Resident spotlight: Six questions with Dr. Cassandra Townsend

Prior to entering medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dr. Cassandra Townsend never knew that her brain would be able to hold such a vast amount of knowledge related to the field of medicine.

Fast forward to her second year as an internal medicine resident and the young physician now knows to expect to come away with valuable lessons and information after each day of work.

We caught up with Dr. Townsend after her medicine rounds at University Hospital to ask her six questions about her life, work and interests.

Why did you decide to become a doctor?
I actually knew that I wanted to be a doctor since I was quite young. I had a few medical ailments as a child that brought me to a number of clinical appointments. Through these challenges, I was fortunate to meet many compassionate and talented physicians who inspired me to pursue a career in medicine.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your patients?
It goes without saying that not all of your patients will be discharged in a stable condition at the end of their hospital stay. When a patient’s condition unexpectedly deteriorates, it is quite challenging to inform their family that their loved one may not survive. These situations have shown me how unpredictable life is, and taught me that physicians are privileged to be involved in these challenging circumstances.

What about your work makes you most excited? What about your work makes you most anxious?
The most exciting this about my work is the group of residents I am lucky to work with on a daily basis. They continue to challenge me to become a better resident, and are a constant source of support and encouragement.

I think the part that makes me the most anxious is the fear of missing a diagnosis or managing a patient inadequately. Although it can be overwhelming at times, this fear pushes me to continue to increase my knowledge base and improve my clinical skills.

If you didn’t pursue a career in medicine, what career path would you have followed?
I have always been interested in journalism and writing, so perhaps I would have followed a career centered around the literary arts.

Do you have any hidden talents or interests?
I don’t know about anything that is “hidden”, but I do have a bit of an obsession with musical theatre. My iTunes library likely has more Broadway cast albums than the average person.

What television show could you watch over and over again if you had the time?
Definitely Gilmore Girls, with Friends being a close second!