What life is like for a young doctor — Hamilton resident becomes YouTube star

McMaster medical resident, Siobhan Deshauer has become a popular YouTube vlogger, documenting what it's really like to be a resident.

Siobhan Deshauer posts her new videos to YouTube every Saturday

Medical resident Siobhan Deshauer started her YouTube vlog last July, documenting her life as a junior doctor. She now has over 53,000 subscribers. (YouTube)

A Hamilton medical resident has become a Youtube star thanks to a series of videos that deliver straight talk on how hospitals really work and what life's like for a young doctor.

Siobhan Deshauer is in her first year of internal medicine residency, and she's telling the web all about it. 

"I decided to just do something where I could, in the moment, really convey the way I was feeling and I thought video was a great medium," said Deshauer.

With over 56,000 subscribers and 1.5 million views, Deshauer's vlog has become a global hit.

No expectations

Deshauer says she had no expectations when starting the vlog last July. 

"It just keeps growing each day," said Deshauer.

Deshauer has been featured as YouTube's "Creator on the Rise" and also made the U.S. trending page for a day in November.

Her channel is the place to go if you want to know what to expect in the intensive care unit, how to translate doctor talk into plain English or why Santa needs to worry about altitude sickness on Christmas Eve. She goes by the name "Violin MD" and for Santa, she recommends acetazolamide.

This opportunity to vlog is actually become that reflective piece for myself.-  Siobhan Deshauer

Deshauer says the most popular video has been one of her documenting a 24-hour shift.

"I was just excited to have my first hundred subscribers and I thought that was amazing and once I started having people actually reach out and share some of their stories or ask me questions about their experience in the hospital, that's when I started to realize that I reach people and make a difference," said Deshauer.

(YouTube)

The vlog is a stark contrast to the prime time TV portrayal of life as a young doctor.

She says there have been people who've shared that having watched the videos, they better understood things like wait times and had more compassion for healthcare workers.

New videos are posted every Saturday. Despite some late Friday nights, it's worth it says Deshauer because it's become a passion project for her.

Deshauer says when you're going through a rigorous program, you need to take time to reflect on the experience you're going through.

"You're seeing a lot of life and death scenarios, you're watching people going through some of the worst moments of their lives, and I think without having time to reflect on it, it can weigh on you and this opportunity to vlog is actually become that reflective piece for myself," said Deshauer.

I'm always trying to keep music as part of my life.- Siobhan Deshauer

A musical twist

When you watch the videos, you'll catch a bit of Deshauer's musical past.

Before going to medical school, she was a professional violinist and studied violin performance in her undergraduate degree.

She then decided to pursue medicine.

Asked why she includes a few notes here and there, Deshauer says, "I'm always trying to keep music as part of my life."

Deshauer says making the shift from music to medicine was definitely a challenge, but that it made her work harder.

"I think I was always concerned that I would be behind so I think it actually made me study harder and work harder to make sure I wasn't behind my peers," said Deshauer.

A week to recognize residents

We have to recognize our residents as the future of medicine.- Canadian Medical Association president, Dr. Laurent Marcoux

Last week was National Resident Awareness Week, a time dedicated to thank Canada's 12,000 residents for contributing to the health of Canadians.

"We have to recognize our residents as the future of medicine," said Canadian Medical Association president, Dr. Laurent Marcoux.

With decades of experience in the field, Marcoux has some sage advice for residents, but it's not scientific.

 "If they focus their attention to the person just in front of them, it's great," said Marcoux. He says it will help them make the right decision and be happy in the profession.

For Deshauer, the week is a good opportunity for awareness.

"It's incredibly important to recognize the amount of work that residents put in, how much residents care for their patients and the number of hours they put in to look after them day and night," said Deshauer.