Today, Holmström goes the extra mile for her medical students and residents by sharing with them “pearls of wisdom” and teaching strategies she learned from Kellner and Patrick Duff, M.D., UF College of Medicine associate dean for student affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
“When a student responded to a question with a wrong answer, Dr. Duff would say, ‘Well, that’s an answer to a different question’ to make sure students didn’t feel embarrassed,” Holmström says. “I aim to help guide the next generation of physicians to use patient-centered care and shared decision making, creating physicians who can empathize with patients and take good care of them without judging them.”
Duff says of his former student, “Shelly never missed a question during conferences and was always a model student. She has continued to excel as a leader and role model during her career in obstetrics and gynecology. She is a superb representative of the UF College of Medicine.”
In her clinical practice as an OB-GYN with the USF Physicians Group, Holmström enjoys a continuity of care with her patients. As an OB-GYN consultant for Suncoast Community Health Centers and Hillsborough County Jail, she treats women often at high risk of pregnancy complications or other health issues. When any of her patients seem worried or anxious, especially before a potentially painful procedure, Holmström guides them through one of the tenets of meditation and mindfulness: focusing on one’s breath.
“I try to treat patients as if they were my own family members, with great respect and empathy,” she says.
As the District XII chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG,) Holmström advocates for her fellow OB-GYNs and their patients to help women achieve affordable, equitable and accessible health care.
“I became a member of ACOG during my third year of residency, and I’ve been involved in meetings on a leadership level ever since. It’s truly an honor,” she says.
Medicine has been a focus of Holmström’s since she was four years old, when she received a doctor’s kit as a present and subsequently performed wellness checks and procedures on all of her stuffed animals. Though it’s her life’s passion, she recognizes that medicine alone will not create a healthy lifestyle. After a knee injury prevented her from continuing to run marathons, Holmström completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training, which will keep her busy when, one day in the distant future, she hangs up her white coat for good.
“One of my ultimate goals is to retire on a beach and teach yoga,” she says. “It’s such a great feeling to move your body and exert yourself through exercise, and it’s a way for your mind and your body to destress.”