While COVID-19 continues to plague the nation with new symptoms and excessive loss, one Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alum has found a way to remain upbeat while staying laser focused on care. After extubating a patient suffering from the virus, Richard Henriquez, MD, an internal-medicine resident in Florida, said he encountered an ‘a-ha’ moment when he relayed the good news to the patient’s family. “We have to remember these small successes and let it drive us to keep treating patients the best we can with a virus we know little about.”
The 2018 graduate recently earned a promotion to chief resident when his superiors recognized his passion and dedication to the field as well as his leadership skills and ambition to self-educate on improving patient care.
“As a medical student, you don’t know how much support you will have until you become a resident. I was lucky because I had a lot of opportunity to shine and my mentors groomed me to be the best version of myself. It really sparked how much they cared about my future, my goals and my aspirations,” Richard said, adding that teaching may become part of his medical repertoire. “I want to offer that same mentoring for the residents working with me.”
Becoming a Sleuth
Richard enjoys the detective work of diagnosing a new patient and bouncing ideas off his attending. He recalls being nervous about a shift in the intensive care unit in early April because of all the unknowns of COVID-19. “There were so many questions and we didn’t have all the answers; we still don’t. It’s an evolving disease that we’re all trying to learn as we go and we quickly realized what works for one patient doesn’t work for another. We just have to navigate through and provide the best quality care we can for each patient.”
The Florida native said doctor life is not nearly as glamorous as portrayed in the countless medical television shows but is instead filled with structure and many academic teachings. The first doctor in his family, Richard said he originally planned to become the next famous movie director but changed direction in college after accompanying a friend on a medical mission trip to Guatemala. “That was my lightbulb moment.” He has since returned to Guatemala and hopes to participate in more medical missions in the future.
For fun, Richard cooks for his wife, a skill he learned through how-to videos during medical school. And while he’s getting used to quarantine life and the couple’s new golden doodle, Richard fondly remembers his first day at RUSM when asked to write down why he wanted to become a doctor. “It’s so easy to forget your true motivation when you’re going through the journey. We build grit and resilience along the way but we can forget why. That reminder and my experiences at Ross University made me what I am today. As physicians, we’re the inspiration for a lot of people when anxiety and stress fill their lives. We need to constantly be reminded about our purpose so we can continually reignite our passion to care for others.”
Appreciative and Thankful
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