Kesi Kindle-Suersin joins HCMH opening doors for elderly
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital recently welcomed Dr. Kesi Kindle-Suersin as she joined the team for a new look at geriatric services.
“It’s a calling,” said Kindle-Suersin without hesitation when asked why she chose geriatrics. That almost described how she came to HCMH.
“I am originally from the area and have basically lived in the area all but 10 years of my life,” said the progeny of North Carolina natives. Those 10 years included receiving a medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
“I lived in the Old Town area of Winston-Salem until I was about 8 or 9 and then my parents moved out to Pfafftown. We actually integrated our neighborhood in Pfafftown in the early 1980s,” said Kindle-Suersin, who has done a residency in internal medicine at East Carolina School of Medicine.
It was her residency in geriatrics at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center that made the most impression, however. “In 2003 I did my geriatrics fellowship at Wake and I have been here ever since,” said Kindle-Suersin.
“I’d been at Forsyth Medical Center for seven and a half years doing palliative care and I had not ever had the opportunity outside of academia to truly practice geriatrics,” said Kindle-Suersin. She followed her intuition which lead her to her position at Yadkin Valley Adult Medicine.
“I had a vision and had started to become more focused on making sure that I could actually really truly use my fellowship training,” said Kindle-Suersin, who took advantage of the opportunity to share that vision.
It started with taking an uncharacteristic first step.
“In the past I had just always gone with the safer option,” said the wife and mother of two. “I really decided I’m almost in my mid-40s, I might not really have another opportunity to truly be able to do something that provides not only professional fulfillment but also with the work/life balance that I need.”
Kindle-Suersin resigned six months before she expected to leave her position at Forsyth. “I resigned in July of last year and thought that I would have everything really wrapped up in a tiny bow before I left in December, but nothing felt quite right in terms of the opportunities that I looked at. Then I just decided to be more open in terms of things.”
One of those things made it possible for Kindle-Suersin to fulfill a dream.
“Before I got married when I was in residency I’d always been drawn to Native American populations for many different reasons,” said Kindle-Suersin. She expressed gratitude for mother and children as well as husband for making it possible for her to work in an outpatient clinic with Wachoctaw Nation this past winter. “I had always wanted to work with Indian Health Service.
“On the day that I was leaving to go to Chocktaw I had a call that was set up with my old chair of geriatrics at Wake,” said Kindle-Suersin, describing an almost perfect job to suit her vision.
Fortunately for HCMH and the residents in and around Elkin, Kindle-Suersin also had talked to CEO Paul Hammes. “I remembered having seen him in sort of the era that he was part of at Novant. He asked me [what I was interviewing for] and I laughed and sort of went into this thing in regards to a vision that I tried to articulate and he seemed interested.”
Eventually Kindle-Suersin was able to exhibit a presentation based on her personal introspection about what her perfect job would be. “They proceeded to express interest in trying to determine if we might be able to do something and truly bring those ideas to life.
“I was still interviewing and wasn’t entirely sure,” when Kindle-Suersin flew west to serve the Native population. “[I] really, really wanted to make the right decision not just for me but also for my family.
“My resume is somewhat unique and I learned in this process that it’s very confusing to people because I sort of defy categorization in many different respects professionally and otherwise,” making it difficult to find the perfect move for her family.
“I had all of these different things to try to figure out,” said Kindle-Suersin. “That Sunday after I came back from Talihina [Oklahoma], I met with leaders here at Hugh Chatham and they talked about a partnership that they were developing with a hospital in Independence, Virginia, with Baptist.”
She interpreted that as being called to the area. “I said OK this is somewhat of a sign. For whatever reason I am supposed to do something with Baptist and with you guys.”
Kindle-Suersin will be at Hugh Chatham at Yadkin Valley Adult Medicine for three weeks out of four and rotating through the hospital in Independence on the fourth week. “I think that will allow me to have what I need to have professionally in regards to being more connected to other geriatricians [at the hospital] and still do some things with inpatient medicine, but also be able to do things primarily in the outpatient setting with Yadkin Valley Adult Medicine.
“Both organizations have been great with allowing me to be able to have some connection with both,” and connection is important to Kindle-Suersin, especially with her patients.
“I think that everyone should choose someone that they feel that they can trust, is compassionate and will listen to them,” said Kindle-Suersin. “I also think patients and families should consider any provider that can try to understand, listen to and then try to verbalize not only what they consider to be their medical problems or issues that they have, but that can also try to understand and provide explanations in very plain language.”
The use of language between a doctor and patient is very important to Kindle-Suersin.
“Over the last year I’ve tried to be extremely intentional in making sure patients and their families not only understand information that I’m trying to convey but really what I mean,” said Kindle-Suersin, who claims health literacy is an epidemic.
“How can we expect those people to truly, truly have a grasp on how sick they might be or how serious a medical problem might be, and to understand that there might be limitations to medical care that won’t always make things all better?” asked Kindle-Suersin. “[It’s] insane that we expect patients to understand things that took us well over four years to truly understand and we still have to refer back to textbooks to for refreshers.”
For this reason, Kindle-Suersin is deliberate with her language, particularly when talking to a patient. “At the end of the day, I hope [people] can always say that they understood what I have meant by what I have said.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kesi Kindle-Suersin at Yadkin Valley Adult Medicine, call 336-835-3136.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.
Published at Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:53:14 +0000 from Google News