PracticeLink Magazine

FALL 2018

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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78 F A ll 2018 Practice l live & practice C A R A Pe NC e, M.D., KN e W S he WAS meant to be a surgeon. Still, she wrestled with the decision. She attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa and intended to specialize in family practice and ultimately go on medical missions. She had not enjoyed her rotation in family practice, but she tried to dismiss her doubts. Then, when Pence was on her surgery rotation, a patient who had been stabbed in the heart arrived in the emergency room. He needed his chest opened and sutures in his heart. "I knew I was probably the lowest person on the totem pole in the room, but I ended up being able to hold and touch his heart, retracting and holding back lungs," she says. The patient survived, and Pence says the experience stayed with her, even as she fought against surgery's calling. "I kept telling myself there was no way I could be a surgeon," she says. "I thought I wouldn't have time to be a wife, have a family or be a good mom and Christian." Instead of pursuing surgery, she decided to go into pediatric neurology because her sister has cerebral palsy. "I was a couple weeks away from starting my internship in Houston for pediatric neurology when I started to get sick to my stomach. I knew it wasn't right." As Pence recalls, she told her husband, Jared, she wanted to be a surgeon. He replied, "Yeah, I always knew you were going to be a surgeon." S i x m o nt h s l a t e r, P e n c e f i n a l l y acknowledged that surgery was her calling. Now, as a general surgeon at Stillwater Medical Center with the ability to go on medical missions in her spare time, Pence knows she is where she is meant to be. "I As a surgeon at Stillwater Medical Center, Cara p ence, m .D., is able to both practice medicine and participate in medical missions. in her spare time. See this issue's physicians in exclusive video interviews at Now recruiting on Envision Physician Services Integris Health System l oyal Source Mercy 27 Stillwater Medical Center PHOTO BY Josh Dean

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