“Anything you love is worth doing no matter how long it takes to do it.” That was my older brother’s response to my teenage whining about the fact that being a doctor took so many years. I left home at 17 and came to Morehead the first time as an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky. Following that visit, I only applied to the Rural Physician Leadership Program based in Morehead.
My first two years of medical school were in the Lexingon campus, where small group activities connected me with others like me who would also move to Morehead during our third year. This helped create strong bonds and close community, which were important when moving an hour away from Lexington and away from the rest of our class. The one-on-one learning experience with attendings at St. Claire was powerful and unique. The history of the hospital and the connection of the physicians with the patients were distinctly different than anything I had experienced before or since. There is no way I would be the doctor I am today without these people: the attendings and the trainees. It was close-knit environment that I valued and carried with me when I left for residency in Vermont.
What no one tells you is that you develop roots to many places. I missed Kentucky, but I was uncertain I could leave Vermont. After all, Vermont is where my husband and I started our marriage. It was where I first took care of my own patients. But Kentucky was never far from my mind. How would it be to work among those with a shared experience where I would not need to explain myself? To be in a place where I could bear witness to others growing up and caring for those in their hometown communities.
Shea Poynter Lambirth, MD
UK College of Medicine, Class of 2013
Rural Physician Leadership Program