Dr. Patricia Lucey is a physician board certified in Dermatology who has a passion for the detection and management of pigmented lesions, melanoma, and other skin cancers. Dr. Lucey attended George Washington School of Medicine, graduated from her dermatological residency at Albert Einstein School of Medicine, and completed a year long fellowship in cutaneous oncology and melanoma at the Washington Hospital Center. Even though she spends a majority of her time working at Inova Medical Group and Tamjidi Skin Institute specializing in cosmetic and surgical dermatological procedures, she loves living in Virginia with her husband and son.
Was your journey to become a doctor a straightforward one?
Not at all! I didn't even know if being a doctor is what I wanted to do. In undergrad I was a biology major and a voice minor. I was in an Acapella group, played guitar, I didn't really take anything seriously. The first time I took the MCAT, I didn't do well on it. Even after retaking it and getting into medical school, when it was time to apply to residencies, I didn't get into the residency I wanted (I was top 10% of my class). This just goes to show that there may be bumps in the road and hardships but if you are committed, you will be successful.
What did you do during your years between undergrad and medical school?
After graduating I still was not sure on what career path I wanted to pursue. I took this time to experience life as well as make strides towards pursuing a career in medicine. I tried being an EMT (too firehousey for me), was a bartender, I waitressed, studied for Mcat, retook classes, traveled, and worked as a dermatological medical assistant.
Do you feel like being a medical assistant has shaped what type of doctor you have become?
Being a medical assistant definitely showed me a different side of medicine. It helped me realize that there is a psychological aspect to dealing with patients. I recommend that students that are interested in medicine either shadow, work in a lab, or get some type of real life exposure. I was blessed to have Drs. Jaffe, O'neill, and Lindgren there to encourage me to pursue a medical degree.
What was your social life like in medical school?
Often times, the stigma associated with medical school is that you never leave the library and it is so stressful. While there were nights that I didn't leave the library til early the next morning, and I did have a lot of work to do..I had some of the best years of my life in med school. I met a guy and fell in love to the man that is now my husband in med school. I did have fun while in med school. Hard work and no play makes no one happy. You have to be able to have that balance between working hard and having a social life.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When I take the time to do a thorough skin cancer screening on a patient and I find a subtle unpigmented melanoma that could have been easily overlooked. Its one thing to find something that is easily visible, but when I find something that is unnoticeable to the patient, it makes my job worth it. Being able to detect skin cancer in an early stage and save someones life is rewarding enough for me. The fact that I came from a family with a history of skin issues, and now I dedicated my life to treating skin conditions is such a blessing.
"Eventhough I felt like I was a little late in the game, this did not stop me from pursuing my degree. I had many set backs, I almost didn't go to med school. It is important for students to understand that there is not one path to medicine. 50% of the people in my classes knew they wanted to be a doctor ever since they were little. While the other 50% wanted to be lawyers, teachers, and accountants first. It isn't all about when or how you get there. The willingness to work hard will make you successful. "
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