Looking at emergency medicine personal statement samples can be very useful when preparing your residency applications. Your personal statement is one of the most challenging components of the ERAS or CaRMS residency applications, but it is also one of the most important ones. Especially when you consider the fact that emergency medicine is one of the most competitive residencies. Your residency personal statement is a one-page essay that is supposed to tell the residency directors who you are, why you've chosen to pursue your chosen medical specialty - which in this case is emergency medicine - and why you are a good fit it. This blog will give you some tips for writing a strong personal statement and share five different winning emergency medicine personal statement samples that you can use as a frame of reference as you prepare for residency applications.
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What is the purpose of a personal statement?
If you want to write a compelling residency personal statement, you need to understand what this document is supposed to achieve. Your personal statement should highlight the "why" behind your decision to apply to a particular residency program. Essentially, you want your statement to answer the following three questions:
We know that it sounds like a lot of information to fit in a one-page essay. It can be challenging to get right, but it is doable. Take a look at the emergency medicine personal statement samples below and pay attention to the way that the candidates answer these questions in their essays.
Emergency Medicine Personal Statement Sample #1
On the second day of my medical school rotations, one of the attendings pointed at me and said, "Now he looks like an ER doc." I laughed because I was not surprised at all. I have always gravitated toward Emergency Medicine because it fits my personality. I am naturally energetic and drawn to a high-paced environment.
I have been convinced that Emergency Medicine is the right fit for me since my first year of medical school, and I got to put my theory to the test during my Emergency Medicine rotation. In the space of a week, we saw gunshot wounds, infections, overdoses, broken bones, common colds, and motor vehicle accidents. At first, I wasn't sure I would be able to keep up with the pace of the trauma bay, but I thrived on it.
The doctors, nurses, and auxiliary staff all worked together like a well-oiled machine. It reminded me of my dynamic with my teammates on the school volleyball team when I completed my undergraduate studies. We all had a common goal on the volleyball team, and we all used our individual strengths to work towards that goal. It didn't matter who scored the winning point because we all knew that the person who did couldn't have done it if the rest of the team didn't play their part.
My ability to remain calm under pressure and be quick on my feet had always helped me on the volleyball court, and it came in handy again in the ER. It allowed me to take a step back, figure out where I could be most helpful, and step in when needed. I remember a particular instance where a little girl who needed stitches kept wiggling around and trying to run every time she saw the needle. I was observing, along with a few of my classmates, and it occurred to me that this little girl was just scared and needed to be distracted. The resident who was stitching her up tried to make her comfortable, but the kid couldn't see past the needle in her hand. So, I spoke to her. I asked her how she got her cut, and our conversation started from there. She was more relaxed and open to getting her stitches within a few minutes.
By the time I finished all of my medical school rotations, I knew that I had been right about emergency medicine being right for me. Not only because it's a specialty that requires physicians who are decisive team players like myself, but also because it is the only specialty that allows me to use the full breadth of my skills and medical knowledge. Each patient encounter in the ER can bring anything from a difficult diagnosis, a time-sensitive life-saving intervention, a chance to work with my hands, and the chance to connect with a patient who just needs to talk to a doctor who will listen.
As Emergency Medicine physicians, we take care of everyone, from children and the elderly; and we get to treat everything, from broken bones to appendicitis. We have to be "jacks of all trades," which is perfect for lifelong learners like myself who continuously strive to develop their skills.
While in medical school, I completed a part-time paramedic program at X College. Since graduating three months ago, I have been volunteering as a paramedic at my local community center. Recently, during one of my shifts, a young woman fell from her bike and received a deep laceration just above her left eyebrow. I was able to clear her cervical spine and attend to her bleeding forehead right away. It was the first time I had to deal with an emergency situation by myself, and my instincts kicked in right away. It was only after the woman was taken care of that I realized what had happened. I remember feeling a deep sense of accomplishment at being the person that can be depended on in a crisis.
As I write to you today, I wholeheartedly believe that Prof. X was right about me being an "ER doc". The field's pace and acuity fit my personality perfectly, and I know that with training from the right program, I can become a great emergency physician. I hope to learn from some of the best emergency physicians in the country so that I, too, can be a safety net for my community and someone that a family member, a friend, or a stranger can rely upon in time of need.
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Emergency Medicine Personal Statement Sample #2
A few weeks ago, I celebrated my upcoming medical school graduation by purchasing a 7500-piece jigsaw puzzle. It is the biggest puzzle I have ever attempted to solve, and I can't wait to get started. See, the thing is that solving puzzles of any sort makes me happy. It is one of the many reasons I hope to have a long and rewarding career as an emergency physician.
As a third-year medical student, several factors motivated me to choose a residency in emergency medicine. During my clerkship, I got to experience the fast-paced, unpredictable nature of the emergency room. I quickly found a mentor in one of the attendings that I worked with. His breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and calm efficiency - even when all hell seemed to be breaking loose around us - showed me how challenging emergency medicine could be. My interest was certainly piqued, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know.
I especially enjoyed the challenges of the undifferentiated patient. Often in the emergency room, you are the first to assess and treat a patient who's come in with little more than a chief complaint. You, therefore, have to start the process of diagnosing them from the very beginning. I loved the challenge of being faced with a set of symptoms and having to identify their common etiology.
That said, the most gratifying part for me was the interactions that I had with my patients. Behind all the symptoms that I was presented with were real people from all walks of life. I specifically remember a 62-year-old man who had been brought in after losing consciousness, falling in his kitchen, and getting a deep laceration on his forehead. He was presenting with vertigo and showing symptoms of malnutrition. While I attended to his bleeding forehead, we got to talking, and he explained to me how he had recently lost his wife and had been on a juice fast so that he could try to live longer. I was able to have a conversation with him and advise him on the kind of diet that was better suited for him.
I pride myself on my ability to quickly build rapport with people, especially patients. It is a skill that has always served me well, but it had never felt so useful as it did in the emergency room. Every patient has a story, and sometimes part of treating them is taking a few minutes to ask the right questions and make them feel heard. I was honestly surprised to learn that immersing myself in the unpredictable nature of the emergency room did not mean that I had to interact less with patients. On the contrary, I feel like I got a chance to connect with more people during my emergency medicine rotation than on any other service.
It taught me that emergency physicians wear many different hats throughout the day, and depending on the situation, they can call on various aspects of their medical training. Some cases require the kind of patience and bedside manner that people typically associate with internal and family medicine, while others need a physician who is as quick, decisive, and creative as a trauma surgeon. You never know which hat you will need to wear until your patient is in front of you, and then you simply have to adapt so that you can provide them with the best care possible.
For these reasons, a career in emergency medicine would satisfy my curiosity, constant need to be challenged, and need to connect with patients. I know that I have the skills and the drive required to pursue my training and become a competent emergency physician. Leading a musical band has taught me the importance of communication and shown me that while I am capable of working on my own, I enjoy being a part of a team, and I know how to reach out for assistance when need be.
I look forward to joining a residency program that will help me develop my medical skills and that values patient care and will help me achieve my goal of becoming a caring, competent emergency physician.
Emergency Medicine Personal Statement Sample #3
When I was a child, my mother often asked me what I wanted to become when I grew up, and up until high school, the answer was never a doctor. My parents are both family physicians, as are my grandmother and my oldest sister. No one ever said anything to me, but I always assumed they wanted me to follow in their footsteps. And I felt like although I didn't want to be, I was different from them because I had no desire to pursue a career in medicine at all.
That said, when you grow up in a house full of physicians, you learn a few things without knowing it. I found that out during a camping trip with my 7th-grade class when one of my friends had an allergic reaction, and we couldn't find an adult to help. Ms. XY was in the bathroom for a maximum of five minutes, but it felt like hours for us as we watched our friend break out in hives and struggle to breathe. I decided to call my mum instead of waiting for our teacher. Whenever she tells this story, she insists that I sounded like an intern on her first day when she picked up, and I said: "X seems to be reacting to something, we are not sure what it is, but she has raised patches of skin all-over her neck and her pulse feels slower than it should be. She needs Epi, right?"
This was not a ground-breaking diagnosis, by any means but it was my first time dealing with someone who was having an allergic reaction. I remember feeling a sense of pride at the fact that I had been level-headed enough to take note of the symptoms that my friend was having and seek help and communicate effectively. After confirming that my classmate did indeed need a shot from an epi-pen, so I went to get one from Ms. X, and she administered the shot.
Even though I had a few experiences of this nature, I was still going back and forth between four different professions, and I could not decide on one. First, I wanted to be a chemist, then a teacher, then a therapist, and then a police officer, and back and forth. It was my guidance counselor in high school that helped me figure out that the right medical career could combine all the things that I love about the professions I grappled with.
I didn't believe her at first, but she was right. After a few conversations with her on the topic, I finally started looking into the different fields that medical doctors can work in. I read an article describing emergency physicians as decisive jacks of all trades, who thrive in high-energy, fast-paced environments, and it felt like they were describing me. That was when my interest in emergency medicine was piqued.
It turned into a mission during my first week of clinical rotations when I worked in the emergency room and loved every minute of it. Every single day in the x general hospital emergency department, I saw at least one gunshot wound, a person with one or multiple broken bones, a motor vehicle accident, and a person whose medical condition is nonurgent. On many days, we had to treat several of those cases simultaneously.
My time at X general hospital confirmed that emergency medicine could give me a platform to do everything I love about the other professions I had considered. As an emergency physician, I get to be on the front lines and occasionally provide preventive care. I also have to listen to my patients and make sure they feel heard and understood, all while teaching them how to take care of their bodies in order to heal correctly.
Now, I can think of no better place to spend my professional career than the emergency department, and I know that with the right training, I will be able to provide my patients with the best care possible because that is exactly what every single patient deserves.
Want an overview of the tips that we cover later in this blog? Check out this infographic:
Emergency Medicine Personal Statement Sample #4
I didn't always want to be an emergency medicine physician. Actually, when I was in elementary school, I remember telling my dad that I wanted to be an engineer because someone had said to me that they fixed broken things, and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I wanted to fix broken things and make people happy. It wasn't until much later that I realized that medicine allows you to do something far cooler, in my opinion: fix people's bodies.
While in college, I got the opportunity to explore the intense, fast-paced world of critical care through an internship. Within a few months of working as a scribe at the X medical center emergency department, I fell in love with emergency medicine. I worked the same hours as some doctors and saw the same number of patients they saw. As I transcribed their medical decision-making, I would imagine myself in their shoes and wonder how I would react to similar situations. The time that I spent in that emergency department gave me an in-depth look at what being an emergency room physician means daily. I got to see them be radiologists, intensivists, orthopedists, and so much more. I admired the physicians who worked in the Emergency Department and loved that they got to wear so many different hats on a given day.
Some days were busy from the moment I came in for my shift to when I would leave to go home. Other days were so quiet that I could actually study for my MCAT right in the middle of the emergency room. The calm rarely lasted long, though, and I always looked forward to the next patient because you never knew what to expect. Sometimes it was a child with a broken bone or a pregnant woman with vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. Other times it was a drunken man who wanted to tackle everybody in his way or a police officer with a gunshot wound. I found myself excited to get to work, and I just knew that emergency medicine was the perfect specialty for me. It promised to give me a platform to make medical decisions, use the full breadth of the skills I would have as a doctor, be hands-on with my patients, and experience something different every day.
There was no doubt in my mind that emergency medicine was right for me, but I was yet to figure out whether I was a good fit for emergency medicine. When I finally got into medical school, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the qualities that I was told a good emergency physician should have. I knew that I was a good team player because I have been part of a team my whole life. As one of the founding members of a small African dance group in my city, I have always taken the opportunity to be both a leader and a team member in great stride, and we have danced together for thirteen years now. My time as president of the Pre-med Student Union at X university taught me that sometimes you have to take control, and other times, you have to ask for help and work with others. I now know how o recognize those times, and I feel comfortable in both situations.
By my third year of medical school, I was more confident in my skills, and I started to believe that I am well suited to be an emergency physician. On one particular day, I was in the residence cafeteria when a small fire broke out, and chaos erupted around me. I didn't have to think about my actions; I just knew that I needed to remain calm, look for the nearest exit, and help as many people as possible get there. One of my classmates thanked me when we got outside and told me that I was very calm under pressure, a quality that I did not realize I possessed but looking back, I could see right away that she was right. I have always thrived under pressure. I can keep a level head in busy, fast-paced environments and focus on the task I have in front of me.
This theory was tested when I saw my first patient on the first shift of my first emergency medicine rotation. I had arrived five minutes before my shift to get acclimated to the department that I would be working in that day. Right behind me were paramedics, bringing in a two-month-old male who was hypothermic, hypotensive, and barely breathing. I watched in awe as the entire medical team coordinated to intubate, place a peripheral line, administer medications, and work to save this infant's life. Everyone worked together like it was a choreographed dance, and I was able to step back, look for the place where I'd be most helpful, and jump in. I helped one of the residents run the labs, and within an hour, the little boy was stabilized and on his way to the intensive care unit.
I went home many hours and patients later, still thinking about that little boy and how the emergency team's quick and coordinated efforts potentially saved his life. Each day after that, I continued to learn. I learned during my rotations on other services and in medical school. Now, I hope to get the chance to learn from one of the best residency programs in the country so that one day, I, too, can be a part of a coordinated effort to save lives as a skilled emergency medicine physician.
Emergency Medicine Personal Statement Sample #5
I am the youngest of nine children and my parent’s only daughter, so I am used to commotion, and I have learned to thrive within it. When I was growing up, our house was only quiet in the dead of night, and even then, my older brothers would sometimes be playing around in the basement. By the time I was in high school, I'd gotten so used to the chaos around me that very little could break my concentration. I am very aware of my surroundings, but I've learned to decipher what requires my attention and what doesn't. My partner often refers to it as my superpower, and I guess it is in some ways.
This superpower served me well when I first moved to the United States at the age of sixteen and had to spend most of my free time studying. I was able to study in the busy cafeteria during lunch period and in loud classrooms during free periods. I even managed to do my homework in the stands at football games while my brother was playing on a few occasions. I grew up in France, so moving to America meant learning a new curriculum in a language that I did not speak very well at the time. The first few weeks were challenging, but once I figured out how to use my superpower to put in more study hours, I started making progress. Eventually, I graduated in the top 25% of my class.
I approach everything that I do with this same dedication and work ethic. I did it throughout my undergrad years, when I worked as a teacher's assistant, ran track for the school team, and completed my degree in biotechnology. I also did it in medical school, where I discovered that I genuinely enjoy teaching by offering tutoring lessons. I plan to continue in this way during my residency and during what I will work to ensure is a long and fulfilling career.
I believe that my perseverance and passion will help me along the way as I train to become a doctor, but it is because of my curiosity, compassion, and love for the field that I know that with the proper training, I can be a great emergency physician. When I was in primary school, we had a career day, and one of my classmates' friends came in and told us all about his work as an ER doctor. He talked about how he got to heal kids and adults who were hurting, and then he gave us lollipops and told us that if we worked hard, we could do it too. I was sold! At the dinner table that evening, I explained to my family that I was going to become a doctor. They all assumed it was because of the lollipop, but my interest had just been piqued, and the more I've learned about medicine since then, the more I've wanted to know.
I had always been drawn to emergency medicine because of the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of the emergency room. During my clerkship, I got to learn more about the core specialties in medicine, and I confirmed that emergency medicine was perfect for me. One of the attendings that I worked with in the ER told me that "emergency doctors are people who just like doing things, all the time." She told me that she knew it was right for her when she realized that she was just as comfortable around big scary things like traumas and codes as when dealing with children with appendicitis.
Her words stayed with me because they described precisely how I felt during my time in the emergency room. I loved the diversity in patients' presentations—surgical, medical, social, psychiatric, etc. I loved being required to think on my feet and act quickly to provide lifesaving or limb-saving care at a moment's notice.
Emergency medicine is the perfect platform for me to utilize my superpower, work ethic, and passion for medicine to provide patient care in an environment that is almost reminiscent of the home I grew up in. I cannot imagine a more fulfilling career path for myself.
Five Tips for a strong personal statement
1. Start early
Writing a residency personal statement, especially for a competitive field like emergency medicine, is not something that you can rush through. We recommend that you give yourself at least six to eight weeks to brainstorm, write, edit and polish your personal statement. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to review your statement and get a second pair of eyes to look at it to ensure it is as compelling as possible. You do not want to be scrambling at the last minute and end up with a subpar essay because you waited until the last minute to get the job done.
2. Structure/plan your essay first
The key to an excellent personal statement is preparation. You should take the time to brainstorm and plan the structure of your essay for two reasons: First, because having a structure will guide you and keep you on track as you write. Secondly, because we tend to get attached to our work, and if we get to a point where we realize that the flow of the personal statement is off, it is harder to delete a whole paragraph than it is to just rewrite a few sentences. We suggest that you brainstorm first. Think about the questions that we mentioned earlier and write down your answers to those questions, as well as any memorable experiences that have contributed to your decision to become a physician.
4. Stay true to yourself
Students often make the mistake of writing what they think the program directors want to hear instead of the truth. This usually backfires because it can end up sounding cliché and generic, but also because it will likely not be consistent with the rest of your application. Your personal statement should be about you and your suitability for the residency program. So, be honest and don't try to fabricate your statement or exaggerate your experiences. Instead, tell the residency program directors about your exposure to medicine, what you've learned, and how your experiences led to you wanting to pursue this vocation.
Have you started preparing for your residency interviews? This video is for you:
5. Seek feedback
It's not enough to make statements about yourself. If you want to write a compelling statement, you need to back your claims up with specific examples or short anecdotes. Not only do people tend to remember such things more, but it is just a more impactful way to write. For example, instead of saying, "I am good at handling stress," you could say, "My role as the oldest sister of five children has often tested my ability to handle stressful situations." The second sentence is more memorable, and if you followed it up with an anecdote about one of those stressful situations, it would be even more impactful. It shows the directors that you have experience dealing with stressful situations, and it also gives them some new information about your background.
1. How long should a personal statement be?
Your residency personal statement shouldn't be longer than one page unless otherwise specified. You should aim for an essay that is between 650 and 800 words.
2. What should I talk about in my personal statement?
Your personal statement should tell the program directors why you've chosen to pursue your specialty, why you're suited for it, and their program.
3. How important is the personal statement for your residency application?
They are an essential part of your residency application as they give you a chance to tell the program directors why you are a good fit for your chosen field and their program in your own words. You should definitely not underestimate their importance.
4. Should my personal statement be addressed to specific residency programs?
While you can certainly send different versions of your personal statement to different programs, we do not recommend that you address them to any program in particular because this would mean writing several different personal statements. Instead, focus on writing personal statements that are tailored to specific specialties.
5. Should I address any areas of concern, gaps, or red flags in my personal statement?
That depends on the concern in question. You should only discuss issues that you haven't addressed in other application components and that are relevant to the rest of your statement. If you address any red flags, make sure you demonstrate maturity and honesty by taking ownership of the problem and explaining how you've learned and grown from your mistakes.
6. Is emergency medicine a competitive residency specialty?
Yes. Emergency medicine is one of the most competitive residencies, so you need to ensure your residency application is compelling if you want to secure a spot in a top program.
7. Do I have to write a personal statement for every program I'm applying for?
No, you do not. Most students apply to 15 - 30 residency programs in one application cycle, so writing a letter for each one is simply not feasible. Instead, you should write a letter for each specialty that you are considering.
8. How do you write a strong residency personal statement?
You can write a strong personal statement if you take the time to brainstorm and plan for your essay early, use specific examples in your writing, and seek feedback from experts.
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