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The Big Mistake I Made in Front of 1300+ Med Students and Residents

Updated: Sep 5

by Dr. Jen Caudle

This week I traveled to the American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference in Kansas City, MO to give the Keynote address. I've been preparing for this talk for months and I was beyond excited! This conference is geared towards medical students and residents who are going into Family Medicine and I couldn't wait to be around my people!

In Philadelphia waiting on my Lyft to Take me to the airport

It was so nice being in Kansas City because it kind of reminded me of my home state of Iowa (I haven't been back to Iowa in a long time). It was super hot, but with the recent heatwave, it was hot everywhere.

Once I got to town I did a quick test of my presentation on stage and then I got to meet AAFP student and resident leaders (they were SOO sweet, btw):

I could hardly sleep the night before my speech. I was up HOURS before I needed to be up the morning of my talk but it gave me plenty of time to order breakfast and curl my hair (and re-curl my hair because it was so humid and I forgot hairspray at home).

Curling...and Re-curling

I also had ample time to rehearse my speech (which never hurts!)

It's not uncommon to find me rehearsing speeches like this

I headed to the Convention Center. Excitement was in the air because the conference was officially kicking off and attendees were arriving in droves!

I headed backstage to get mic'd up and to get ready to give my speech.

Backstage was HUGE!

AND THEN it was showtime... I recorded the audience as I walked to the podium to capture the excitement! (boy am I glad I did)

And, this is the beginning of the mistake I made....

The audience was amazing! There were over 1300 med students, residents, and attendings in the room. All of us are family doctors or interested in becoming one and I could literally feel the electricity in the air!

I spoke for an hour and we all laughed and cried together. We relished in the joys of family medicine and we bonded over the struggles. This speech was one of the most enjoyable speeches that I have ever given and I think it's because we are made from the same cloth. As family doctors, we are all kindred spirits and it felt this way.

So what was the big mistake? My mistake was not realizing just how AMAZING this experience would be. I completely underestimated how inspired I would become from this experience- from the students and residents I met, the connections I made, and the bond I felt with my colleagues. This was undoubtedly one of the best experiences I have ever had. I knew this week was going to be amazing, I just didn't know how amazing.

To all the residents and med students I met at the conference- YOU ARE AMAZING! You all have such a bright future ahead of you!

Thank you, AAFP. You're in my heart.

- Dr. Jen

PS- wanted to share an additional resource for med students and residents in case it's helpful:

Dr. Jen Caudle is a board-certified Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University, tv health expert, and video creator. She is a proud member of AAFP and ACOFP. Sign up to receive Dr. Jen's Daily Health Tips to get daily emails (Mon-Fri) with health information you can use to live a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

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