Trainee Spotlight: October 2021

Trainee Spotlight

October 2021

Lani Galloway

Lani Galloway, PGY1

Welcome Dr. Galloway to the Spotlight! Let’s get started, shall we? Most of the readers are dying to know “Who is Dr. Galloway?” (who you are, where are you from, where are you going)? 

Sure thing, I was born in Dallas, Texas and then I moved to the suburbs of Washington D.C. when I was really little and have lived there for a large majority of my life. I went to undergrad at UVA, which is only a few hours from where I grew up. Then, I did medical school at Georgetown and finally, I just made my first adult move to Nashville! Things are going well so far, we are 3 months in, and I am on my first vacation, which I am soaking up! 

Awesome! We will get to your vacation in a little bit… You mentioned that you’re 3 months in to intern year. How do you think the transition has been between being a medical student and now being a doctor?

Oh man… the transition was… is… was tough haha! You don’t realize how much responsibility you have until you actually get there. I mean it’s an amazing amount of autonomy, obviously supervised, that you get, at least in my experience. As an intern, I started off on the Vanderbilt main Urology service and you hold the service pager. That means you’re the first person who knows about all of the Urology consults and all of the things going on with our patients on the floor, which can be incredibly overwhelming and is a huge change from medical school. Obviously, you have a huge support network made up of all of the upper-level residents, nurse practitioners, and attendings if you need them for any kind of safety net. The good thing is that I feel like there is never a time where I can’t ask for help if I need it. As a new intern, there is a ton of new responsibility to get used to and there are plenty of times when I have to ask for help, but it has been a great experience so far!

Galloway Match

Well that’s great, we really love having you here and you’ve done an amazing job on the service so far. We’re very excited to have you come back on the urology services. You kind of hit on this a little bit but what do you think has been the most challenging and the most rewarding part about intern year thus far?

Hmm. The most difficult thing for me has been learning more about the care of critically ill patients. That’s just not my “thing” I guess… For example, when I was on Vascular Surgery, there were a lot of patients in the SICU and the CVICU, and that was really challenging. Learning about ventilators, pressors, and how to think about patients who are critically ill is something I really didn’t have a lot of exposure to in medical school, but is obviously very important to learn about. I think the most rewarding part of residency so far for me has been really feeling like you are someone’s doctor and you actually are helping take care of them. I  expected patients to mostly view senior residents and attendings as their doctors, but I guess I didn’t realize that even as an intern, patients also start to think of you as the doctor taking care of them because you’re the one that checks up on them three times a day and asks if their having pain or if they’ve finally had a bowel movement. Feeling like you are someone that patients can trust and someone that can really help patients has been really rewarding. In those moments, it finally feels like all the hard work up to this point was worth it.

I love it. Critical situations can definitely be tough but like you said before you have tons of help available whenever you need it. And it is a weird transition going from being a medical student to someone’s doctor but you’ve done a great job so far. So, you’re now a doctor and you’re on the other side. If you had to give a piece of advice to the medical students applying into urology now what would you say?

I think it’s really intimidating to go through the process virtually. I know that I was really nervous about that. For me, the most important thing that I was looking for in a program was for it to be not only a great training program, but also a place where people were actually friends and wanted to hang out with each other. I wanted to find a place where residents were more than colleagues and they were close with each other. I think that I was really scared that that would not come through on Zoom and that would be something you could not tell virtually at all. But I guess I would say to trust your gut on when you see people interacting and gauge if that is how you would want to interact with your future co-workers, whether it be residents or attendings. I do think that these interactions come through on zoom and if it’s awkward or uncomfortable and you feel like it’s not the kind of way you’d like to interact with your co-workers, or the opposite, then you should trust your instinct and keep that in mind when you’re figuring out what program is the best fit for you.

Galloway Travel

That’s great advice! A little bit tougher question. You’re just getting your feet wet in urology and getting used to the service but what kind of urology do you think you will be practicing in 10 years? 

Oh gosh, honestly, I wish I could tell you concretely, but when I went into medical school, I changed my mind literally 5 times! And I landed on urology really late since I did my urology rotation at the end of January of my third year and didn’t decide until soon after that there was nothing else that was going to make me as happy as I was on that rotation. So, I probably will change my mind 5 times again in residency, but if I had to choose one thing I think at this point, I’d say oncology. From what I’ve seen from my mentors, I really like the bond between urologic oncologists and their patients and ultimately, one of the reasons why I chose urology was for the opportunity to treat patients for a long time and have that long standing relationship with them. But like I said, I will probably change my mind many times throughout residency! 

Oncology is a great field and it’s great to keep an open mind and see where your experiences and residency takes you. So now for the fun stuff! I hear that you are currently backpacking and trekking your way through Europe with no maps, no phones, just enjoying life outside of the hospital. So tell me about your current Europe trip.

Haha so I’m definitely not a trekker. There’s no backpacking involved – that’s just not my style. I prefer to fly and roll my suitcase that is very heavy and full of clothes and American candy to bring as gifts. But yes, I started in Spain and was there for a little over a week. I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain in 2013 and then every year in the summer, except the last two years because of COVID, I go and visit my host family. I just spent a week with them and went to their beach house just south of Valencia, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Also, they have a big family with 10 grandkids, and it’s been great seeing all the kids grow up over the years. Now I am in the Netherlands visiting two of my really close friends who I met when I was traveling in Costa Rica in 2016. We developed a great bond so now I try and visit them as frequently as I can. They just had a kid and so I’m hanging out with them for a week and then after that I’ll be heading back to the VA to do urology.

That sounds amazing, very excited to see pictures from your trip! Ok so this is a fun question, your Chief Resident, Dr. Tallman, is so nice and tells you “Lani, give me the intern pager for the week and you can go explore Nashville or do whatever you want.” What would you do for your week off in Nashville?

Galloway co-residents

Well, if I had a whole week with a lot more free time, there are a lot of restaurants that I really want to try in Nashville! I love arranging meals or dinners with my co-residents and friends to try out new spots. There are a few places in my neighborhood and throughout the city as well that I would like to try so I would probably find some friends and co-residents, who are also not holding the intern pager, to go out with. The other thing that I would do if I had a week off is take time to Peloton every day. I’m a big Cody Rigsby fan and I basically only do his classes, which I know is controversial, but I stand by it. Also, Lily, our inpatient nurse practitioner, told me about a few walking trails that I would love to go explore. I like the “in-between” trails. I’m not a hard-core adventurer and I am not going to go camping or for an 8-hour hike, but I like a nice walk and being outside. There are lots of things I would like to do if Dr. Tallman agrees to hold my pager!

Well we can for sure arrange for that to happen. Ok now for some rapid-fire questions…

Favorite TV show: Arrested Development 
Favorite drink: Spicy margarita 
Favorite urology consult: A difficult catheter that’s not really difficult and everyone’s looking at you and you get it in on the first try
Summer or Winter: Summer
Brunch, sweet or savory: Savory 100%
Favorite pizza topping: Caramelized onions
Next place you’d like to travel: Greece 

Interview conducted by Rohan Bhalla, MD