Dr. Jessica Geida started an Instagram platform, Smiles and Scrubs where she talks about being an OBGYN, or life in medicine and women’s health. She’s currently a fourth year resident in Philadelphia and we’re excited to talk to her this week!
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Alice: Hi everyone. I’m Alice, the Social Media Manager for Jubilance. Today I’m talking with Dr. Jessica Geida. Dr. Geida started an Instagram platform, Smiles and Scrubs where she talks about being an OBGYN, or life in medicine and women’s health. She’s currently a fourth year resident in Philly and we’re so excited to have her on today. So thank you, Dr. Geida. Thanks for being on.
Jessica: Yes, thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be able to participate in your podcast and reaching out.
Alice: Great. So I just have some questions, getting started, what are your must have essentials in your purse?
Jessica: So I think being a resident, I haven’t quite transitioned to that adult purse yet, I definitely still use my backpack, everything. So, I literally don’t go anywhere without it. So in addition to my normal wallet and keys, I always have an extra set of underwear and socks because you never know an amniotic fluids going to get somewhere. Some Advil in case a headache strikes. Then I keep earplugs in my backpack, in case I do get a moment to rest on call, that way I can sleep soundly and I just turn the volume on my phone up really loud.
Alice: Oh, great. That’s perfect. What is your best book that you’ve read lately?
Jessica: So I do a lot of audible because my commute, it’s kind of long. It’s about 40 minutes there and back. So the best book I’ve listened to in the past year, it’s called Maybe you should talk to somebody or I’m sorry, Maybe you should talk to someone, by Lori. I’m going to mispronounce her last name, Gottlieb. G-O-T-T-L-I-E-B. She is a therapist that goes into therapy. So–
Alice: Oh wow.
Jessica: Yes. Documents her kind of experience in therapy and then use this patient interaction that she had to and chose how been being in therapy improved their lives. So, it was so good.
Alice: Oh, that’s really interesting. I’ll have to check that out. I haven’t heard of it.
Jessica: Yes, it was like a five star.
Alice: Oh, wow. What are you currently watching?
Jessica: So my husband and I just finished Silicon Valley on HBO.
Alice: Oh, I’ve heard that’s really good.
Jessica: Yes. Like most shows, I feel like the ending was a little so, so, but the show itself was good.
Alice: Oh, okay. Can you talk about becoming an OBGYN? What led you to start that process? I know it’s a long journey through medical school and then residency. What made you become one?
Jessica: Definitely. I feel like as far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a doctor, even probably before I really knew what being a doctor was. I just liked helping people. So in college, I majored in life science, which is a little bit less intense than like premed or biology. I just took the prerequisite courses for medical school, and then I did the four years of med school, and now I’m in four years of residency and I just had a bunch of like, early kind of exposure experiences, I think that led me to choose women’s health.
One of the big ones, I went to the Ecuador when I was in college for about a month and a half and stayed with a host family, and both of my host parents are doctors and my host mom is an OBGYN. So it was through her, I got to see my first like, agile on delivery, preconception counseling, all kinds of stuff and I was just like a little baby sophomore in college. I had no idea.
Alice: Wow. That really sparked your love of woman’s health. That’s so cool!
Jessica: Yes. Without even knowing or planning, just the universe set me up with that family to stay with.
Alice: That’s amazing. I know with residencies, you apply for different ones and you end up in that city. Are you from Philly or did you come from somewhere else?
Jessica: Yes, I’m from the greater Philadelphia region, so like a half an hour outside of Philly in Pennsylvania. Then my husband and I live in, yes, we live in Philly right now and have for the last five years or so.
Alice: Oh wow. Okay, got you. During your fourth year, that’s amazing. I didn’t realize it was only four years or I really don’t know. That’s awesome. What are your plans for after?
Jessica: So I’ll actually be joining a private practice in the suburbs of Philly–
Jessica: –and I’m super excited. Yes.
Jessica: Thank you. It’s kind of surreal to think that this very long, 12 year journey is coming to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Alice: That’s great. Wow. Perfect that you get to stay around Philly too.
Jessica: Yes, we’re very excited. My husband works out in Malvern, so we’re pumped to stay in the area and kind of get to serve the population that I grew up surrounded by.
Alice: Oh, that’s awesome. What are your favorite parts about Philadelphia?
Jessica: I think in terms of like living in Philly, we love the walkability of the city. I mean yesterday it was snowing and we just decided to go for a walk and kind of see where the day took us. You just never know like what restaurant you’re going to stumble upon or coffee shop or cute bar.
Alice: What are your favorite restaurants? So if we ever go there.
Jessica: Oh, definitely. So, there’s this restaurant called Zahav. It just got named the number one restaurant in the United States.
Alice: What Zahav?
Jessica: Right, it’s crazy. It’s literally, like a block and a half from our apartment.
Jessica: Yes, we’ve been trying to go literally for five years. They let you book three months out and you have to like go on at midnight to their website and like book it for three months out. So we finally got this reservation and we went in and it was so good.
Alice: What kind of food is it?
Jessica: It’s kind of Israeli Mediterranean and it’s a really small dining experience.
Jessica: Yes. So they do like, their tasting menu was like 50 bucks a person. It wasn’t even that crazy expensive. Their food was just so delicious.
Alice: Wow. That’s amazing.
Jessica: It was. But we’re definitely not like upscale diners all the time. I think our probably favorite places are like, just run of the mill cute bars with good bar food.
Alice: That sounds great. Yes. I’ve never made it to Philly. I’m in New York City, but–
Jessica: Oh, that’s funny.
Alice: I’m close, I have to go.
Jessica: You are so close. I feel like it’s always the opposite. People from Philly go to New York. But, I feel like New Yorkers don’t always come back to Philly. New York is so big.
Alice: Yes. I’ve always wanted to go. I want– I really want to see the Liberty bell, which is kind of awkward but–
Jessica: No, no, that’s in my, yes, I mean it’s like a 10 minute walk from where we live, right now.
Alice: That so cool.
Jessica: So, I know it’s what you’ve always seek that for granted. You’re like, “Oh it’s just in my backyard.” But the same with New York, I feel like you probably do all the fun like Broadway shows and things.
Alice: Yes. Oh, that’s awesome. Can you talk about starting Smiles and Scrubs and how it started and why you decided to start it?
Jessica: Yes, definitely. So I kind of joined Instagram back in 2015, I was a fourth year med student, and like you said when you apply for residency and stuff, you apply kind of broadly throughout the country and it’s a very stressful experience because you really don’t have any control. You enter where you want to go and all of the hospitals were in queue and some computer algorithm matches you guys up across the country and it’s a binding contract so you don’t really get, it’s not like a, “No, I don’t want to go there.” It’s a, this is happening. So highly stressful time.
I kind of found myself feeling a little bit isolated and exhausted and it was just really unhealthy and stressed out. I remember looking in the mirror and being like, I don’t know where that bubbly bright like first year med student that was so excited to change the world when she kind of disappeared throughout the stress of medical school. I knew that if I was going to survive residency, and be a doctor that actually enjoys doing what I do, I need to make some changes. So that’s kind of when I started my Instagram presence, I ended up joining, a Beach body. Have you ever heard of it?
Alice: No, what is that?
Jessica: It’s an online, it’s like a multilevel marketing type of business if you will. But it’s kind of a lot more than that. They do home, there’s a whole online homework out and they have meal plans, and even more so like a community of people that are all committed to getting healthy and keeping each other accountable.
So I joined this organization with one of my friends from college who happened to be in her OBGYN residency and, it was like just the perfect fit. So I joined the Instagram community really to keep myself accountable and kind of really learned to like stay positive. That’s kind of how Smiles and Scrubs with like the tagline of choosing you. So choosing yourself while you’re learning to take care of other people came into fruition and it’s just kind of developed from there.
Alice: Yes, it’s wonderful. Everyone, you should all check out her Instagram @smilesandscrubs. It’s awesome.
Jessica: Oh, thank you.
Jessica: Thank you.
Alice: Can you about like some of the women that you’ve interacted with on that platform now? Do you have any information on that?
Jessica: Oh definitely. Definitely. So talking about my friend that I joined this Beach body with and how she kind of got involved with me. Her name’s Meredith Carbone Doyle, her Instagram’s @theveggiedoc. Yes, so she’s an OBGYN too. When I was like way back before, Instagram was even like a thing on my radar, I reached out to her on Facebook and we’ve continued now through Instagram and in real life too. We were actually in the same sorority in college.
Alice: Oh, amazing.
Jessica: I know. But she was a senior and I was a little baby freshman so she graduated and our paths may never have crossed again, it hadn’t not been for social media. She’s kind of been my friend and mentor and like a voice of reason in my life. She has encouraged me throughout like every step of the way in medical school and residency and finding the right attending job and it’s just been amazing and all because of social media.
Alice: That’s awesome. Wow. Where do you see Smiles and Scrubs going or growing?
Jessica: That is such a great question. I think for now, I’m definitely passionate about this kind of like choose you mentality and finding the positive in life and learning how to care for yourself while, like I said, caring about others. It’s kind of been the driving force that’s kept me motivated and so passionate throughout residency. So definitely continuing with that. Then I don’t really know. I have some like lofty goals in the future, maybe like writing a book or starting some type of, yes, outreach to medical students or people in residency that are going through the throws of it, but I don’t really know.
Alice: That’s amazing. That all sounds wonderful. You can do it. Yes. As your Smiles and Scrubs is like, go for it.
Jessica: Yes. Yes, that’s what I would tell someone. Just see where it takes you.
Alice: Oh, that’s awesome. Our podcast is really about like being a female, like what it means to be a woman. For you, I mean, that definition is constantly evolving and changing with our society but for you right now at this moment, what is your definition for being a woman?
Jessica: I think it’s– that’s– yes, like you said, it’s always changing, right? Like I’m a female. [crosstalk] I know. I’m a woman, I take care of women. I’m one of three girls.
Alice: That’s awesome, I mean it’s you.
Jessica: It’s just– oh, you are. No, are you the– where are you in the middle or?
Alice: I’m the oldest.
Jessica: The oldest, me too. Me too. It is fun. So, I mean, I just love being a woman and female. I think today my definition of that would be kind of embracing yourself and not being scared to wear a dress and lipstick and curl your hair just for a regular day of the office. Then being able at the same time to embrace like going home and wearing sweatpants and eating frozen pizza on the couch and knowing that like, you are still the same strong powerful person regardless of what you’re portraying to society just because of everything that we’ve done as females.
Alice: That’s amazing. Thank you. Then I ge– my other question like along with that is, if you ran into someone on the street, a woman on the street, and you had like one minute to give them advice, what would it be?
Jessica: Oh, that was a– that’s a tough question because you had shared these questions with me before and I was like, what would I tell someone on the street? So, I think my biggest piece of advice that applies, you know, outside of medicine, inside of medicine is something called blinders. So let me just explain that real fast. So you know race horses when they’re racing, they have shields on the sides of their eyes so that they can’t see the horse to their right or the horse of their left, they’re just looking in their own lane. I think that we need to do that more as people.
I think that one of the biggest struggles I have had in medicine and just life in general has been comparing myself to other people. When you do that, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. So really just knowing yourself, know your plans, know your goals, and then put your blinders on and just stay in your own lane. Because it doesn’t matter if your best friend publishes 17 research papers and you want nothing to do with research. But somehow, your friend doing that, you can feel a little inadequate sometimes. Even if you want nothing to do with research in the future, you want to be a community physician that does not do research, which is totally me. I know my video’s not working, but I’m raising my hand. Just realizing that we all have different goals and just because someone achieves something great doesn’t make you any less good.
Alice: That’s great. Thank you so much Dr. Geida.
Jessica: Yes, of course.
Alice: Yes. Is there anything else you want to add to our listeners?
Jessica: Let me think. I think probably if, and then I know I just gave that big piece of advice but, I would say, just think really hard about like what it is that makes you happy and hold on to that whatever it is. You know, medicine can take a lot from you, but it’s your decision what you give back. So hold on tight to what makes you, you and find good because there’s so much of it.
Alice: Thank you so much, Dr. Geida.
Jessica: Thank you.
Alice: Yes. Thank you for being on.
Jessica: Oh, thank you. I’m so honored I got to participate.
Alice: Yes, and congratulations for next year for your practice.
Jessica: Thank you. I’m very excited. It’s been a long time coming.
Alice: Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, I’ll continue to follow @smilesandscrubs everyone, so.
Jessica: Thank you.
Alice: Yes. Yes, thank you so much.
Photo Credit: @redlomedia