Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Game face ON.

"Enthusiasm creates opportunities for learning."  

~ Daniel Wang, MD
EUSOM '13,  Small Group Beta


Small Group Delta (and all of the other medical students in their class) are starting their clinical clerkships this week. Isn't that exciting? I sure think so. Anyways. I met up with them yesterday evening after their orientation session--partly to just lay my eyes on them but also to get their minds right for this next step. I'm a big fan of the "game face."


That reminds me. When I was in residency, I used to pretend as if I was literally strapping on a mask when taking call or starting some particularly challenging rotation. My classmates knew about that little practice and would always get a chuckle when they saw me fastening my imaginary buckles behind my head. "GAME FACE ON!" I'd yell out. "BRING IT, BABY!"


What that really was was me being intentional about whatever it was I was going to do next. Like, here was this line I was drawing in the sand that said over here is what I was doing before and over there is what I'm about to do. And something about taking a moment to clarify that has always been good for me. I still do that, actually. At the start of wards when riding the elevator up to meet my team on the first day, I put on my metaphorical game face. Sure do.

(A selfie of me at Grady with my game face strapped on.)

I think it makes a difference.

So yeah. That's what I wanted for my small group advisees. I needed them to get their game faces strapped on tight. And so. We met up and had our pleasantries. Then I launched into what I thought were some clutch things for them to know and do before jumping into this part of medical training. And most of them weren't that much different than this, which is pretty much the advice I had a couple of years back when SG Gamma started the wards.


This time tapped into a great resource. This group is the fourth of my small groups to date. Two groups have since graduated on and one more is in their final year. I asked them for a few words of advice for "how to bring your A game" on the wards and clinical clerkships. And by "bring your A game" that means what are the ways to get the most out of the rotation and just maybe get an A while doing so. Oh, and I also told them to "keep it around the length of a tweet."


I reached out to the whole Team Manning SG Fam--Small Groups Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. I got quite a few responses. Even if you aren't a member of the Manning SG Family Tree, that's okay. This advice is good no matter who you are. As a matter of fact, it's good advice for me, too.

I bring you:


(Oh, and the photos are all members of my small groups through the years. My, how the time flies.)

Like to hear it? Here it go!


Words of wisdom to put on your mental post it notes. . . . 

"It's a marathon not a sprint. You've gotten this far. Don't let anything get in your way--ANYTHING."

"Go hard. This is a critical time. Don't drop the ball. Run hard and strong on every single play."

"Enthusiasm creates opportunities for learning." 

"Focus on what matters on wards: the patients, the care, the science. Be likable, but don't waste energy thinking about how to be likable." 

"Know things (about both history and pathology) for your patients."

"Don't be late."

"Always do your best. Even if you feel tired."

"Stay engaged and look happy to be there. Sometimes this means that you get to be super involved but sometimes this just means listening attentively during never know when a question will be thrown your way."

"Develop a good understanding that it's not about you (or your attending), it's about the patient. This will get you far on the wards, and get you through some of the tougher days."

"Keep the patient and their well-being as your focus and all else will fall into place. Even if it's a rotation you aren't interested in as a career, there's something you can gain from it, appreciate the opportunity."

"Show up on time and have a question to ask (after reading up on the question first.)

"Never stop thinking. And remember: Happy spouse, happy house. And remember that it's all about expectations."

"Work hard. Seriously just work hard for your patients and always ask questions! If you act interested and clearly will do whatever it takes to give good patient care, automatic good eval and a great experience."

"Be nice. And don't ever lie."

"Don't let your midriff show!"

"Appearance matters. No matter how scruffy or gross you are in real life, tighten it up. No cell phones in view of anyone you work with.  Always think of the next step beyond what is asked of you."

"Be useful! Anticipate needs and attempt to formulate plans, even if you're wrong. Ask questions and study for the shelf exam."

"Hear Dr. Manning's motto in your head at all times: 'Don't embarrass me.'"

"Leave it all on the field. Every single time."

"Remember the 'my mama rule' and the 'It's not about you rule.'"

"Never stop caring."


Is there any question why I love my job so much? I get to receive text messages that say things like that. From people like this. 

Oh, and before I forget--couldn't miss a chance to add these last couple of snaps with my newest colleague at Grady. . . .

With Dr. Alanna Stone of SG Alpha EUSOM '11

Yep. In a few months I'll say good bye to Small Group Gamma . . and welcome Small Group Epsilon. . . . at the same time that Alanna from Small Group Alpha returns to the nest. Yes. We will be shoulder to shoulder at Grady Hospital. . . but this time as fellow FACULTY.

How cool is THAT?

Game face. . .ON!

Happy Wednesday--and hey! Don't embarrass me.

Oh and in case it got missed, here is my first day quick advice that I gave these guys.

And since I'm feeling mushy. . .here are my videos of SG Alpha and SG Beta. Le sigh. Along with the Beatles songs that are playing now on my mental iPod. . . .yes, I am a mush ball.

SG Alpha. . . 

Small Group Alpha - EUSOM Class of 2011 from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.

and SG Beta's graduation day (for Mark who couldn't come to commencement.)

Commencement 2013 from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.

. . . and, okay,  this isn't the Beatles, but is also from Small Group Beta. . . "Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna.  Watched this, too and got choked up with the other ones. Yes, my advisees have the most sentimental advisor of them all. :)

Small Group Beta from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Kim--do you mind me calling you that? We may never meet in the person (although I do sometimes consider getting myself admitted to Grady...just so I have a shot at meeting you), but your writings are, manna-from-freakin'-heaven that I feel like you're my neighbor, friend, sister. You let me and every other anonymous reader come inside--and I do mean INSIDE.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you every day.
    You also always give the props and respect to those around you instead of fluffing up your own feathers. And even when you do fluff, you're always doing so from a place of gratitude, so I never feel like biting your ankle.
    Plus, I'm in love with your two little big guys. Selfishly, I hope they come to Morehouse, where I teach English.
    I don't know/remember if you and BHE (love that!) ever go to the theatre, but my sister/friend/beloved-pal-of-thirty-years Tsehaye Hebert (who also reads you--even up in frozen Chicago) asked me to send to you a special invitation to her play that is now showing at the Alliance's black box stage. THE C.A. LYONS PROJECT is a magnificent play--with way crazy mucho music and dance--about an 80s African American dance company in Chicago whose leader is dying of what you and I know was called back then GRID. The three women who are central to the company have their own back-stories and the fact of his dying brings each to a come-to-Jesus moment.
    Class, race, sexuality, adoption, disability--you name it, and Tsehaye deals with it. Beautifully.
    Okay, I'll shut up now, though I could go on for days. Tsehaye sent me the play in its earliest incarnation, and you could've knocked me over with a speck of dust. So when the play won the Kendeda Award and is now part of the National New Play Network--but premiered here first, oh, yes!--well, I just wasn't surprised.
    This wild-ass, crazy-creative, sixty-four-years-young Tsehaye nearly left the planet two years ago when she was hit with a skin infection that led to steroids that led to other diseases and sepsis that led to three weeks in a coma that led to two months in ICU and four more months in rehab hospitals and another year in a wheelchair. She was paralyzed throughout most of those rehab she was writing this play in her mind. That's how crazy she is.
    I flew to Chicago about a week after she came out of the coma, fearing that I was going there to say goodbye. She was in ICU, tubes from everywhere practically wrapping her in a cocoon, and able only to blink. I remember asking her with the blink-once-for-no--twice-for-yes, "Tsehaye, are you in there?" She blinked twice. I knew for certain then that the voices I'd heard from heaven (no, I promise I'm not schizophrenic) as I was praying, praying, praying on the airplane to Chi-town were telling me the truth: Don't worry, Cindy--she ain't done yet.
    And she's not. Her work is just starting to soar (even though I and others could see her brilliance back when we were students together in Chicago).
    Oh, my--please forgive me. I don't think I meant to go on and on, but I'm not going to erase what I've written here.
    So--special invitation to you and Harry. If y'all come to the play, I would love to know when (I'm very findable via Morehouse or the phone book), for I know Tsehaye would love to meet you. Plus, I plan to attend at least one or two more times. I promise I will only kneel at your feet once and then leave you alone. But come to the play even if you don't want to meet these two old women.
    Thank you, Dr. Kim, for all you do at Grady, in your family, and with/for the rest of us out here in this beautiful, suffering, infinitely precious, old world.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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