re not about to take me out at my lowest. If you’re going to take me out, you’re going to take me out at my highest. I don’t care what you say, and also, you’re going to take me out and then you’re going to have to answer to God, because he’s the one that actually saved me, right?

So, I don’t care what anybody says, I’m going to be cordial to you, I’ll respect you. I’ll do all those things, but what you’re not going to do is tell me what I’m not. And once I realized that, that’s when kind of things reversed for me, so…

Dr. JB: Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. I mean, wow! You know, it’s amazing that when you are at your lowest point was when you realize that nobody, nobody else is going to love me, but me, right? Because so many of us look for love externally, look for validation externally, look for somebody else to tell us our worth, not realizing our worth ourselves.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Right. I was just talking to one of my friends about this. Was it two days ago? No, today. Okay, my days are all mixed up. Anyway. I was just talking to somebody about this, about we’re in a validity culture where a lot of people are looking externally for their value, and what people don’t understand is just being born, you’re valuable. All that other stuff, all the other accolades, the money, the awards, the friend count, the husband, the wife, the child, all of those are just icing on the cake. You are the cake, right?

You don’t need all that stuff to be valuable. The fact that you’re alive, that you were born means you have value. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been born. You’ve been a tree somewhere, you know? And I think that is lost in the sauce, especially nowadays with our media campaigns, I think that’s really lost. Like, more and more people are feeling like they have to do more and more and more and more and more just to be basically valued, you know, and I just find it very interesting.

It’s good. I love collecting degrees. My parents call me the professional degree collector. I love it. I love education. I love knowledge. I love seeing all the degrees on my wall. That’s just my thing, right? But if I didn’t have a single degree on the wall, I’m still important and nobody can tell me that I’m not. And if you do, I’m not listening to you

Dr. JB: Exactly. You can only say that when you know your self-worth.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Dr. JB: Until you realize that yourself, then what somebody else says to you is going to affect you.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I will have to say that a lot of this, I’ve gotten through with therapy. I think every person born on this earth should have a therapist. That should be like, you know how they say you should have a PCP and have your, you know, whatever, serial workup. I think your PCP should also be a therapist, you know? And it’s very hard, you know, therapy’s hard upfront because you have to find the right person that meshes with you.

And I feel like it’s different from a PCP, or you can go to a PCP that doesn’t really mesh well with you, but they still take care of you, but a therapist is very personal. So, you do have to find someone that actually meshes with you emotionally and mentally. So, that’s a hard part. The next hard part is being able to open up to that person and being able to trust that person. But once you find someone that’s trained in therapy, not just someone that’s your friend or your mom, you need some actual trained therapist that can take your thoughts out of your mind and mirror it back to you and show you how to build emotional intelligence and strength. I think that helps a lot.

And so, many physicians don’t do that and I think they’re afraid of how that’ll affect their job. And then let me tell you right now, if you feel like it’s going to affect your job, one tip that I like to give my physician friends is don’t use your insurance because it’s trackable. So, if you want to get a therapist and you’re afraid about it being trackable, cash money. That’s all I have to say about that.

But anyway, I think therapy’s very important and it’s more important now than ever before, especially with the extreme amount of burnout that’s happening right now with physicians and all medical healthcare professionals, the world, in general. So, that’s one of the ways also that I would say that I’ve gotten through this point, I’m not going to lie and be like, it was all me and I did it with inner strength. No, I had help. And you should have help. If you got to rock bottom on your own, you’re probably not going to get out of that on your own, so you should have help.

Another point I want to say about that about burnout and depression, especially that’s massive in the medical community, is that a lot of people want to say, reach out to me, you know, if you’re feeling like this, reach out to me. One thing about depression, but really depressed people, not ones that are just doing it for show, they won’t tell you, especially physicians. Physicians are built to kind of hold their emotions in so that they can care for others. Depressed people will not run out to you. They will not reach out for help. No.

And so, I want to reverse that saying, and it really irks me when I see people say that. I was like, “Have you ever dealt with the depressed person before? Because what you’re saying tells me you have not.” People that see people change habits that are reclused from their job, that all of a sudden, they don’t care about things that they used to care about. It is our job, especially as medical health professionals to go to that person, sit that person down and be like, “Hey, I’ve noticed X, Y, and Z, are you okay? You know, I want to offer my support. Let’s talk about how we can get through this.” And as someone that’s been there and as someone that’s seen, you know, literally the rock bottom, I appreciated that more than ever from people that reached out to me that noticed that habit changed and reached out to me.

And it was those people that actually saved my life. It wasn’t the people that I actually went to, you know, my therapist before and after that; they helped me kind of organize my thoughts, but it was those people that actually came to me and cared enough to ask am I okay. Even though they knew I was a very strong person that I get through very strong things, they noticed that changed and they were concerned. Just be concerned, be aware, you know?

We’ve seen a lot of depression on social media, you know, beauty contestants taking their lives. I guarantee you, people saw a change in their pattern and did not reach out. They were like, “Oh, she’s beautiful. She’s successful. She’ll get through it.” They didn’t get through it.

Dr. JB: I think sometimes people are afraid to reach out because they don’t know what to say.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yes. Yeah. That’s very true, yeah. And that’s what I get a lot from people like, “What am I supposed to say?” Anything. If you know this person enough that you notice their habit changed, that means you’ve been in their life for a bit, whether it’s professional or personal, you’ve known them well enough to know that they’re different.

And so, if you notice they’re different, just say that, just be like, “Hey, you know, can I talk to you for a minute? I just noticed that you’re not as happy as much. I just noticed that you know, you don’t care about the things that you used to care about. What’s going on?” That’s it, you don’t have to like be like, can I get you a million dollars? Can I take you on a fantastic trip? You don’t have to do anything. The fact that you even reached out and notice them that says… I can’t even put into words That are so important to the person. Just the fact that you notice them, that can do wonders.

Dr. JB: And so, sometimes you don’t need words.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yeah, exactly. Like, you can put a little post-it note on their desk, Hey, just wanting to know if you’re okay. Or Happy Monday—two words, post on the desk “Happy Monday, signed such and such.” That’s it. People just want to make some fantasy story, something out of nothing. It’s not even that, just people just want to be heard and appreciated, and that’s it. You don’t have to do some fancy thing to appreciate somebody, you know, and that can change the mood of everything.

Dr. JB: And even just being present, you can just be present with them and silent.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yeah. Exactly. I have a friend that will come over, we just will sit and they’ll watch TV, not say a word, “Well, okay, thing’s over. Bye.” “Bye.” I mean, we didn’t even have a full conversation, not but 10 words were said, and those words were like, “What do you want to watch? What are you watching?” “Okay,” and that’s it. And people don’t understand the value of that. Sometimes you just don’t want to talk, you know, so many things, like, it takes so much energy. You just want to just sit, fine.

Dr. JB: Yep. So, you mentioned that you are currently feeling symptoms of burnout

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yes. So, my current symptoms of burnout basically was just being in an MBA and being a full-time surgeon as well, and the thing about the MBA is I love it. I love UT Austin. It’s my school. It’s also my Alma mater. So, I graduated from there. I’m not going to show my age but many years ago, and I decided to come back for getting my MBA and it was the best decision in the world. I love them.

However, I’ve never taken a business class or a financial class ever in my life. That’s kind of the beauty of medicine. You really have to devote your whole entire life to medicine and it’s really little wiggle room to go elsewhere. And so, once I got to a point where I was comfortable in what I do as a surgeon, I’m now diversifying my portfolio, right? But it’s very difficult. I’m in an executive MBA program and what that means is all of the people in my class have been out working for a number of years before they decided to get their MBA.

So, I got CEOs, CFOs CMOs in my class. I got people that build corporations, people that build buildings, people that are working internationally. I mean, you name it. It’s in my class. I mean, we’re actually a really good class. And then you have me,

Dr. JB: You’re amazing, by the way.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I’m just like, “What is leverage? Can someone tell me?” So, it’s a really humbling experience because, you know, coming from my profession where I am like the cream of the crop, I know what I’m doing. I can do this with my eyes closed, my hands tied behind my back to immediately jumping into a seat where I know absolutely nothing, and I have to crawl and claw my way through the information to get somewhere where my cohorts are on.

And it’s actually been a very beautiful experience. Somebody would look at it and be like, “Oh my God, who wants to do that?” But it’s just like, I feel like a kid again. I feel like I’m learning again. I feel like I’m in a new world, and it’s hard. It’s so hard. I mean, it’s really hard. It takes a lot of energy. I learn differently. I learn much slower. I have to use my free time that I can be out doing something else to read these things. But the accomplishment I feel from it, no one can take that away, right?

And I’m not the best in my class. I’m not making straight A’s, but I’m passing, I’m holding my own. But it does take a lot of energy. So, I’m feeling a little out from that and I’m relearning how to bring back my personal essence. I have to relearn my schedule. I have to do things and block off time, like this Saturday, I’m not doing no schoolwork, no work at all. I’m literally just doing things for enjoyment. And I haven’t done that in almost six months. So, things like that, you have to, you know, there’s a point where you just have to decide what you’re going to do, prioritize.

As far as outside of MBA, as far as my personal work, I’m in a job transition right now. And so, it’s really hard because you want to stay loyal to your current job and just because they’re the ones that kind of gave you your first, right? But when you recognize you’re somewhere that you’re not supported, you recognize that you’re on an island, it’s really hard to work in that kind of environment.

And nobody wants to speak out about that because they’re afraid of losing their job. I’m not afraid of losing my job. God will take care of me. If it’s a point where I’m talking about this and I feel like this, and then instead of getting rid of the talker, why don’t you correct what’s wrong, right? You just want to hide what you’re doing, instead of actually putting efforts to correct what’s wrong. Just do the right thing, support people, pay people what they’re worth, be transparent. Like, what are you hiding? So, just those things like that add to the burnout. And I’m really proud of how I’ve been able to overcome that by putting myself first and realizing what my worth is, my monetary worth and my internal worth and actually putting that up in the atmosphere.

Dr. JB: As women in medicine, oftentimes we’re not paid—not even in medicine, women in general, oftentimes we’re not paid what we’re truly worth.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yes, I agree. I encourage everybody, not just women, not just minorities, but everybody to at least Google, that’s probably not going to be the exact amount, but at least Google your specialty’s, average salary. So, it’s public, that’s probably not the true, true salary, but somewhere around the ballpark. When I did that this year, I realized I was in the bottom 5% of surgeons paid nationally.

Dr. JB: Wow.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Bottom 5%. And I haven’t received a raise or a bonus in four years. Four years ago, when I started as a trauma surgeon, I was not boarded. I just was coming out of training. I still had two years of being a general surgeon. So, I was still further than my peers coming out of fellowship and I didn’t know. I didn’t know what the pay was. I didn’t look into it. And that’s my fault. Now that I’m in business and I’m thinking about how I’m going to pay people that may work for me in the future.

These are things I look into and I was like, “Let me just find out what I’m being paid.’ I was just shocked, I almost dropped my computer. I was like, “You have got to be kidding me.” And now that I’m a double board certified and now I’m like a seasoned trauma surgeon. I’m not even just a surgeon, I’m a specialized surgeon, not just a specialized surgeon in one specialty: trauma surgical, critical care and burns and wounds. I’ve been the surgical chair of two hospitals. I’m currently the surgical ICU Co-director, and I’m doing trauma education. With all of these things, I’m in the bottom 5% of surgeons paid nationwide. What sense does that make?

Dr. JB: None.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: None! And I know there needs to be a gradation of pay, but the people coming out of training brand new, never been on their own treating patients are getting paid more than me. Why? For what reason? And this is an issue because, and then, when I bring it up, I’m seen as the troublemaker.

So, not only do you want me to work long hours and over my hours, but you don’t want to pay me because you think I’m free. I thought slavery ended centuries ago. No, it didn’t, it’s still well alive.

So these are things that we have to first realize, do our research on and then fight it. It’s tough because people are afraid. Like I mentioned, in the beginning of the show, doctors are afraid, they don’t want to speak up. They’re afraid of losing their job, you know? And because they spent so much time in this field of medicine and did not diversify that. It’s a very big deal. If you lose your job as a surgeon, you lose your skills. You cannot go back to being a surgeon it’s different for medicine and non-procedural type specialties.

But as a surgeon, you have to keep up your skills in order to find other jobs. If I don’t do a gallbladder for two years, I cannot get a job as a general surgeon. If I don’t work, if I don’t do an operation for six months, any operation, I cannot get a job as a general surgeon. And companies know this, hospitals know this, so they feel like they have the upper hand, but you still have control, you do. And so, knowing your pay and asking for what you’re worth until you find what you’re worth, is it.

Dr. JB: And that’s actually a really good piece of advice, just doing a Google search. Because oftentimes, a lot of us don’t share, you know, this it’s kind of like divide and conquer mindset, right?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: There’s enough money out there. They have it. CEOs are getting paid millions.

Dr. JB: We don’t talk to each other about how much money we’re making. I think people assume we’re each getting paid the same somehow, when it’s not true, but we’ll be working side by side. We don’t talk about money and how much we’re getting paid.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Right. It’s kind of ridiculous. Yeah, and I don’t understand that. I was talking to a plastic surgeon just yesterday morning and he didn’t care. He was like, “Oh yeah, I’m getting paid this.” And I was like, “What?” He was like, “Yeah, you know, I own my own business. I live my life the way I want to, I wanted to get paid more. I would have to work more. I would have to lose some of my freedoms.” And that’s also something you have to understand too, yes getting paid more is great, there’s also a responsibility with that, and so it’s a balance, but you have to also realize what other people else is getting paid. If you want more responsibility and I definitely have that more responsibility, I should be getting paid for the responsibility I have taken on, right? And so, it’s all on the balance.

And I think we, as doctors, we need to be less in silos and more together, right? And I’m not sure where this idea came that every doctor’s against the other doctor. We’re just so fractionated, it’s so… I don’t understand, we’re trying to do the same thing. We all just want to heal people and then make a living for ourselves, and for some reason, we’re not able to do that.

Dr. JB: Well, that’s what Hope4Med’s about, is breaking these silos and having these conversations. Because where else can you have this conversation that you and I just had? This is the platform. Because the experiences that you have experienced as a woman, as a black woman, as a surgeon, you’re not the only person going through these experiences. Some people may be like, “Oh, maybe it’s all in my head.” No, maybe it’s not all in your head, maybe it’s actually really, truly happening.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: That’s what the world wants. They want to make you think that it’s in your head, they want to gaslight you because if they have to admit to it, that means they have to admit that you’re a real human being and admit that they treated you wrong and that’s, they don’t want to do that.

Dr. JB: So, with that being said, you know, I understand that you are in this period of transition. And I think that your future is so bright. And I think you’re going to do amazing things with this MBA. I don’t know how many more degrees you’re going to… Your parents you’re…

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: We’ll see, the future has yet to be told.

Dr. JB: I don’t think you got your JD yet. Maybe you might.

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: I mean, hey, I was, hey, after these little police incident, I was like, “You know, I need to know medical law a little bit more.”

Dr. JB: But I know that our time is coming to a close. And so, I wanted to know, do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to leave my listener?

Dr. Kanene Ubesie: Yeah, I think my pearls of wisdom will be to continue to be yourself. Who you think you want to be is not who you should be. And with time and patience and perseverance, you will attract everything that you want. You will manifest everything that you want, but in order to get there, you have to start with loving yourself and being true to yourself. Somebody loves you. Somebody values you. And if you think no one loves your value you, you value you. You love you. And I promise you, things will turn around, things will come back to you. You will love your life because you’re you.

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