MedEd People: Karen Lee AKA “Momma Lee”

Meet Karen Lee.  She is the Residency Program Site Coordinator for Internal Medicine and Neurology at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN. Our team member, Char, sat with her for a bit at the end of April and asked her about her contribution to medical education.

What are the two biggest things you do for your residents?

She’s there for them.  This can mean anything work related like a paper that needs to be signed or a meal ticket. Or it can mean being there for them personally—it can be as simple as a piece of candy or as warm as a hug.

She has years of experience.  Karen has been at Regions Hospital for over 30 years! She has been known to get calls from all parts of the hospital asking for her help.  She usually knows the answer, but if she doesn’t she knows who to ask!

Tell us about your life as Residency Site Coordinator.

When Karen started her working she thought of herself as the resident’s big sister—helping them navigate through the hospital system and providing encouragement.  As she matured in her role, she became “Momma Lee” to her residents.  Our Chief of Clinical Learning, Kelly Frisch, was one of the residents who fondly called her Momma Lee.  Karen states, “When it gets to the point that I am their Grandma I’m done!”

What tips can you recommend that you can share with everyone reading this blog?

LISTEN:  Really listen to what is being said.  Get the whole story before you give your opinion.  You may learn something.

BE WILLING TO CHANGE:  Regions Hospital has gone through many changes since Karen has been there. To grow you need be willing to learn new things and change how you do them.  She is a self-learner.  If you need to learn a new software or system, find a way to learn it.

BE ABLE TO ADAPT: Every year starting in June, Karen works with 2 new Chief Residents and each resident has different ideas and ways they work. To help the program run smoothly you have to be willing to change and adapt to their ideas.

Karen Lee

Photo courtesy of Char Baum.

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