My fourth story is about a young physician. Below are her words, used with permission, when applying to our Internal Medicine Residency. For any physician reading this, if you would like your story shared (known or anonymously) please message me. I have stories of physicians when they were applying to medical school and IM residency. I will gladly share stories from any field of medicine/surgery! I feel very strongly that medicine is taking a beating from a PR standpoint and yet the physicians I know and train continue to epitomize the heart of a physician.
Young people are giving up their 20's to study 50-70 additional hours a week to consume, digest, and understand the scope of information presented to them during their classes. They continue long hours of training by working alongside physicians who encourage, critique, and set high expectations of learning and performance. They leave the office/hospital to go home and read about the things they saw that day. I work with some of the most motivated people in the world! They have the heart to serve others, they care about people, they envision excelling in their field. 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, 3-7 years of residency training-- #trainingofaphysician just to be ready to take care of us.
I hope you enjoy reading this physician's statement when applying for residency.
"In April in the early 2000s, one month before my medical school graduation and two weeks before my 27th birthday, my life changed forever. It was early one rainy weekend morning, driving home from an overnight call when I lost control of my car. Strapped inside, my car spun around countless times then hydroplaned into a canal along the Florida Turnpike. Suddenly, murky cold water rapidly started filling up the car. For a few seconds I was in shock, but fortunately, I did not lose consciousness. I noticed my driver’s side window had dropped into the door panel during impact, so I was able to get out once I released my seatbelt. I doggy-paddled across the alligator-infested canal water and pulled myself up onto the bank. As I turned around, I saw my car become completely submerged underwater. Those few minutes at that mile marker will stay with me for the rest of my life. Since then, I am asked everyone, “How did (I) get out of the car?” The question I find more intriguing is WHY was I able to get out of the car? My answer is simple. I was not meant to die that day. I believe I survived that day because I have a greater purpose to fulfill. What greater purpose is there than helping my fellow man through the practice of medicine?
To be a good internist, one must be able to adapt. The ability to remain flexible is a mainstay in my life. I was a non-traditional medical school applicant. I envisioned a business degree would provide me with the foundation needed in the future to manage my practice. After my sophomore year in undergraduate school, I knew medicine was the career for me, as I wanted to care for people who are ill and hurting as a physician.
In my opinion, internal medicine is the most cerebral of all medical specialties. Medical patients intrigue me from the initial history and physical exam to the investigation of their workup, and finally, the instant gratification of successful treatment. I appreciate the comprehensive scope of medical knowledge an internist must master. She must be able to function not only as a good listener but also as a cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, pharmacologist, investigator, and patient educator. She must have a command of both the normal state of health and understand how this physiology can go awry. Internists can treat patients with both acute and chronic medical conditions, patients both stable and critical, from young adults to the elderly, with no one patient alike. As a primary care physician, she must be familiar with the capabilities and limitations of her field and know when to consult other physicians. She must have a heart for people.
I am invigorated rather than intimidated by the commitment to lifelong learning required of this specialty. In no other specialty have I found trust between the patient and doctor to be as central as in Internal Medicine. I enjoy asking questions, compiling a list of differential diagnoses, and having the benefit of being the first one to make a diagnosis. After seeing firsthand the importance of teamwork and communication, I want a residency training program with a commitment to patient care, ethical standards, and expected work ethic that I also embrace. As someone who has stared death right in the eye, I am committed more than ever to providing the best medical care."