Hi Andrew, tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Andrew. I was born and grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, but moved to the US in 5th grade. Currently, I'm a full-time pediatrician at an outpatient clinic office outside of Los Angeles, CA. As a California transplant, I have loved getting to explore California beaches and mountains, and really enjoy spending time with my family and friends! I also really enjoy board games and music.
Can you tell us what you do as a Pediatrician for those who are unfamiliar?
As a pediatrician, I see and take care of patients from the moment they are born (literally on day 0 of life sometimes) until they turn into adults. I examine, evaluate, and provide appropriate recommendations for children and their families (including vaccinations) so that these children will one day become healthy young adults. I also see children when they are sick and give appropriate treatments when I can (or send them to the right places when I can't).
One of my favorite parts of work is getting to educate children and families to become healthier by developing and sustaining healthy habits of good nutrition and exercise - this brings me so much joy at work!
How did you decide to pursue pediatric medicine? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
Maybe I was born to work with kids? 🤷🏽♂️ I grew up in a family that loved children - my mom is a preschool teacher and my sister leads the children's ministry at a church. I knew I wanted to go into medicine, but it was mentors I worked with during college and medical school - all of whom happened to be pediatricians! - who really made me fall in love with caring for children and families. But what "sealed the deal" was the moment I saw the miracle of bringing a new life (birth) during my medical school - and after that I knew I wouldn't be happy if I didn't see children in my clinical practice. After that, I've never looked back!
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
Find mentors who will help guide your way. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the help of people who exemplified to me the kind of physician (or even, the kind of person) I wanted to become (and part of the reason I wanted to share my story here!). Volunteer with hospitals and shadow doctors to "get your name out" and hopefully have good letters of recommendations from that in your portfolio. Also, for those interested in becoming a physician, don't discount your non-medical pursuits and be yourself - these are the experiences that really shaped who you are, and that's what makes you really stand out!
What are some must-have resources (books, tools, podcasts, etc.) you would recommend for your industry?
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
1) Empathetic and a good listener
2) Hard-worker and detail-oriented
3) Collaborative and a team player
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
I LOVE seeing patients grow up before my eyes. It's also really satisfying when patients take your advice and they become excited with the results along with you in regards to their health.
The hardest part of my job is when I have to break bad news to my patients - patients may not realize it, but sometimes you take this bad news personally too.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Don't be disappointed or give up when you don't get the grades you wanted, or when you get rejected from schools/programs. Give yourself grace and learn from your disappointments and failures. Keep on learning and surround yourself with people who will make you better!
Best advice you've received/heard?
Take time for yourself! Medicine is a really grueling field of work, and if you don't take care of yourself, medicine will not take care of you.