Saturday, November 11, 2006

How does this sound?

3. How and when did you become interested in medicine or the health profession to which you are applying? (“Why do you want to be a _____?” Go beyond “because I want to help people and like science”). Which branch of medicine are you currently interested in practicing? In what setting do you anticipate practicing?

When I started college I was undecided between psychology and biology with no real aspirations of medical school. I considered it above my academic ability and wrote it off. Fortunately though, one of the first classes I took freshman year was Human Biology and it really sparked my interest. When taking it I knew that I was only being taught the basics of human body and I found myself wanting to know more and more about its complexities. This by no means meant that I planning on applying to medical school. I had simply decided that I wanted to center my studies on human biology.

Later on in my freshman year I realized that I loved applying what I knew to problem solving situations. I guess it gives me a sense of satisfaction taking what I learned in the classroom and using it to answer someone’s questions or explain to someone what’s going on in their own body. It then occurred to me that I could actually make a living doing this. Medicine started to seem like the perfect fit for my interest since I could get paid for learning about what I liked and applying it to real life situations and seeing actual results from my treatment plan.

The summer following my freshman year I started getting some clinical experience to see if medicine is what I envisioned. My Physician Assistant Dermatologist offered the opportunity to shadow her in the practice to see what a typical day is like. After the first day I was hooked. Although I did not find dermatology all that exciting I still loved going into seeing patients hearing about their problems and trying to figure out in my head what was going one and what treatment would be right for them. That summer I learned a couple of important things. One, medicine was definitely the field I wanted to pursue. Two, I most likely wanted to go into a primary care field because they would see a wider variety of pathology, as opposed to specializing. Three, I wanted to become a physician as opposed to a physician assistant because physician assistants mainly see the same easier to treat problems.

Ever since that summer I’ve been doing my research on what to expect in medical school, residency and beyond. I’ve read all the horror stories and have had more than a couple of physicians try to talk me out of pursuing this career. But I’ve already accepted these hardships and feel like as long as I go into this field with the right reasons and mindset, then it is still all worth the effort. I feel that even with the long hours, incompliant patients and years of training this is still a field that I would really enjoy and do well in.

After doing some research and interning in a variety of different field I can see myself happiest in a primary care field, more specifically Internal Medicine. I think this is the area that best fits what I’m looking to get out of a career. I also can see myself working in a hospital setting as opposed to a private practice. A hospital would allow me more tools to do my job and also give me a better sense of continuity of care. Taking all of these things into consideration I see the job of being a Hospitalist (general medicine in-patient care specialist) to be the most appealing.

Note: I think I'm suppose to keep this to around 500. It's for my Pre-Health Professions Committee.


Anonymous said...

My two cents, as someone who does not know you and sits on the admission committee at my medical school: I think it is a good, honest statement and clearly shows that you have the best of intentions in your heart. (And yes, I know this is not your application statement, but this will inevitably be a basis for that statement) Just a few suggestions:

Don't say anything that could be construed as negative; turn it around a little. For example:
"no real aspirations of medical school. I considered it above my academic ability and wrote it off."--don't put yourself down like that! If you ever thought med school was above your ability enough to put in your statement, why should I think different? You can say you were unclear as to what path you would choose, but don't imply you aren't good enough to be a medical student, it just makes you seem negative!

"I did not find dermatology all that exciting"--what if someone reading your statement is (or is married to, parent of, etc) a dermatologist? I'd just rework that statement to read "After the first day I was hooked. I loved seeing patients, hearing about their problems and trying to figure out in my head what was going one and what treatment would be right for them,"

"Three, I wanted to become a physician as opposed to a physician assistant because physician assistants mainly see the same easier to treat problems."--again with the possibilty to potentially insult someone--I am sure a lot of PAs consider their job challenging and would not appreciate some undergrad calling their job "easy." (Again, I am on the med school admission committee, and I was a PA before I bacame a physician, so I speak from first hand experience--I found this statement a little brash. You never know who is reading this!) IMHO, just leave the whole PA mention out of it altogether--just say you shadowed in a dermatology office and leave it at that.

"I’ve read all the horror stories"-- First of all, you haven't read ALL the horror stories and second, it is best not to mention horror in relation with the medical profession into anything to do with you application to med school, the pre-prof committee, etc. Just be a bit more gentle: "I have tried to get a thorough understanding of what become a physician entails, both the challenging aspects of the training process as well as the eventual rewards...." you get the idea. It makes it seem as though you've done your homework and are still ready to jump right in.

"I could get paid for learning about what I liked"--just leave money out of it at this stage in the game. We all know you guys are thinking about it, but it is poor form to start mentioning money even in a vague sense.

I really liked your last paragraph. You have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this, and I honestly wish you all the best!! :) (And I clearly love editing creative writing!) :)

Pending, P.A. said...

Wow, thank you so much. You have no idea how thrilled I was to get such constructive criticism.

You're 100% right. I def should leave those things out and was probably a little too honest with my thoughts. :-/

Thanks a ton!

PS - no offense meant, but I'm sure you knew that.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was going to add a comment but 'anonymous' hit on each and every point that I was going to make.

I also sit on the admission committee at my medical school and agree that yours is an honest and clear statement. And I enjoyed reading your 'history' because I travelled the same path (starting in psychology, taking an introductory biology course ... and the rest is history).

Good luck in your applications to medical school.

Kungfukitten said...

Yeah, anonymous pretty much nailed anything I was going to say and in a nice and constructive manner. Start out by telling them what your passion is, I love how you initially got interested from a human biology class and wanted to know more, so start with that and show how your interest grew and turned into a desire for medical school. I would never let them know that you were unsure about medical school - instead lay out how your interest grew and then sell yourself. Why are you a good candidate? You're smart! You love this stuff! You are compassionate about people and want to help them solve their problems! These are all good things about you that mesh with becoming a doctor. That's my three or four cents.