Meet Dr. Shanika Esparaz. She is a surgeon, mom, a wonderful educator, and wife to a physician - basically a powerhouse. She gives a unique perspective on being a busy surgeon with 2 littles and how she juggles it all. Go give her a follow on social media!
Name: Shanika Esparaz M.D. Job title: Cataract Surgeon and Medical Retina Specialist at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons Type of practice: Part-time, Private. Social media: @shani_eye_md on IG, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook
Journey to medicine
Undergrad: Northwestern University, B.A. Major Anthropology.
Medical school: Wright State University
Intern: Kettering Hospital, Dayton Ohio, Transitional Year
Residency: Boston University Medical Center, Ophthalmology Fellowship: Boston University Medical Center, Ophthalmology Why did you choose this field?
I love helping patient's with their vision- one of our most prized senses. Cataract surgery caught my eye when I was a medical student. I loved how elegant, quick, and finessed microsurgery is. I love how patients can see better by the next day!
How did you make your CV stand out? For medical school or residency?
I showed a lot of interest in Ophthalmology in a variety of ways- through research, volunteer, and leadership positions. I started my own Ophthalmology interest group and vision screenings for children in underserved schools. How much research experience did you have when you applied for medical school? For residency?
I had some lab research experience from middle and high school and some in college as well as the same lab every summer. I did some research in medical school but it was mostly case reports rather than bench research.
What is the most fulfilling thing about your career?
Helping patient's see better. It is one of our most prized possessions!
What is the least fulfilling thing about your career?
Billing, insurance companies, charting.
What does a day in the life look like for you? Usually I wake up early, workout, and head to work. Clinic or Surgery are both busy days but both have a variety to keep things interesting. I usually get home around dinner time, hang out with my toddlers and then with my hubby before bed. How many hours a week do you work? 32 hours What are common conditions you manage?
Diabetic retinopathy, Macular Degeneration and Cataracts. What is your favorite condition to manage?
Cataracts What is a big misconception about your field?
That we only perscribe glasses! We do many medical and surgical treatments for the eyes. What is something surprising that you do in your job?
Unfortunately how much insurance companies are cutting back physician payments. I think this is common across many field of medicine too. Do you perform procedures?
Yes- tons! Intravitreal injections, glaucoma lasers, retinal lasers, and cataract surgery.
Life outside work
What are your hobbies or interests outside medicine?
Social Media, Baking, Fitness and Family.
Do you feel like your have work-life "balance"? If so, how do you achieve it?
I dislike the word balance and prefer the word "fit". You find ways to do the things you love. I like to make a priority list! Any last words of wisdom for those considering a career in medicine?
If you can dream it, you can do it! Learn to seek out mentors. Tell yourself what you would tell your best friend.
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I will be featuring different physicians and healthcare workers here on the Blog regularly through Careers in Medicine Series. Through sharing these stories, my hope is to demystify careers in medicine for the younger generation and for those hoping to pursue medicine. Share this with someone who might be interested!
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