By Mike Scott
Dr. Kelsey Davis-Humes was a typical, busy Clark County High School senior just 10 years ago. A graduate in the Class of 2006, Davis-Humes kept busy with school activities including FBLA, Marine Ecology, Campus Bowl, NHS, Student Council, Key Club, FCA, Flags in Marching Band, Pep band, Jazz Band, Contest Band, and Cheerleading.
Her father, John Davis, is retired from Griffen Wheel in Keokuk, IA, where he worked for 37 years. Her mother, Beth Davis, is a paraprofessional in Special Education at Black Hawk Elementary. Her sister, Caitlyn, has her Masters’ in Speech/Language Pathology and works at Bartley Elementary School in Fulton, MO.
“My family has been my biggest supporter through this journey and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams,”said Davis-Humes.
On May 14, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a medical doctor.
When did you decide you wanted to
become a doctor?
It was in middle school when I started thinking about going into the medical field, but it was really in high school that I decided that was the career path I wanted to go down.
Why did you want to become a doctor?
My grandpa had diabetes, and I always was asking him questions about it. As I got older, he started to explain his insulin shots and eventually let me give him those shots. I enjoyed those interactions with him and I realized I could help serve others medically in the future. I always enjoyed biology and math classes in high school, and I like figuring out the “why” and how things happen. Together, this led to my decision to pursue medical school to become a physician.
How did you prepare for the college and med school courses?
One of the classes that really challenged me and help me prepare for higher education was Mr. Morris’ biology class. I had to work harder in that class than I had in previous classes and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. I also took all the available college courses in high school in order to gain more experience before starting at Truman State University after graduation.
Why did you chose ATSU-KCOM?
ATSU-Kirksville College of Medicine has a high reputation for training exceptional osteopathic physicians. I like the unique approach osteopathic medicine training has in involving mind, body, and spirit together as a whole patient approach to medicine. Additionally, there is extra training in osteopathic manipulative medicine, where you gain experience of using your hands to help make a patient feel better. Many of the physicians I have interacted with in northeast Missouri also attended ATSU-KCOM and were influential in my decision.
Describe some of the coursework/training/hours involved?
I was a biology major in college, which included classes pertaining to Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Anatomy, Calculus, and Physics, which are all requirements for application to medical school. I did a 100+ hours of shadowing community doctors and volunteered in the emergency room in order to gain experience in the medical field and to help solidify my decision to apply to medical school. I was also involved in many campus organizations in undergrad, including AMSA, marching band and a swing dancing club.
Did you ever feel like you wouldn’t make it through? If so, what kept you going?
When I initially started the process of applying to medical school in undergrad, I didn’t get it the first time. I attended graduate school instead and was able to gain new educational experiences while increasing the amount of shadowing I was doing. The second time I applied, I was accepted to KCOM-ATSU. Everyone in medical school reaches a point where you feel like you aren’t going to make it. Medical school is very stressful and moves at a very quick pace, but it is through the support of your fellow classmates and your family that you are able to make it through.
Briefly outline the steps to becoming
Everyone has to complete coursework and graduate from an undergrad institution with a bachelor’s degree. This coursework includes: two semesters of biological sciences, two semesters of physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and English classes. Most schools also look for over 100 hours of shadowing experience with different physicians in different fields of medicine. Admissions also looks for a variety of activities in undergrad, including time spent volunteering in the community. Everyone has to take the MCAT (like the ACT) for admission into medical school. There is a primary application that is sent out to all schools, and then individual schools send back a secondary application, before offering an interview. After interviews, you typically find out 4-6 weeks later if you were accepted to that individual medical school. Medical school is four years long, the first two years involving classroom lectures and tests and the last two years spent in clinical rotations. During your last year of medical school, you decide on which specialty you would like to go into and spend that year applying to and interviewing at residency programs. After graduation from medical school, you are a doctor but you then enter into a residency program. Residency programs last between 3-5 years, depending on your specialty area. During that time you are a doctor and are gaining additional experiences while an attending supervising throughout your training. After one year of residency, you are able to gain your license as a physician, and at the end of your residency you are then board-certified in your specialty area. After that time, you can decide to further your education and do a fellowship or become employed as an attending.
What’s your specialty and why?
I am starting a Family Practice Residency at Blessing Hospital on July 1, 2016. I chose Family Medicine because I enjoy every aspect of medicine and the challenge it presents. I like that family medicine gives you a variety of practice options in the future including outpatient clinic, inpatient medicine in the hospital, obstetric training, nursing home opportunities, etc. Family physicians are really at the heart of medicine, in creating relationships with your patients and helping to prevent problems in the future. Family physicians also get to treat patients from all walks of life and all different ages, from birth to death. Family medicine also lends itself to rural health care, for which I have a strong interest.
In the middle of all this, you got engaged and married? What challenges did that present?
Chris, my husband, is a farmer and our career choices have been the biggest challenge in that there are times we do not see much of each other. Between spring planting and fall harvest, and the unexpected early mornings or late nights at the hospital, we have learned to cherish the time we do get to see each other. We have learned that communication and understanding are the keys to a successful relationship. And to enjoy the occasional rainy day for a date!
Plans for the future?
In the future, I plan to stay in northeast Missouri and practice outpatient clinic, inpatient hospital medicine, and obstetrical care. I enjoy being in a rural community and helping the people that have supported me along this journey.
What advice would you give to younger kids, especially girls, who might want to chase a big dream like this?
My advice for anyone, no matter what career path they are looking at, is to go out and shadow and talk to people in that field. The best way to figure out what you want to do is to go out and experience that career, to give you a better picture of what you would be doing in that career.
For anyone interested in the medical field, especially becoming a physician, my advice is to keep dreaming big, don’t let anyone discourage you from your dream, and be prepared to work very hard! Becoming a physician is a lifelong commitment to continuing your education and giving of your time in order to help serve others, but is an extremely rewarding career!