waffles with wanda…on wednesdays

29 Aug

It’s Wednesday, so it’s appropriate to finally post a little something about the best site director on the planet.  Of course, it will not do her justice.

Did you know the term “doctor” meant “teacher”?  I might have posted something about that before.  The emphasis and dedication some doctors place on education, even at an academic institution, is mind-blowing.  It takes a special kind of love of medicine, love of learning, love of sharing…not to mention the organization and efficiency to set aside time strictly for the students…and patience, so much patience.  We, medical students, are insufferable.

Yet among the mass of brilliant physicians not only willing but eager to teach and work to improve our education, Wanda takes the cake.  She is an Ob/Gyn who serves as the site director to the hospital where I did my clerkship.  Rumor has it that she is so beloved that she is perpetually booked up to the brim, a patient of hers has to either move cross country (though plenty still commute) or die in order for her to take another patient (but this is a rumor).

So it’s surreal and surprising that she dedicates Wednesday mornings (the full mornings) to the 6-7 students at her hospital.  We start with waffles in the cafeteria, then we move up to a reading room just off the original surgical amphitheater in the oldest hospital in the country to discuss cases, alternate topic presentations, and receive regular coaching and encouragement from Wanda, literally the sweetest physician you’ll ever meet.

Can you believe I studied here?

If you meet her, you will instantly love her.  Not only is she wickedly brilliant and as fierce an advocate for her patients as they come, who receives the utmost respect from patients, colleagues, and students, she is also adorable.  Have I ever described a physician as “adorable” before?  When she speaks of the Labor & Delivery floor or the NICU, even though L&D is not really her area of focus, she’ll say things like, “There’s nothing better than an infant.”  In reference to my pregnancy: “Oh, to be pregnant!  It’s like having a little friend with you all the time!”  Adorable, right?

I want to be her one day.  Until then, would she consider adopting me?


6 Responses to “waffles with wanda…on wednesdays”

  1. Eric Rosoff August 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    We are blessed with many great teachers at Penn. Wanda takes the cake (and the waffles). Love her!

    • annaojesus August 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      that’s so cute!!! wish i had thought of that 🙂

      also, i miss you.

  2. ericrosoff August 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    miss you, too! P.S. I was trying to figure out if “The Agnew Clinic” was a painted scene or if it was crafted based on the amphitheatre and the man. The amphitheatre near the library you mentioned doesn’t look exactly the same as the one in the painting. I’ve often wondered…

  3. johnbennett70 August 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Very nice post, Anna. It has been a while since I was at school at the old Women’s Medical College, but your writing harkened me back to my school days, and the teachers there that exhibited similar qualities as your beloved professor. Yes, they are pulled in many directions, and doubt that it is for financial reasons they spend the extra time with us students, who will probably move away, and never see them again after our school years. One professor surgeon, in particular stands out in my mind. It was his sense of humor that I cherished, because, oh what a ray of sunshine in some difficult years; food for starving spirits, As most students know, it is not a comfortable time in one’s life, you are deprived of many senses, but humor always had a place in his time with us, and nourished my starving spirt. And, now that you got me started, there was another one that was a real dick. He was head of Medicine, and if you were one minute late to his conference, he would stop, and yell at you. embarass the heck out of you, etc. Our plates were full with lots of responsibilities then, and sometimes you were late, and no excuse. So, I remember him in a special way too, and it involves a hot iron placed in a certain orifice.
    jb md

    • annaojesus September 8, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      Dr. JB,

      Long overdue (my apologies!), but I loved your comment–thank you!

      Your remark about the hot iron made me laugh out loud in an otherwise silent library…perhaps the best kind of laughter for “starving spirits” 🙂

      And I appreciate your account of your professor surgeon. What a difference mentors like that make. I had a few on surgery who were simply wonderful…so wonderful in fact that they actually made me strongly consider the field. You hear all these horror stories about this or that profession, but really it’s the community that makes or breaks it. I’m so glad he helped improve your experience so much.

      Thank you again, and thank you for checking in 🙂

      take care,


  1. the sweet spot of step 2 | anna in med school - December 26, 2013

    […] much the last person in the testing center.  I couldn’t help but think back on the words of one of my favorite clerkship site directors: “Oh, to be pregnant!  It’s like having a little friend with you all the […]

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