Resident Spotlight: Dr. Danielle Kelton, Emergency Medicine

Photograph of Dr. Danielle Kelton

Dr. Danielle Kelton, PGY4, Emergency Medicine, enjoys the variety of her chosen specialty, as every shift presents different cases, patient populations and learning opportunities. She says the residency program’s biggest strength is its supportive, collaborative and inclusive culture.

Dr. Kelton is also pursuing a fellowship in Sports and Exercise Medicine as part of her training, with dedicated time to pursue and develop her skills outside of the emergency department. As part of this experience, she will be providing coverage for the World Curling Championships taking place in Calgary this spring.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of residency?

In the emergency department, we have the unique and challenging privilege to bear witness some of the most difficult times in peoples’ lives. We also have the opportunity to, in some small way, help and support them through their emergency. The trust our patients put in us when they are at their most vulnerable is a privilege that I value, and I hope to earn every day.

The most surprising thing for me, starting residency, was how quickly I was welcomed into the program family. Within hours of matching to Schulich Medicine’s Emergency Medicine program, I received texts, emails and phone calls welcoming me to the program and offering help with moving, finding a place to live and advice for starting residency. That outpouring of support hasn’t stopped, and I feel lucky to say that my friends (faculty, residents and allied health) are some of the most important people in my life right now.

Why did you choose the School’s Emergency Medicine residency program?

As a medical student, I visited London for an elective and I absolutely loved it. It was immediately clear to me that the resident group was tightknit and supportive and that the relationship between staff and residents was respectful, supportive and highly valued. The clinical teaching that I received was phenomenal and tailored to my learning goals and it was clear, even as a visiting medical student, that my learning was a priority (even in a busy emergency department). Working with Dr. Rob Sedran, our Program Director, I saw his genuine interest and investment in the residents’ wellbeing and clinical success, and I knew this was the place for me.

What is the program’s biggest strength?

I think we are extremely lucky, as current residents, to benefit from the culture that has been built and fostered by our predecessors and program leadership. From day one, we are treated as valued and respected junior colleagues by our faculty who take a strong interest in our learning – tailoring their teaching to our specific learning goals. I’ve never been part of a family that is so supportive and tightknit. I know that if I need help, I have a group of 20 friends and colleagues who will step up in whatever way I need and will celebrate my successes with me as well.

What types of cases and patient populations do you work with?

In the emergency department (ED), we see patients of every possible demographic, across a spectrum of acuity of illness and with every type of medical problem. One of the things I love about emergency medicine is the fact that every shift is different, and I never know what will come through the door from one day to the next. There is always something to learn or read about and I am still coming across diseases or scenarios that I’ve never seen, even as a PGY4. A career in emergency medicine is never boring and the challenge of lifelong learning keeps life interesting.

What learning opportunities have you pursued as a resident beyond the clinical environment?

Our program provides us with any number of unique opportunities to get involved outside the clinical sphere. One of my passions is teaching and I have had many opportunities to hone my skills during formal simulation sessions and didactic lectures, and more informally on shift with junior residents and medical students. Along with one of my resident colleagues, we implemented a simulation program for junior residents to help get them up to speed when they start residency each July. We had wonderful faculty support, encouragement and assistance to get this program up and running and our residents seem to really enjoy it.

My other passion is sports and exercise medicine and I have had the opportunity in my PGY4 year to incorporate a fellowship in Sports and Exercise Medicine. This dedicated time to pursue and develop my skills outside the emergency department has opened many career opportunities for me and in April (COVID-19 permitting), I will be providing coverage for the World Curling Championships in the Calgary bubble as part of my fellowship.

Tell me about an experience in residency that changed your perspective.

One of the unique things about the Emergency Medicine program is that we are given the opportunity, midway through our training, to begin to provide care in smaller community centres near London. Transitioning from working in a large academic emergency department with a full complement of consulting services, lab tests and imaging tests to working in a small community ED with just my clinical skills and one nursing colleague was a huge challenge for me and exponentially increased my respect for my community colleagues. This opportunity gave me a new appreciation for the services available in a large centre like London Health Sciences Centre, but also the health disparities and the inequities in access to care that can exist within the same health system.

What do you enjoy most about living in London?

When I moved to London after completing medical school at Queen’s University, I was so excited to find a big (ish) city that feels like a small town. I grew up rurally and have long missed the small-town familiarity and feel. I was excited to find that London plays host to all the amenities I could need (entertainment, restaurants, recreational sports, proximity to larger cities/airports for travel purposes and outdoor fitness opportunities) while maintaining the feel of a smaller town.

I was able to purchase a home in my PGY1 year and make it my own during my residency (and taking up gardening during the COVID-19 lockdown periods) which I would not have been financially able to do in most of the other cities that host FRCPC-EM programs. My commute to either hospital site is less than 10 minutes and I’m less than an hour’s drive from multiple beaches, hiking trails, campgrounds, cross country ski trails and many more outdoor recreational activities.