Resident Spotlight: Dr. Stephanie Muise

A graduate of the MD program at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. Stephanie Muise is now completing her residency training in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. The most important lesson Dr. Muise has learned through patient care is to listen to your patients as they can teach you a lot too.

What are you most drawn to about Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

I always hoped that I would match to Physiatry in London and be able to stay in my hometown. Being able to stay close to my family and friends during this exciting and challenging time in my life has been very helpful. While at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, I got to meet a lot of people in Physiatry and thought I would fit in well with the group. Plus I also knew that Schulich Medicine has a robust program. 

Why did you choose to pursue medicine?

During the middle of a PhD in Neuroscience at McGill University and working with several MD/PhDs was when I realized that I always wanted to go to their clinics and see the patients that we were working so hard behind the bench to help. Surprisingly, it was the first time in my life that I had seriously considered medicine as a career. It was a difficult decision to leave that program, but I’m glad that I followed my heart even if I took a bit of a detour to get here. While I still enjoy research and think it will always be a part of my career, I think the clinical aspect helps keep me grounded and see the real, practical benefits that come out of years of behind the scenes.

Describe your experience as a resident at Schulich Medicine?

I love being part of a team. It’s both incredibly fun and challenging at the same time. For the first time during our medical training, we have a lot of responsibility and can have a significant impact on patient care. We have a very supportive environment at Schulich Medicine, even when you feel overwhelmed there are always people around to help. 

What activities/initiatives are you involved with that help bring balance in your life?

I have always been very active, and that is what drew me to Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation as a specialty. When life gets busy, we have to prioritize what is essential, and so for me making time for daily exercise is a must. I usually run or bike before work which helps me wake up, and I feel much better during the day. I also love sailing and making sure that most weekends when I am not on call I am up in Bayfield sailing on the family boat.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resumé alone?

I have been sailing my whole life. My parents met through sailing, and so I have grown up living part-time on a sailboat. Every summer is spent travelling the North Channel, and winter vacations are usually spent sailing somewhere in the Caribbean.

What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?

I still think that my first ever research project when I was at the University of Guelph was my most significant career accomplishment. It was the first time I had complete control and responsibility for organizing something that would contribute to advancing scientific knowledge. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did in undergrad, but it was so rewarding and ultimately led me on the path to where I am today.

What challenges have you encountered in your residency?

Every day is challenging in different ways; whether it’s communicating bad news to patients and families or continuously being reminded of how much I have to learn. In Physiatry, we do a considerable number of off-service rotations, so I still find it challenging to move around every month and learn about different subspecialties in such a short amount of time. We also only have one resident per year in our program, so it is sometimes challenging to feel like nobody can completely relate to what I’m going through at any given time.  However, I wouldn’t change it for the world. These challenges have exposed me to such a variety of residents in different programs that I now feel like I have friends in almost every service. It’s nice to have a familiar voice on the other end of the phone when I’m asking for a consult.

If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?

Ariel - I already try to spend as much time in and on the water as possible.