Medicine has a tendency to attract a certain demographic of people that share many qualities. They can be good or bad depending on the circumstances. It is the nature of the beast.
I have always held great respect for this field. Curiosity and interest led me here. I would like to believe I am a hard worker, dedicated to perfecting my craft, and have a hunger for knowledge. Beyond them there are of course other qualities like independence, leadership and compassion etc., qualities that we are all gifted with. It is only when you get into medicine that you realize that there are people who are even more qualified in these areas. I am always amazed by those around me.
To that end, I do not know if the qualities I possess are enough to succeed in this profession but I make do with what I have and do the best I can.
Why is medicine the right career path for me? That is a deeply personal question where the answer is a feeling. I feel it in my bones and in my heart and I cannot explain to you why it feels right. However, what I can tell you is why I continue: I continue in medicine because it is my passion, it is my dream. I continue because I promised my late father I would pursue that which makes me happy. I continue because losing my father to cancer means something to me.
I continue because I believe in myself.
Three years ago today, I personally had an experience with the final days of a man. I can still remember watching this once proud and grown man grow weak and frail as his cancer progressed. I remember this man being healthy only months before lying in a bed, eyes closed and lips pursed, wrestling internally with the rebellious cells of his body and the toxic therapy coursing through his veins. I remember refusing to give into the truth that lay before me.
That this man was my father.
I was inspired to do medicine from a young age. I was always kind of fascinated with the profession growing up. It appealed to my practical and problem solving nature; this grew as I became older. I had a deeper appreciation of patient care when I entered the pharmaceutical sciences. The biggest inspiration or rather driver was my father’s diagnosis of cancer and his passing. This was a significant event in my life and left me determined to pursue medicine both as a matter of personal interest but also as a promise to my father: to pursue the things that mattered to me the most and to live without regret.
Hm…I have never really looked at it that way before. I am sure everyone has their personal reasons. I think it is important to realize that while doctors and nurses work hand in hand with each other and with other professions in the health care system, everyone’s job is equally important when it comes to the care of the patient. We all must work as a unit.
Through the years, looking at things from a career perspective, one of the things that I really gravitated to is problem solving and looking at the big picture and figuring out the puzzle. In pharmacy, there was a problem solving component when it came to identifying a patient’s needs and figuring out the underlying issues surrounding their drug therapy. When it comes to medicine, there is that whole component of identifying conditions or reasons why a patient becomes ill and finding ways to solve that. Even nursing has a diagnostic and problem solving component to it when it comes to patient care and comfort.
Growing up, I was interested in medicine and just the whole patient care aspect; a lot of that interest was eventually built in my secondary school years, when I got to speak to a number of doctors. Those experiences influenced my desires to go into medicine. Another moment in time that influenced me to choose medicine was my father’s battle with colon cancer, which he lost a few short months after diagnosis. There are a lot of things I saw in that time that impressed upon me the complexity of the medical profession and reinforced my desires to become a doctor.
For your question about studying physiology, it really is quite a bit. I think it was one of the harder classes I had to take. What I ended up doing was making a lot of cue cards and flow charts. A lot of concepts in physiology work well to break down into smaller boxes of information and just work through independently. Things like fluid compartments and micturition, metabolism can be generally expressed into a flow chart. This not only simplifies things but helps you reorganize and digest the lectures.
I found those helpful but I admit that everyone studies a little differently so it might not work well for you but it is worth a try.
As for the second part of your question, I have sort of answered this in the previous response found here. As an applicant, I put medicine on hold not so much because of pressure but because I felt like I had under-performed in the MCAT and would have a low likelihood of success. This changed when my father passed away, mentioned here.
I have sort of answered the why but not so much the when. My interest in medicine goes back a long way to when I was kid. I grew up watching shows like Life in the E.R. and reading things on biology, physiology, and anatomy that kept me interested. As I got more exposure to it from volunteering in the hospitals and talking to doctors, I found it really appealed to my nature.
I would say that the interest started in my childhood and that solidified in my secondary school years.
I have already kind of answered this question before. The short version is that a childhood interest in the world of medicine grew to be an adult passion. Seeing a loved one pass away pushed me to pursue medicine full on, to do what I know deep down I love, to fulfill a promise of honesty to myself, and for the emotional closure that I may one day make a difference to help, treat or prevent illnesses like cancer that brought down my father.
Pharmacy was one of the most amazing experiences for me. I learned a lot about health care in general, developing a more informed perspective about what it means to be a health care professional during my time there. Besides the great working environment, I met so many amazing people in my class that I still keep in touch with every now and then. I would be lying if I said I never saw myself being a pharmacist. It was a great profession to be a part of.
To understand why I went into medicine I need to provide some background and some context. For most of my pre-university years, I wanted to go into medicine, an interest that was shared by my father who supported me through much of my education. When I took the MCAT the first time and did not have a fighting chance, I chose pharmacy, which I felt was an equally respectable and rewarding profession in health care; I was right.
However, having a childhood dream is something hard to give up so I planned to graduate a pharmacist before trying again to get into medicine. Half way through my first year in pharmacy, my father became incredibly ill and was quickly diagnosed with a stage IV colon cancer. When I received news that his condition was deteriorating much quicker than they predicted, I rushed home in time to spend some alone time with him. During that time, he hoped that I would pursue the things that made me happy and not to give up on those dreams.
After he passed away, I wanted to keep that promise and decided to push my original plans forward. I applied for medicine the following year in which I was accepted into the program.
So that is my story. There are a lot of factors that play a role in my decision. Even just seeing my father’s care had influences on my determination to keep a promise. However, that is the gist of it. Hope that answers your question. Cheers.