Trainee Spotlight: November 2021

Trainee Spotlight

November 2021

Natalie Pace

Natalie Pace, PGY2

Hi, Natalie, I'm so happy you agreed to be the spotlight resident of the month with me, so let's just get started and dive in. How is second year going? 

I can't believe we are almost halfway done with second year! It's been a whirlwind so far, but it's been really wonderful to be able to work with my people and to focus on Urology. I don't know if I'm truly in my stride yet because I haven't rotated on the Vanderbilt main service, but I'm really enjoying it so far. 

Well, speaking of that, now that you're almost halfway through your second year, we are also soaring through intern year and all of us look up to you PGY-2s. I'm wondering what advice do you have for us as interns now and then also, what advice do you have for any of the applicants since they will be residents shortly?

That's a really good question. I'd say my advice for intern year is to try to keep it all in perspective and learn as much as you can about identifying who's sick and who's not sick. Also, have fun with your PGY-2 when you're on Vandy Main and at the VA. I think that makes it so much more enjoyable, but I think we all do that anyways. And then on Gen Surg, I think I would tell you to try to make some good friendships in the Gen Surg department. It's something that I know I did to some degree last year, but I think I could have made a few better friends last year. It's a really wonderful opportunity to get to know co-residents in other subspecialties and the Gen Surg department.

Natalie Pace with co-residents

For the incoming applicants, I would say you should just dive in. I've really looked up to your class because you all have a really strong identity in your own selves and strengths. In my opinion, you've enriched the department already in many ways, and I know it's because you're excited to be here and aren’t afraid to just become a part of the department and jump in. I think that's awesome and it's something I look up too. Specifically, Bryn, I really look up to how she's so passionate about recruiting. You, Lani really care about your patients and your bilingualism has been clutch multiple times. I haven't worked with Will, but he has a fantastic energy and attitude and then Kate is just a complete animal on the floor and great team player. It's been really fun to see you guys grow so much already and I'm thrilled to have you all following me in the program. So to summarize, be yourself, find your community, put patients first and enjoy the ride. That's my tidbit of advice.

Aww well, thank you. I think we all feel like we have a lot of room to grow, but it's nice to hear that from you. What is your favorite thing about your co-residents?

There are so many things, it's hard to identify a favorite... The first thing that comes to mind is our awesome group hugs. They're my frickin’ favorite. I don't know if any other class from Vanderbilt Urology has ever done group hugs as much as we have, but it's awesome. I also love our karaoke machine, which is going to get a lot of use third year. Be ready for that. We invested in it last year because there was nothing really to do during COVID, so we got the karaoke machine, with a strobe light, mind you. They are amazing and I couldn’t ask for better co-residents.

They are amazing! And again, we look up to you guys so much! Okay, now on to fun things. If you had the whole weekend off, what would you do? Walk me through your plans.

Natalie Pace with family

Haha, well Friday night, I would get together with some friends and play Settlers of Catan. My boyfriend Justin and I have some friends that we love playing Settlers with and we nerd out. We've played probably 15 games since last year with them. We either order some takeout or we cook together, plus or minus Five Daughter’s donuts for dessert. The game gets pretty competitive.   
On Saturday morning, I start the day with a long walk with my boyfriend and his one-year-old golden retriever, Charlie. We live in The Nations which is a developing area north of the city. It seems like there is always a new home being built or restaurant in the works. I also love to get a good workout in, so maybe go to F45, ride my peloton, run, hike or something. The rest of the day is normally a catch-up day, which isn't super fun, but it's fulfilling for me. Saturday nights vary. I love to go out and see a comedy show at the Ryman or Zannie’s or a live show at Ascend Ampitheater. Sundays we'll cook breakfast and workout again and then either go for a good hike out at Percy Warner or watch football. That's my ideal weekend as a Nashvillian. Can I consider myself that after a year and a half?

Definitely! And lucky for you in about six months, you have that to look forward to every weekend! Okay, let's transition into some rapid-fire questions. Some are urology related, some are not. What is your favorite consult? 

Gross hematuria... just kidding! I’d say my favorite console is testicular torsion. It’s a fun consult because you're either reducing it at bedside and feel like you saved the day and then you get to operate! 

What's been your favorite rotation so far as a second year?

It’s definitely been the VA so far. As hard as it is and as much as I feel like I'm constantly swimming in CPRS and admin work, it was really satisfying to feel like I became competent at TRUS biopsies and cystos during my procedure clinics. It’s all about reps and I think I really started to understand some of the guidelines about bladder and advanced prostate cancer during that rotation. You also get a couple OR days per week which are phenomenal.

What's your favorite food in Nashville?

Natalie Pace on hike

Black Dynasty Ramen! It’s so freaking good. They've been closed and in the process of relocating for a year and they are finally open in the new Bearded Iris!  I am so pumped- it's worth every penny of the 20 dollars that they charge for the ramen.

I'll have to try it! What's your happy place?

My happy place is on a mountain somewhere in the Southwest like Utah or Arizona.  I love to do like a run-hike and witness the sunrise and soak in the peacefulness of the morning.

Oh, I love that. Last question-appropriate since you're about to leave your house for drinks. What's your favorite cocktail?

Ooh, my go-to is a good old-fashioned Otherwise, I love gin drinks- a fancy little gin diddy is always a good idea.

So fun! Well, that concludes our interview. So thank you, Natalie for answering my questions both today and every time we work together!

Interview conducted by Lani Galloway, MD