Former BRG security guard returns to hospital for medical school
BATON ROUGE - He was once a hospital security guard in Baton Rouge and now, he is walking down the same hallways in a white coat.
34-year-old Russell Ledet is from Lake Charles. He joined the navy before coming to Southern University for his undergrad in chemistry and biology. That’s when he got a job as a security guard at Baton Rouge General, not knowing he would end back up there as a medical student seven years later.
Under the same fluorescent lights and reflective hospital floors, Ledet remembers why he first walked into the mid-city campus at BRG back in 2009.
“My wife and I had a newborn coming and I was an undergrad but I was also in the reserves but the reserves doesn’t pay that much. And so I needed a job,” Ledet said.
That job, patrolling the halls, and keeping an eye on doctors, patients and their visitors, eventually led to a curiosity of what was happening behind those doors, which turned into a passion.
“I had an idea that I wanted to be a physician. Although, I knew it was really a long shot. Once I got to college and I started to get some mentors, I had some people that started depositing in me, positive energy, and information to help me understand I was capable of becoming a physician. But I still thought it was a long shot,” Ledet said.
The head of security at the hospital and Ledet’s former boss, Kevin Greenhouse, knew he had the dedication when he first started working. Greenhouse would catch Ledet studying chemistry note cards during his shift.
“Well there was a few occasions which Russell had to be reminded that he had to be focused on the duty at hand,” Greenhouse said. “But we understood what he was trying to pursue but we also had to keep him focused.”
Ledet would shadow under two doctors at BRG before graduating from Southern. He then left for New York to get his Ph.D. from NYU.
Now, Ledet is back in Louisiana attending Tulane University for his MD and MBA. And coming full circle in his journey, he’s now back at the same hospital he used to protect.
“The idea of coming back, not only to Louisiana, not only to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But to come back to Baton Rouge General and be able to take care of patients here. Right now, I'm on the pediatrics rotation. But before this, I was on surgery. To walk into the OR and have a scrub tech ask me ‘what is your glove size,’ it was just eye-opening but also humbling,” Ledet said.
He also says he’s grateful for the mentors and those who have helped him along the way. Most, like Greenhouse, isn’t surprised where he is.
“I’m proud of him, I knew he was going to be successful,” Greenhouse said.
When reflecting upon the past decade of his life, Ledet says he now has a different reason why he walks through the same door that he did when his reality was just a daydream.
“I always say that treating a patient is a privilege. Because they’re giving you an opportunity to monitor the one entity they can’t replace which is life,” Ledet said.
Ledet says he is expecting to finish his MD and MBA in about a year. After that, he says he’ll likely enroll in a triple residency for pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. He’s also the founder of an organization called The 15 White Coats which helps to inspire children to follow their own dreams.
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