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This WellSpan job interview went completely wrong, and then completely right

September 08, 2021

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Dr. Laila Younes (center) ended up in the hospital during her WellSpan job interview. She was aided by faculty member Dr. Susan Medalie (left) and hired by Dr. Abdul Waheed.

Dr. Laila Younes (center) ended up in the hospital during her WellSpan job interview. She was aided by faculty member Dr. Susan Medalie (left) and hired by Dr. Abdul Waheed.

Dr. Laila Younes’ job interview with WellSpan was kind of a disaster.

Due to a recent knee injury, she had to get around on crutches and in a wheelchair. Then she passed out after having lunch with her interviewers and found herself in an ambulance, headed to WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital.

But the interview also turned out to be kind of perfect.

Dr. Younes had come to Lebanon to interview for a position as a faculty member for the WellSpan Family Residency program, which provides training for physicians seeking to specialize in family practice. And, during her unexpected hospitalization at Good Sam, she ended up being cared for by a team that included WellSpan residents with consummate clinical skills and a compassionate bedside manner. She got to see the residency program faculty in action, too, and see the culture of the program from the perspective of a patient.

At the end of her stay, Dr. Younes knew WellSpan was exactly the right place for her.

“I told the recruiter, ‘You should make everyone who is interviewing be hospitalized!’ ” she said, with a delighted laugh. “You literally see everything the residents do. They were very good. They really impressed me.

“I knew if patients had to be in the hospital, they would be very well taken care of. I was impressed by how much the residents advocated for me as a patient. It is important for me to be with a group of people who act like that. I could tell the residents were very humble and excited to learn, and they had great attitudes. You could tell they are genuinely happy to be doing what they are doing.”

WellSpan also knew that Dr. Younes was the right person for the residency faculty position.

Dr. Abdul Waheed, the family practice residency program director, said Younes is highly skilled in providing family medicine and maternity care, and earned recognition for teaching these skills to other resident physicians and medical students in her residency program in Chicago. Her conduct during her unusual job interview sealed the deal.

“I found her high spirited and positive in some of the toughest situations,” he said. “She had a serious life-threatening event on her interview day, but she kept her smile. One thing that really impressed me is Dr Younes’ clear and positive communication throughout her stay here. I really believe that she will be a wonderful addition to our team of family physicians who provide care and teach in our program. “

Younes hurt her knee about two weeks before her scheduled job interview in Lebanon, when she fell on a trampoline at her 6-year-old nephew’s birthday party. She went to a Chicago-area emergency department, where tests showed no broken bones. Follow-up testing later showed that she had completely and partially torn two ligaments, which led to bruising in her bone and some intense pain.

“I was frustrated but I was kind of like, whatever, I don’t let things slow me down,” Dr. Younes said. “I knew I had my interview coming up and I had to go.”

She finished a residency shift at 6 p.m. in Chicago and was on a 5 a.m. flight to Pennsylvania the next day. She started her interview at WellSpan Family Medicine – North Fourth Street and then toured the labor and delivery unit at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital with Dr. Susan Medalie, a residency program faculty member. Dr. Younes got in Dr. Medalie’s car to return to the North Fourth Street office and collapsed.

“I thought I was tired and dehydrated,” Dr. Younes said.

After an urgent exam at the North Fourth Street office, Dr. Medalie told Dr. Younes that she needed to go to the hospital right away, and an ambulance was called. Medalie suspected, and tests later confirmed, that Dr. Younes had blood clots in her lungs, brought on by her knee injury.

The two physicians sat together, talking and waiting for the ambulance. Dr. Medalie said, “In that time, I learned more about her than I ever could have in a formal interview. I was amazed at her composure and compassion.”

While at Good Sam, Dr. Younes said that the residents who admitted her to the hospital adeptly handled both the big things and the little things, sitting down so they could be at eye level to talk to her, asking the right questions, bringing in the right consulting physicians.

After she was treated for the blood clots and recovered, Dr. Younes told her WellSpan contacts she wanted to finish her interview. She did so, over Zoom this time, was offered the job and accepted it.

“This was my first of four interviews I had scheduled,” she said. “I thought, ‘The other places have a lot of impressing to do.’ I felt like WellSpan was really going to be hard to beat. Everyone was so kind and, in terms of the program structure and what I was looking for, Good Sam is a great fit.”

Good Sam folks agree.

“I am looking forward to her being a colleague,” Medalie said, “and not a patient!”

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