UNM Medical School grad prepares for surgery residency in COVID ‘hot spot’ New Orleans

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A University of New Mexico Medical School graduate is beginning her residency in one of the COVID-19 ‘hot spots’ of the United States. When the coronavirus hit New Mexico’s healthcare system in March, it changed the way students in medical school wrapped up their educations, including being kept away from the hospital.

“I haven’t been in a hospital in a while so that’s interesting,” said Dr. Christa Eussen, a recent graduate of UNM’s medical school. “A little nerve wracking in that sense.”

Dr. Eussen is getting ready to start her general surgery residency in one of America’s coronavirus hot spots: Louisiana. Even as things open back up, she says her program at Louisiana State University is already seeing changes because of the pandemic.

“It will all be via Zoom, another COVID change,” said Eussen, mentioning her orientation next month will be done virtually. “I won’t get to meet my fellow interns until I actually start.” A natural ‘fixer’, surgery drew her in during school.

“I’ve always liked to do home improvement projects,” said Eussen, who feels that hobby led her to general surgery. “I felt like surgery had really big impact on people’s quality of lives because you can actually go in there and physically take out a sick organ or repair something. Patients wake up and they look so much better and they feel a lot better and it was probably the most rewarding field I experienced throughout medical school.”

Even as she heads to a state with more than 37,000 coronavirus cases and the impact they can have, Eussen says she’s ready to serve. “I’m obviously nervous because I think every new intern is extremely nervous,” said Eussen. “But I’m also really excited, just because I finally get to start on my career.”

Eussen says she will be in the program at Louisiana State University for five years. Throughout that time, she will rotate throughout New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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