I asked, before I even talk to your son, what are his triggers? Can he be touched? Can I do a physical exam? If he allows me to listen to his heart and lungs, will the cold metal be a trigger? Smedshammer says.
He continued asking whether the boy was bothered by loud sounds and if he should turn the lights down in the exam room.
She started crying, Smedshammer says. She said in all of the years of doctoring for him, no one ever asked that.
Even early in his career, Smedshammer seems to grasp that bedside manner is as important as medical knowledge. Caring for others seems like something he was born and destined to do. But his road to residency was far from smooth and straight. It was full of detours, a few potholes and even a real life Wheel of Fortune. But the tale of his journey should be required reading for any student feeling pressured to know exactly where their education and career path is headed.
Smedshammer was born and raised just north of Fargo to a mom with a masters degree in nursing and a Master Sergeant dad. He had two older half-siblings and one younger sister.
I had a phenomenal childhood, Smedshammer recalls. My parents were remarkable people.
At Fargos Shanley High School, he says he was interested in technology and figured after graduation in 2002, hed pursue a degree in computer science at North Dakota State University. That summer he got into the subculture of music.
Im a kid of the '80s. I was raised on Nirvana, Soundgarden, those kinds of 90s grunge bands, he says. I was 18, it was my first taste of freedom. I got a tattoo and I was all rebellious.
He even took on apprenticeship doing piercings at a tattoo shop in Fargo. Once school started, he found his entry-level college computer classes less than challenging. He says he became disenchanted after about a month and decided to quit school. When he told his parents they said okay but he was 18 and he should move out of the house.
Without any argument or fanfare I packed my bags and moved out without a game plan as to what I was going to do, he says.
He says he wasnt really scared about the uncertainty because hes always had confidence in himself to figure things out.
For the next year and a half he lived on tips from his unpaid apprenticeship and relied upon the generosity of friends who, when he wasnt sleeping in his car, let him sleep on their couch.
I like to call it the couch circuit, he says.
He says when he went home at the holidays with ever-increasing tattoos and piercings, his parents didnt say much.
As supportive as they were, it wasnt really their jam, Smedshammer says.
But as the year-and-a-half went on Smedshammer says he was starting to build a strong clientele.
I love people. Im very outgoing and very social. I would talk to a wrong number for an hour if I had the opportunity, he says. So people were starting to come back for repeat services.
At that same time, Smedshammer put his love of music to work, forming a band with some friends.
Metal, screaming, loud stuff. We had a wonderful, affectionate name, Necktie Suicide. The kind of thing where you cringe when your grandma asks, he says with a big laugh.
They put out two albums and toured the Midwest, all while Smedshammer continued his piercing work. But it was an interaction he had with a woman who came in for a nose piercing one day that would change the course of his life. The woman, impressed by Smedshammers people skills during the piercing, asked if he ever considered becoming a doctor because he already had an impeccable bedside manner.
I kind of laughed and said, no, Im pretty happy with what Im doing. Shes like well, you gotta think about what youre going to do when you grow up. I was in my mid-20s at this point so I was a little burnt by that, he says.
Nonetheless, he says, that conversation struck a nerve and that next weekend he found himself applying to go back and get his undergraduate degree at the University of Mary in Bismarck. He says he felt like becoming a doctor was a little outside his scope, but he thought nursing would be an option. But that changed after a lecture one day in a nursing class.
The lecturer was putting up images of people of various walks of life and having us shout out what our stereotypes or gut reactions to the people were, he says. She said something like, Steve, youre going to love this one. It was a photo of some guy with a huge septum ring and ears stretched like mine were. She asked what the incorrect perceptions were and they said things like dirty. I was like hey, Im right here. Im kind of offended.
Smedshammer, who at his peak had about 23 piercings and close to 100 tattoos, said he immediately left nursing for pre-med where he felt he might be in more of a position to change perceptions.
I have a ton of respect for the nursing world, but something about that moment put a bad taste in my mouth, he says. Im the one that always fought for the marginalized. I met people from all walks of life, especially when I was with the band. They were down on their luck and I always felt like you shouldnt judge anyone. I felt like I needed to do something to curb this. Help make more of a systemic change in perceptions.
In other words, if patients walked in and saw a doctor with tattoos and piercings it could have a greater impact to affect change.
So why not aim for the fences and go for doctor. And it worked I guess, he says.
By 2010 he was seeing his now wife, Christine who was living in Fargo. He transferred to Concordia College in Moorhead, where he says as a scrawny, bearded, tattooed guy he never felt judged.
I felt accepted. Its a very accepting, progressive kind of environment, he says.
And the acceptance of his alternative look extended once he graduated and attended medical school at the University of North Dakota.
I was the oldest person (32) in my class. On the flip side we had a girl in our class who was 19 - a homeschooled prodigy. But we all respected each other and took care of each other, he says.
By this point, Smedshammer was also taking care of a family. He had married his amazing and supportive wife Christine and they had one daughter, Sloane, who is now 6. (Son Saint, 4 and daughter Stevie, 1 , came along a little later).
Raising a family while going to school can be a costly affair, but Smedshammer got help from an unexpected place, the Wheel of Fortune game show where he was chosen to be a contestant.
The Wheelmobile was in Fargo and my wife said, you watch the show as a kid and youre awesome. You should go do it, he says.
He competed against hundreds of others in town to get a chance to be on the show where he eventually won, $33,150 - money that helped the Smedshammers buy a house.
After a series of interviews and applications for residency programs which Christine describes as The Hunger Games meets Tinder, Smedshammer was accepted in the University of Minnesota pediatrics program, with the eventual goal to be a pediatric oncologist. Hes currently working at Childrens Minnesota in St. Paul.
He says medicine, for him, is the perfect marriage of the people skills his dad instilled in him with the compassion his mom brought to the table. His father died a few years ago, but he says his mom is proud of where he is now.
Hes come a long way since sleeping on peoples couches and driving around in a stinky van with a bunch of smelly guys playing music.
Not only is Smedshammer pursuing a medical career, hes also using his less than traditional career path to mentor undergraduates and medical students about their own goals - teaching them how to evaluate themselves and learn how to trust their own instincts.
And what about Smedshammers own children? What would he tell them if they chose a less than traditional career path like his?
Like a lot of dads, he says he just wants his kids to be happy.
If it makes you happy, thats what I want, he says. I dont want somebody toiling away at a job that they hate because they felt that was the track theyre supposed to do. I dont want regrets. And Id encourage people to look at life the same way.
Read the original post:
- Black Americans flock to gun stores and clubs: 'I needed to protect myself' - The Guardian - April 5th, 2021
- Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year brings together lessons of Holocaust, racism - Palm Beach Post - April 5th, 2021
- Suzanne Nicastro: Its Time to Tell the Truth about Public School Closures - Noozhawk - February 17th, 2021
- Gangland: a book about meth and the people whose lives it touches - The Spinoff - February 17th, 2021
- Exploring the process of becoming a tattoo artist - Argonaut - February 13th, 2021
- Welcome to the Gross Room - INKED - February 13th, 2021
- Walter Suza: A city along the Mississippi seeks to defeat hate - Ames Tribune - February 6th, 2021
- Best of Jackson 2021: Community and Culture - Jackson Free Press - February 4th, 2021
- Eat my fear: Australian of the Year Grace Tame on surviving child sex abuse - Sydney Morning Herald - January 25th, 2021
- HIPAA Certification Online: Why Is It Worth It? - South Florida Caribbean News - January 24th, 2021
- State Is 'Battered, Not Broken' Kemp Says In State Of The State | 90.1 FM WABE - WABE 90.1 FM - January 15th, 2021
- Skin in the game: why getting a tattoo helped me achieve my goals - The Guardian - January 5th, 2021
- 20 touching photos from the Flint area in 2020 - MLive.com - December 28th, 2020
- What are the 'Tier 4' restrictions and will Harrogate be hit with tougher New Year Covid regulations? - Harrogate Advertiser - December 28th, 2020
- WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO FROM TODAY UNDER TIER 3 RESTRICTIONS - Island Echo - December 27th, 2020
- Tier 4 rules in full for Sussex: Heres what you can and cant do - Hastings Observer - December 27th, 2020
- Fusing the Flavors of the World - INKED - December 25th, 2020
- University of East Anglia, UK announces Sonny Mehta India Scholarship for budding Indian writers - India Education Diary - December 16th, 2020
- This 75-year-old from Madurai has preserved memories of the Dravidian movement - The News Minute - December 13th, 2020
- Tattoo training, online course - TattooTechniques.com - December 7th, 2020
- Licensed Tattoo Artist: Job Description and Education ... - December 7th, 2020
- Fun and Games this Holiday Season -- Gift Giving for Kids! - WISHTV.com - December 7th, 2020
- Emily Viti's son has MPS and the Framingham High volleyball coach is fighting to find a cure for the terminal disease - Milford Daily News - December 6th, 2020
- Through Positive Eyes: living with HIV and Aids - a photo essay - The Guardian - December 1st, 2020
- DepEd admits error in a module that says people with tattoo are criminals - Manila Bulletin - November 20th, 2020
- The Japanese Pilgrimage Where Horimono Tattoos Are Revered - VICE - November 18th, 2020
- Educator of the Week: Jeff Bergman - Racine County Eye - November 18th, 2020
- Jacob Free: 5 things to know about the Troy University football quarterback - Montgomery Advertiser - November 18th, 2020
- Even as traditional globalisation has slowed, a new kind has sped up - The Economist - November 5th, 2020
- California voters reject affirmative action ballot measure - Education Week - November 5th, 2020
- Morality, legality and tattoos - koreatimes - October 31st, 2020
- Europes Locked Down, but Schools Are Open - The New York Times - October 31st, 2020
- Seances, tattoos and the unbreakable bond between Mikaela Mayer and Al Mitchell - ESPN - October 31st, 2020
- Tier 4 lockdown: what would the rules be, and what UK areas could be affected? - The Telegraph - October 31st, 2020
- What can we do as the county stays in the purple tier? - Sonoma West - October 28th, 2020
- Post Covid-19 Impact on Smart Tattoo Market Share Forecast by Application 2020 Analysis and Forecasts to 2027- MOTOROLA CORPORATION, Google Inc, and... - October 28th, 2020
- Simulation Learning Market Set to Register robust CAGR During 2020-2025 - The Think Curiouser - October 28th, 2020
- Four in the running for 4th Senate seat - Journal Inquirer - October 24th, 2020
- Backlog of Test Results Is Reason for Todays Large Number of Reported COVID-19 Infections - WEHOville - October 24th, 2020
- Study outlines the link between tattoos and damage to sweat glands - News-Medical.net - October 21st, 2020
- QAnon-linked Save the Children movement is derailing local anti-trafficking organizations - The Arizona Republic - October 19th, 2020
- CURE's Inaugural Lung Cancer Heroes Program Honors Several Individuals Who Have Dedicated Their Lives and Careers to Improving Care for Patients -... - October 17th, 2020
- Herald building tenants raise fortunes of downtown area - tricitiesbusinessnews.com - October 16th, 2020
- V,I, Council on the Arts celebrated Arts and Humanities Month - Virgin Islands Daily News - October 9th, 2020
- Family of late Holy Cross rower Grace Rett speaks out, working to build a gym in her honor - Boston Herald - October 8th, 2020
- Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Jordan Hunt, Cornell University (Johnson) - Poets&Quants - October 8th, 2020
- Benjamin Keough Is Laid To Rest Next To His Grandfather Elvis At Graceland - - The Tech Education - October 4th, 2020
- IN CASE YOU MISSED ITSchedule of Reuters features from this week - Reuters - October 4th, 2020
- Anderson Luna Is Here To Make Tattooing Accessible To Other People Of Color - HuffPost - September 30th, 2020
- Heavily tattooed school teacher risks losing his job because of his appearance - Myjoyonline.com - September 25th, 2020
- A World to Be Discovered: Deaf artists of Omaha - Gateway - The Gateway - September 22nd, 2020
- People are getting coronavirus-themed tattoos of masks, toilet paper - Insider - INSIDER - September 20th, 2020
- Andrea Bolender Outlines Goals Of The Holocaust Memorial And Tolerance Center - Great Neck Record - September 18th, 2020
- Megan Connolly's winding career path a lesson in trust and faith - both on and off the field - Independent.ie - September 16th, 2020
- In Illinois, new survey finds 15% of millennials, Generation Z believe the Holocaust is a myth and did not h - Chicago Sun-Times - September 16th, 2020
- A look at how Trump's pointed rhetoric binds him to his tribe and it to him - Harvard Gazette - September 16th, 2020
- Creating Community: 7 Ground Floor Artists on the Art Scene in Birmingham - Bham Now - September 12th, 2020
- Portrait artist Akeem Hartman is one to watch - Stabroek News - September 12th, 2020
- The Black Lives Matter Movement Will Change the Future of Tattooing - Yahoo Lifestyle - September 11th, 2020
- Conroe man hit with huge 60-year sentence - Woodlands Online - September 9th, 2020
- County of Orange moves to Red Tier, re-opens more of Orange County - Orange County Breeze - September 9th, 2020
- Tattoo Source: Social application for tattoo artists is planning to makes waves in the industry worldwide - Press Release - Digital Journal - September 7th, 2020
- Schalmont teacher going online to find '5 Minute Mentors' - The Daily Gazette - September 4th, 2020
- Tattoo Equipments Market Sets the Table for Continued Growth | Sabre, FK Irons, EZ Tattoo Supply, Kingpin Tattoo Supply - Bulletin Line - September 4th, 2020
- QuickBooks 101 Business Education Webinar on September 22 Open to All - PR Web - September 4th, 2020
- Education - atomictattoos.com - September 2nd, 2020
- Tattoo School | Tattoo Apprenticeships - Body Art & Soul ... - September 2nd, 2020
- Education - Virginia Arts Festival - September 2nd, 2020
- Learn How to Tattoo: Schools and Courses - September 2nd, 2020
- They came for us in the morning: What prison officials don't want you to know about the raid on 200+ incarcerated Black people at Soledad - San... - September 2nd, 2020
- Released from San Quentin, Rebuilding Their Lives - KQED - August 30th, 2020
- BTS: Jimin and his boat cap come to our rescue on this gloomy Thursday; Jiminie's '13' tattoo makes appearance - PINKVILLA - August 30th, 2020
- Global Tattoo Ink Market : Industry Analysis and Forecast (2020-2027) by Type, End User and Region. - Galus Australis - August 28th, 2020
- Dozens of mask complaints filed against Muncie-area businesses - The Star Press - August 24th, 2020
- In April, this educator lost her mother to COVID. Now NYC wants her to go back to work. - ABC News - August 22nd, 2020
- Daisy Johnson: Agents Of SHIELD Superhero! Know All About Her And Her Real Life! - The Tech Education - August 19th, 2020
- Breast Implants Market to Reach $3.05 Billion by 2027; Technological Intervention Has Played a Massive Role in Market Growth, says Fortune Business... - August 19th, 2020
- Smart Tattoo Market Growth Rate Forecasts to 2026 by Trending Industry Manufacturers, Regions, Types and Applications- MOTOROLA CORPORATION, Google... - August 19th, 2020
- 5 questions for Scott Gottlieb, Rick Hess, and Michael Strain on the next stage of the COVID pandemic - American Enterprise Institute - August 19th, 2020
- Welcome to the CPP (Crony Payment Plan) - The Platte County Landmark Newspaper - August 14th, 2020