Stephanie Newsome, MD, Resident, Baystate Medical Center Emergency Department shares about her career journey from an administrative secretary in the ICU to medical school, and the many experiences at BMC that helped guide her career path:
Stephanie Newsome came to work at Baystate Health in 2012, when her mother, a respiratory therapist, told her about an administrative job in the ICU at Baystate Medical Center. The Chicopee native was working on her bachelor’s degree at Springfield College at the time.
“I was toying with the idea of medical school,” the 32-year-old says. “I was in my sophomore or junior year in undergraduate study and I wanted to save money for whatever I was going to decide.”
Stephanie had many interests, so wasn’t sure what she would do after graduation, but the job sounded like something she’d like, so she interviewed and when offered she took it.
“I was so excited to work at Baystate – everyone wanted to work at Baystate.”
Stephanie was especially happy because working in the ICU, she knew she’d see interesting things and be exposed to a lot of interesting medicine – and that might help her make up her mind about whether she wanted to go into the medical field.
“Everyone was so welcoming, and when I mentioned one of the things I was thinking about was becoming a doctor, I had the attendings’ and residents’ ears. Some of them even let me tag along to show me how certain conditions were treated. I became more and more interested and could actually see myself being a doctor.”
Stephanie says the kind and generous doctors at Baystate Medical Center lay the groundwork for what she would eventually decide to study. She got to see how they treated trauma and severe cases of different diseases. She shadowed Dr. Reginald Alouidor who allowed her to follow him through an entire shift.
“I worked my overnight shift and he told me I’d have to be ready to go at 7 a.m. for rounds,” she says. “So, I was ready.”
She listened to him discuss cases with others and had to run to the Emergency Department several times that day. She spent the entire shift “observing” and called it an “amazing experience.”
“After that, I was completely sold – that was the day I decided I was going to be a doctor,” she says.
Shortly after that experience, Stephanie ended up in the BMC Emergency Department herself as a patient.
“I have asthma and had such a very severe episode that I was almost intubated,” she says. “A resident there was so empathetic and such an advocate for me, so caring and amazing. I decided then and there I wanted to be that person for my patients.”
Stephanie left Baystate for about a year while she worked in the community, but when they called her back to say they needed her in ICU again, she went. By then, she was finishing her postbaccalaureate degree in medicine sciences. She returned as its secretary again, but then transitioned to staffing manager in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation office and started applying to medical schools.
“I worked with Dr. Barry Rodstein,” she says. “He was so supportive. He knew I was driven, motivated, and he encouraged me after he found out I had applied. The great thing is, I learned so much while working at Baystate, including how insurance works, how schedules are made, and how workflow works – all of the sides doctors don’t typically see.”
Stephanie chose to attend St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. She spent a year and a half on what she calls a “beautiful island,” learning everything she wanted and needed to become a doctor. That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and she returned to the states to finish that part of her training on Zoom. She will receive her diploma on April 28.
“It’s still hard for me to believe I’m an MD,” she said. “I did my clinical rotations my last two years of medical school in Brooklyn, New York.”
On March 17, what is known as “Match Day,” when the National Resident Matching Program announces where new MDs will do their residencies, Stephanie received a letter learning that she will once again return to Baystate Medical Center, this time in its Emergency Department.
“You fill out a lengthy application and rank where you’d like to do your residency,” she explains. “Hospitals receive candidates’ CVs and choose who they’d like to interview. While residents rank the hospitals at which they’d like to do their residencies, hospitals rank residents as well.”
Stephanie says she received a letter saying she had been chosen as one of 16 residents who will work in the ED at Baystate Medical Center beginning July 1.
“I can’t wait,” she says excitedly. “It’s all so surreal. I’m still waiting for it to sink in.”
Stephanie says besides working with patients, she is looking forward to returning to the hospital and the people there who inspired her to go to medical school.
“I’ll spend three years in the residency and then become an attending,” she explains. “I can see Baystate in my future – that would be amazing. If that happens, I would be a fully licensed physician working at the hospital where I started as a secretary. I had no idea my journey would take me back here. I’m so happy I’ve come full circle.”