Why Did I Go To Medical School? (Is Your Reason Good Enough?)

Why should you go to medical school? Why did I go to medical school? I’ve been giving tips for the past two years about med school on this website and the Youtube channel. But I haven’t shared my own reason. If you’re struggling to solidify your reason or just want to hear a different perspective, then that’s what this post is. I’ll allow myself to be a little vulnerable and tell you why I decided to go into medical school. Also, I’ll talk about how you can know if you should go to medical school. How do you know if your reason to go into medical school is good enough? That’s what we’ll go over in this post! If you want a video format, then check out the following YouTube video! Be sure to subscribe to the channel if you want weekly tips! Why Did I Go To Medical School? This question came from a reader so thank you for asking. If you want me to answer your questions in a post or video form, comment below or reach out to via email or social media! Alright, so why did I go to med school? To keep it as short and sweet, my immediate family had a lot of chronic and acute illnesses. I was in and out of the hospital system and the clinics a lot when I...

When It’s OK to Cancel Your Residency Interview

I have a good friend who applied to plastic surgery for residency. As is often the case for plastics, he applied to all 70-something programs in the country. He was a competitive applicant and ended up receiving multiple interviews. One night as I sat watching Monsters, Inc. for the third time in a month (I applied for pediatrics), he was frantically trying to book a flight from St. Paul to San Antonio. As he began to realize that this would not be possible without the use of time travel, he asked me: “Dude, Is it OK to cancel some of these residency interviews?” From firsthand experience, I can say that the answer is yes. Before I canceled my first interview, I was nervous that I was either going to alienate the program, fall in love with the program after I cancelled, or both. I spoke with a program director at my home institution and he gave me the following pearls of wisdom: Research the program in depth before you cancel to help affirm your decision that you are not missing the program of your dreams. If it truly sounds like a program you would be happy at, then keep the interview, but be honest with yourself. If you’re considering canceling the interview in the first place, it’s probably not the program for you.   There’s a belief that scheduling...

Residency Interview Questions: What to Ask and How to Prepare

One of the most exciting, exhilarating, and expensive endeavors of fourth year is the interview trail, in which aspiring residents will visit countless programs across the country in order to demonstrate their merit as a potential incoming intern. The interview is not only a chance to demonstrate that you are in fact as good as or better than your paper application, but also an opportunity to determine fit – do you fit in with the program and does the program’s philosophy fit your aspirations? Although the interview process will seemingly become easier as you progress along the trail, it will also become repetitive. You’ll be faced with the same standard questions: “tell me about yourself,” “why do you want to be a(n) [insert specialty of choice here],” “tell me about your research,” “tell me about a time when [insert ethical scenario here],” “why do you want to come to our program,” and “what questions do you have for me?” If you’re like me, you’ll likely have difficulty with that last question because there is so much to ask, so much that I wanted to know about a program, yet so little understanding of a good question to ask. It’s important to remember that, once you are invited for the interview, you are qualified for the position. You have passed the screening process, and you have what it takes to...

Applying the Philosophy of Ubuntu to Medicine

Ubuntu is a word that I formally learned in beginners Xhosa class and informally through the people in which I engaged. The direct translation of this Xhosa word is: I am because we are. It is a philosophy that encourages humanity and interconnectedness. Little did I know that when I signed up for beginners Xhosa class in order to greet the patients I would meet in the clinic, I would learn of a philosophy that could heal the US healthcare system. Interconnectedness of Diseases The complex reality is that diseases are not isolated medical problems. They are medical problems in the context of interconnected biological systems that construct the human body. When we focus on treating diseases in isolation, we get a myopic view of the problem and thus a partial solution. Interconnectedness of Determinants Much like America, South Africa is a country with diverse identities, a sensitive history, and an environment segregated by race and social status. And much like America, these factors complicate healthcare access, equity, and outcomes. Throughout my time working in and navigating medical spaces within historically complex cities, I have learned to comprehend human disease within a context that encompasses, rather than sequesters, social issues. Interconnectedness of Departments Specialization in medicine has fragmented patient care and created silos. Collective wisdom will help heal the fragmented health care system. Previously independent fields are now integrating...

7 Reasons Your Family Medicine Personal Statement Might Be a Failure

Most Medical schools do take family medicine personal statements very seriously. In fact, almost all of them are of the opinion that they are a good way to make student describe what they have learned from their hands on experience. This way it helps them see your level of commitment to your work. They expect a detailed and realistic view on the patients you have come in contact with and the valuable time spent at the hospital they worked. The experiences you gained before you got into medical school and the ones you got after usually state the kind of family doctor you are likely to be.  So in writing your family medicine personal statement essays do not forget to include your core values and key qualities. Also be specific about your specialty in Family Medicine and be sure to make your experiences reinforce them. The best residency personal statement takes into cognizance factors such as: – Why you are committed to this specialty – What you intend to achieve from this residency program – Your plans for the future – What you intend to bring into the program; skills, expertise and so on Documents Required for Residency Admission This program is a 5-year clinical program. It is divided into 6 categorical PGY 1 residents as well as 2 non designated preliminary PGY 1 residents that are usually matched...

Part 2: How Filming a Documentary prepared me for Medicine

#5 Be Curious Before an interview, I would prepare a list of questions that I should ask specifically for that interviewee. In the beginning, the back and forth of questions and answers were scripted at first then gradually improvised and tailored to what was revealed prior. The lesson here is to be prepared but also be adaptable. By being curious, you will get all of the answers you need. “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.” -William Osler  #6 Understand each piece of the puzzle One of the greatest responsibilities of a filmmaker is to serve as an advocate for each unique story so that it is holistically and accurately displayed. Documentary film as a medium allows one to showcase a representative experience. While the filmmaker presents the facts, the audience is left to make their own opinion. To do this with the utmost integrity, one must understand each voice in the choir. “The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.” -William Osler #7 What to keep and what to cut When creating a documentary, you have the choice of what story you want to tell. And when editing, you have the choice of what footage you want to show. This can be dangerous. There is a delicate balance of facts vs. opinions to maintain so the message won’t be misconstrued. Err...

Part 1: How Filming a Documentary Prepared me for Medicine

I embarked on unknown territory and began filming a documentary. During the process, it reminded me of the various intricacies of the role of a physician that I admire. Here are some things I learned from filming and how it applies to medicine.   #1 Be cognizant of your presence Depending on the shoot, you could be navigating places where you are technically not allowed to be (i.e. an operating room to film a surgery). In this space, be cognizant of yourself, your team, and your equipment. You will be disruptive no matter how discreet you try to be, so acknowledge that and be aware. “There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation…” -William Osler #2 Recognize the interviewees’ discomfort As we were setting up for an interview, it wasn’t lost on me that there were four additional people hovering, cameras positioned from various angles, lapel microphones, and extra wires throughout the room. As the director, I was reminded that within a foreign environment of technology and cords it was my responsibility to ensure that the interviewee was comfortable enough to share their vulnerability with me. While my team set up the equipment, I focused on talking to the interviewee and preparing them for what’s to come. Show some compassion and be patient. “Every patient you see is a lesson in much more than...

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