I’ll be forever grateful for the communal bathrooms in the freshman dorms at Boston College. That’s where I first met Kimberly Bouchard, a leggy brunette in shorts and a sports bra who’d just returned from a run. At first, I was intimidated by the New Hampshire native—even after a run, she looked like she’d just stepped out of an Abercrombie catalog—but when she invited me to her room and offered me cheesecake, I knew we’d be friends. Today, the still-avid runner is a pediatric resident in Washington, D.C. Residents don’t get much time off the clock—28-hour shifts actually exist—so this busy doctor favors a low-fuss beauty routine and squeezes in most of her shopping online. During a recent trip to the West Coast, the future neonatologist—that’s a doctor who specializes in newborns—revealed how she keeps a pager from ruining her outfit, the foundation that outlasts the longest of shifts, and her favorite ways to decompress (yes, running is one of them).
Tell us about the work you do.
I’m currently in residency, training to become a general pediatrician. I’m in my third and final year of my program and looking forward to pursuing fellowship where I will specialize to become a neonatologist. I hope to further this cause.
How did you decide to go into pediatrics?
There’s something inherently special about working with kids. Some sort of bad luck happened to them, and we have the challenge to treat it. This often means just supporting them while they heal themselves. Kids are amazingly resilient, and it makes the job so rewarding.
Your schedule can be totally unpredictable—and grueling. How do you decompress in your time off the clock?
I’ll be honest, I spend a fair amount time on the couch/in bed. It took me an entire year to realize that a pillow-top mattress was the best investment I could make for my future. From books to music to TV and movies, if it’s mind-numbing, it’s probably appropriate. I also run. And run. And occasionally swim. With underwater headphones. As-loud-as-possible music during a workout is apparently my thing.
You mentioned mind-numbing TV shows. Do you watch any doctor shows and if so, which one is the most realistic?
I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy. When I started medical school, a group of us got together to watch the show. It was our plan for weekly bonding sessions. We lasted one episode. An entire group of medical students was lost to that show the day they decided to resuscitate a deer in the hospital parking lot. And this is coming from an animal lover. The popular opinion has been that Scrubs is the most realistic. I do think it’s true, because you definitely get through a lot of of the difficulties and challenges in the hospital with humor. I also think that show did a good job with the sad or awkward or painful moments—they’re real.
When you’re not wearing scrubs, what’s your style like?
It is often pointed out to me that five-foot-ten-inch girls should not wear heels everyday. Well … I do. Most of the time anyway. I love browsing on Ruelala and have found some great deals there. My goal is usually clean and classic with something that pops. A crisp pair of dress pants from Banana (they offer most of their slacks in tall), a t-shirt, wedges, and a funky necklace or a bunch of bangles are staples. I also love blazers, mostly because they have pockets—you would be shocked how quickly a pager on your waist can ruin a skinny belt.
Speaking of staples, what staples would we find in your beauty cabinet?
If it allows me to look pretty fast and get away with minimal fuss, it’s in! I just joined Birchbox (who doesn't love getting mail?) and was sent shampoo and conditioner samples from Beauty Protector. After using them, I did my usual haphazard flip-my-head-over-and-go blow-dry and headed off to work for the night. The number of shocked “You did your hair for night shift?” comments that flew my way made it so worth splurging and putting my whatever’s-on-sale brand on the bench. It smells a bit strong right out of the bottle, but once you dry, it’s lovely, soft, and candy-coated. And the kind folks at Birchbox offer a newbie discount, which certainly helps. Next moment of honesty is my skin care: I cannot escape Proactiv. I’ve tried and gotten lazy (see sale-brand comment above) and my skin very quickly reminds me what it prefers. The young girl in me who struggled with acne is constantly thrilled by my complexion and, were I not so in love with Bare Escentuals, I might forgo make-up more than occasionally. So lastly, Bare Escentuals. I was not a believer that a powder could out-conceal my old cream foundation, but does it! And it gives such a lovely glow that lasts even through the longest shift. And ... I feel less guilty when I sleep in it. When in a pinch, the mineral veil provides the perfect touch-up and for a big night out, their face primer is a must.
Can you share any advice for women who are interested in the medical field?
The best advice I could give to a young woman deciding whether a medical career is in her future is to find to find a doctor and follow him or her around for a few days (obtain consent prior). After college while I was working in research, I was lucky to have a boss who was more than willing to allow me a glimpse into his day-to-day and also to get to know his family and personal life. I felt so invigorated and intrigued by his medical life and reassured by the balance in his personal life.
Last question: If you could only keep one pair of shoes from your closet, which ones would you choose and why?
If you had a snapshot of my closet—and I’m sort of happy you don’t (decompressing on the couch trumps organizing shoe bin nine out of 10 times)—you would notice a whole lot of neutral. I have to actively try to not buy nude shoes. For that reason, these floral-and-leopard-print shoes, which were a gift from my mom, would win. I never would have chosen them myself, and I am in love. As always, mom knows best.