Dr.Eva Beaulieu is a renown name in the medical field. A reputable internist at the [insert hospital name here] out of Atlanta, she is breaking barriers for African American women by empowering them to follow their dreams and setting their limits sky high. A Haitian native, she watched both her parents take on a medical career and decided being of service was also on her path. A mother to three children, a loving wife, an entrepreneur and the Author of Best-selling book “Paging Doctor YOU” there is nothing this woman cannot do. We officially certify her as the #coolestdoctor around. In her own words “Everybody just has a preconception or an idea of what a doctor is supposed to be doing, wearing, or what they look like, so it’s always good to show people the other side.”
Tell me about your journey in the medical industry and how you got into social media.
I’m really new to Instagram. I got started four years ago as a way to express myself. Some people write in a journal. For me, I wanted to put some things out there that will inspire me. As I was doing that, I started realizing that it was also inspiring other people. It just grew from there. I’m a doctor and that’s what I do, but that’s not who I am as a person. We’re just normal people. I am different when I’m at work and when I leave work. There still is a way of conduct and a way to treat people when you’re at work. There are certain things you can’t do or say or wear when you’re at work. I’m there to do my job. When I leave I can be free and be myself. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister. That’s the part a lot of people don’t see. When I leave work, I’m free [to be who I want to be].
As a Medical Doctor what field did you specialize in?
Internal medicine. Specifically, hospital medicine. Whenever I’m working, I do my seven days on and seven days off. On the days that I’m on, I’m only working during the hours that I’m in the building. When my last hour hits, somebody else comes in to replace me, so I’m not on call.
Tell me a bit more about your education and what got you into medicine in the first place.
Both of my parents are doctors. I’m from Haiti and I grew up there until I was almost fifteen. My mom was a dermatologist and my dad was a radiologist. They both had their own practices. A lot of times they took us to work with them. They’d pick me up from school and have to run to the clinic. I got to see what they were doing and how they were impacting the lives of other people. In Haiti, a lot of people are poor, and sometimes they don’t have the money to pay. My dad would do it for free sometimes. I could tell that they were really passionate about it. They loved what they were doing. What they loved is how they were changing the lives of these people and helping these people. I wanted to be like my parents. I always knew since I was a little girl, that I wanted to be like my parents. I’ve known that I wanted to be a doctor from a very young age.
What university did you graduate from?
I moved to the US, Miami when I was almost fifteen. I finished high school there. I went to FAU, Florida Atlantic University. From there, I went to England. I did my first two years in England at a school there called St. Christophers. I didn’t really like England that much. The weather was different from Florida. It was a drastic difference. It was always gloomy and cold and rainy. I was always anxious to go back to the US, so I transferred to Ross University, which at the time was in Dominica. They are in Barbados now. I came back to Miami and did my board. I did my clinical in the US. Even though I graduated from Ross University, I really had never been to the island where the school was because I transferred in the clinical times, and they always do their clinical in the US anyway. Now I’m in Atlanta. I did my residency in Georgia, about two hours south of Atlanta. I fell in love with Atlanta. I met my husband down here and I stayed.
How do you think you’ve developed your resilience as a doctor?
You have to find a way to cope. I love what I do. I go to work every day not knowing what to expect. In the hospital setting, you can see anything at any time. Anything can come through the door. That keeps me on my toes and keeps it exciting. At the same time, the people are so much sicker so you have to work so much harder to figure out what’s going on with them. Between that and calling consultants and family members and labs trying to figure it out, you have to find a system where you come home you have to leave work at work. If you take work into the home, then you’re going to be burnt out and you’re going to break. There are times where I’m happy because I’ve saved somebody’s life and I’ve made a difference. There are also times where someone dies and I’ve tried everything possible but they still don’t make it. Those kinds of things are really sad and can bring your spirits down. You have to find a way to be resilient to the point where you block it out when you’re home. It’s not always going to be a pretty day or a nice outcome.
What are some things that you would do practically to turn it off?
My husband is a doctor too, so we don’t talk about medicine. We talk about other things. We don’t talk about what we saw today or what happened. You’d be bringing work to the house and that’s so stressful. He’s running two urgent cares, so he has a lot on his plate as well. When we come home we try to leave work at work and take care of the kids. He likes to play outside with them, keeping them all active and keeping him young. He plays soccer with them, chess, and UNO. I like to sit at the pool and watch them under the sun. He doesn’t like to sit out in the sun. I don’t mind it. Or we would read a book or play outside with him by the water. He does sports, which I don’t mind.
Did you have your children while you were in residency?
I got pregnant in my last year of residency with my first child. I had him right after residency.
I would love to know if it affected you in any way?
If anything, it helped me to not have kids during residency because I don’t know how I would have done it, having to take care of babies with a hefty schedule. A lot of people did it, and a lot of people still do it. Personally, it would have been very hard for me to do so. Being pregnant in the last six months helped because I didn’t have a baby. The last year of residency, especially the last four and five months, are just electives. The schedule is much easier. They don’t give you a lot of heavy rotations. Most people tend to keep their easy rotation for their last six months. You still have to go in every day and you still have exams, but you don’t have calls. It was also always Monday to Friday, only sometimes weekends, and I would be home by five. I didn’t have to stay there overnight. It helped because I was nauseous when I was pregnant, and I always felt sick. My board exam was in August. I was due in August. It was very hard to study. I was very sleepy, studying in my last few weeks of pregnancy. At the time, being pregnant was a pre-existing condition. While I was in residency, I had my resident insurance. When I was leaving, I wasn’t able to get onto my husband’s insurance because it was a pre-existing condition at the time and I was so far into my pregnancy that insurance companies considered that a liability. Obama changed that and made it not a pre-existing condition. It’s like somebody having late cancer and trying to get insurance. I started working right away just so I could get insurance. I finished my residency during the first week of June, and I started work on July fourth. I waited thirty days to get my insurance. After thirty days, I quit. August first, I quit. I was tired and I still had to study for my boards. I took my boards and I had my child two weeks after. It was very challenging, but I did it.
I would love to know how you had time to write a book at the same time!
The seven-on, seven-off schedule allows me to be able to do things, especially on my off weeks because my kids are at school. My husband and I swap responsibilities. When I’m working, because I have to be at work so early, he takes the kids to school and then he goes to work, and I pick them up at the end of the day. On the weeks where I’m not working, I drop and pick them up, giving him a little break. On the weeks that I’m off, they don’t get picked up until three-thirty in the afternoon. That allows me some time to work on other things going on. Medicine is what I do, but that’s not who I am. I do a lot of things that I love doing on my off week when the kids are not around.
Was writing a book something you’ve always wanted to do or was it one of the things that just came up?
It’s not something that I ever thought I was going to do until it was time to do it. Going through residency, and the path that I went through going to undergrad and leaving the country, not even considering school in the US, and then coming back to the US gave me both perspectives. I have the perspective of what it’s like to leave and how to apply for residency as a foreign graduate versus going to school and finishing in the US and applying for residency. I started realizing that there are a lot of people and minorities that are not doctors. Only two and a half per cent of black women are doctors, and two and a half per cent of black men, which makes only five per cent of doctors are minority African-American doctors. It’s not because we aren’t smart or that we don’t have the opportunities. It’s about the system. The system is made to fail us. I needed to write a book for younger generations because I have people asking me all the time what type of classes they need to do. I wanted to write a book about something that was not super complicated and that a teenager would be able to pick up and read. It is meant to give you the steps of what to do early on. It’s all things that are common sense to us, but might not be common sense to them, like not doing anything crazy on social media because it can follow you and haunt you. You also should take care of your credit to take out loans because medical school is expensive. A lot of the time they don’t know because they don’t have a parent who went to medical school or even school in general.
You almost have this natural confidence about you that you don’t even know about because your parents went through it, right?
Right. I have that guidance from my parents and other family members who are in medicine. I can turn to them and ask them questions, whereas other people don’t have that. It doesn’t give you the free pass because I still had to study for the board and do other things. I knew early on what I needed to do and how to navigate my way.
You have such a motivational story and to me, it seems like you could go down the road of being a public speaker.
I would love to go down that road. I used to be so afraid of public speaking and I think I’m still a little scared. I am getting more comfortable with it, though. One of my goals is to help the younger generation be what they know they can be. I have had so many professors in college tell me that I should probably rethink the medicine thing because I was getting a C in organic chemistry or I was struggling in physics. Luckily I still had my parents to push me. A lot of these younger people look up to their professors and their teachers. They think that if their professors tell them something, they know better because that’s all they do all day. They then quit. It would not have been the same if I listened to them and if my mom wasn’t there to put me back on track. I put it in the book too to make sure that you analyze your circle. The people that are around you, the friends that you pick, can make or break you too. You can end up going down the wrong path because of who you associate with. Things that my mom would tell me, I would be like, “whatever,” but now I’m realizing that that was sound advice.
What is advice that you would have wanted to know ten years ago when you were starting your medical journey?
I would tell myself to never doubt myself. Back in the day, I used to doubt myself a lot. I used to dim my light and think that maybe I didn’t deserve to be here and that it wasn’t for me. That’s in part because a lot of people around me didn’t look like me so I always felt like I was the outcast and that I was different. Now I know that I’ve worked hard to be where I am. I passed the same exams and the same interviews. I worked hard to be where I am, and no one could tell me otherwise. If I didn’t have that doubt I probably would have been way further than I am now.
What motivates you today?
My kids motivate me today. Just looking at their faces and at them, and knowing that the world around us is so evil and there’s so much bad going on. Just knowing everything that’s out there and that it’s so easy for people to discourage kids and tell them that they can’t be what they want to be or that they won’t be able to make it. It motivates me to show them otherwise. Everything that I do is for them. Coming home to them, I always have something to look forward to, even though some days I’m really tired and I need a break. They keep me on my toes and they keep me busy.
What is a future project that you’re working on that you can tell us about?
There’s a lot that I don’t know, but I know that I want to do more. I know that I love medicine and I don’t love it enough to do it every single day because I’m starting to get to the point where I’m getting burnt out, especially working on the weekends and holidays. I don’t like that at all. I want to venture out and do other things. I know I want to write another book. I guess we’ll see what the future holds.
Do you know what you want your second book to talk about?
I haven’t started that project, so I’ll keep it under the rocks for sure. I have an idea, though. I want to do something for the little ones. My kids are little. It will be medical for sure. Anything that can show more representation and show more diversity. We have to start with the younger generation and the little ones to make a difference in the future. I know it is not something that happens overnight because it takes time to be a doctor, but we can change the narrative.
I do want to work on a YouTube project. That’s one of the things I wanted to tackle.
A lot of people that aren’t in the medical world don’t have the same emotional intelligence as doctors. They don’t know how to put their emotions on the side or to access them. That’s something that is so needed for entrepreneurs.
I guess I am able to do so because of the type of work that I do. I have to make an effort to leave those emotions aside. I remember I just had my baby and I was doing the admitting shift at work and I was walking through the ER and there’s a lot of chaos and I go to the secretary to see what happened, and there was a one-year-old that choked on peanuts and tried to revive them. My baby was four months at home. You feel like you can relate to these things. You have to hold these emotions in and know when to separate the two. I am consciously always doing that. That’s something I had to practice. I can see the devastation in the parents’ eyes. I trained myself over the years to learn how to do that. I know how to keep all emotions aside, whether it’s me getting into it with a friend. I know how to separate the two and to keep business as a business and personal as personal.
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