Reviewing plastic surgery is a great way to get some inspiration as you start to . Your personal statement is the only application component that allows you to essentially plead your case and tell the residency program directors why you deserve a spot in their program in your own words. So, it is imperative that you take the time to write a compelling essay that will not only tell your story, but also showcase your skills and passion for your chosen specialty.
This is not easy to do in a one-page essay, mainly because it is difficult to talk about oneself positively without sounding overconfident and address weaknesses in a way that still shows that you are a strong candidate. Additionally, most students understand how much weight residency personal statements carry in the or matching process, which adds an extra layer of anxiety.
Reviewing examples gives you a better idea of the type of structure you are expected to follow, the information you need to provide in your essay, and how you can go about sharing that information. In this blog, we'll give you some tips for writing a strong personal statement and share four different winning plastic surgery personal statement samples that you can use as a frame of reference as you prepare to write your own.
I've wanted to become a surgeon since I watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy in which one of the doctors had to perform reconstructive surgery on a patient injured in the line of duty. I should mention that I now know that although very entertaining, Grey's Anatomy is not exactly accurate in its portrayal of surgery or residency. Still, I was intrigued!
In high school and college, I studied hard to ensure that I had the grades and knowledge base needed for medical school. Outside of class, I spent my free time working toward my goal of becoming a surgeon one day. I joined the premed student union so that I could interact and learn from my peers, played sports to make sure I was fit enough to go through long surgeries and practiced several different stitches that I learned from Youtube grapes and bananas.
Unfortunately, my graduation from undergrad was also the day after my mother started her chemotherapy. She battled breast cancer while I was in high school, but this time it was back, and it was violent. She underwent a mastectomy and started her chemotherapy within a few weeks of getting her diagnosis, and as you are likely well aware, medical care is not cheap. I decided to put my dream of going to medical school on hold and start working so that I could help with my family's financial situation. That is how I ended up spending the last seven years working in Marketing.
I am grateful that I could take that path, as it allowed me to make my mother's last few years on earth a bit more comfortable. I especially remember those few months when she was in remission, and she got her breast reconstruction surgery. She told me about the difference that this surgery made for her and how it made her feel like herself again. I saw it in her demeanor and the pep that was back in her step. That period did not last long, and my mother passed away two years later, but the impact of her plastic surgeon's work on her life always stayed with me.
So, when I finally reached the level of success that I had spent almost a decade working towards and realized that I was not intellectually challenged or emotionally fulfilled, I went back to the drawing board and wondered if it was too late to pursue my dream of becoming a surgeon. This time, I knew I wanted to be a plastic surgeon. I longed for a profession that would allow me to apply my full abilities, solve complex problems with meaningful outcomes, be creative, and help others feel better about themselves. It is with this in mind that I chose to return to school and pursue my first dream of becoming a medical doctor.
From the very first day of medical school, I felt like I was picking up right where I had left off but with a new skill set. Working on different marketing campaigns for various demographics has made me more culturally sensitive, having to meet deadlines constantly has helped me improve my organization and time management skills, and being part of a large team has taught me how to communicate better. Additionally, taking care of my mother made me more empathetic and understanding of patients' families. To sum up, while my journey to plastic surgery has been somewhat unconventional, I believe that my experiences have prepared me for a career as a plastic surgeon in a way that my initial plan couldn't have.
I am ready, excited, and prepared to take the next step in my journey and continue my training to become a great plastic surgeon one day who will hopefully help another girl's mother feel like themselves again.
Wondering what it takes to become a plastic surgeon? Check this out:
Once, I saw a little girl whose hand had every little finger adhered to her palm except for the extended third digit. I examined her severe burn injuries as the plastic surgery attending discussed how we would fix the damage. After several contracture releases, K-wires, and skin grafts, I was excited to realize that she would eventually regain the function of her hand. This happened during the first week of my clerkships in the third year of medical school, and I still remember feeling energized because I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for.
Surgery was compelling to me as soon as I began my clerkship. I loved the thrilling and fast-paced environment of the Operating Room, and how it required me to use my hands. My father was very handy, and when I was younger, I often helped my dad with everything from plumbing to landscaping and auto-body work. Eventually, as I grew up, I began taking up my own projects like building and designing my own bookshelves, and teaching a free craftsmanship class at the local community center. During my rotations, my need for attention to detail and precision was thoroughly satisfied through cleft lip and hand repairs, flap designs, soft tissue transplants, and aesthetic surgeries, among other procedures. It helped me understand that Plastic Surgery is an art, and for me, it is the culmination of my interests in medicine and craftsmanship.
My goal has always been to exceed all expectations in what I choose to do. My parents overcame impossible obstacles and the loss of a child on their way to the land of opportunity - a country I am proud to call home. I grew up listening to their stories of survival and learning the value of humility, drive, and hard work. Now, I am determined to use those values in my pursuit of becoming a great plastic surgeon, like all the physicians I have met in the field thus far.
I am looking for a program with talented faculty, good exposure to a variety of topics in plastic surgery, and well-rounded education. Exposure to research in the field is also important to me because I intend to continue pursuing research projects in the future. My prior research experiences have been in cancer. Although scientifically fascinating, I realized during a summer internship at XYZ medical center that it was an area that I was not passionate about. I look forward to pursuing research in my chosen field as a plastic surgeon.
I am especially interested in the research that is currently being conducted on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. I have been volunteering in the burn unit of my local hospital for a few months. I often think about the fact that these patients will carry a scar as a reminder of one of the scariest experiences a person could have, and for the rest of their lives. It motivates me to not only work harder to help the doctors who are attending to them currently, but it also makes me want to join the efforts of the plastic surgeons who are looking for ways to improve the way that we treat burned skin at this time.
I am ready and eager to work hard and develop my talents so that I may use them to discover and become the exceptional plastic surgeon I strive to be one day, and I know that with the right training, I can get there while contributing to the communities around me as I have been doing most of my life. I ask that you give me the opportunity to do so in your excellent program.
"I want to be either a surgeon or an artist". That was my exact response when my guidance counselor asked me what career I wanted to pursue. I remember the look of confusion on her face and the many questions that followed. At the time, I didn't know how to answer them. All I know is that I was fascinated by the human body and the idea of surgery, but I was not ready to give up my passion for drawing and painting.
In college, I tried several extracurricular activities related to both of these fields so that I could figure out which one was a better fit for me. I did not enjoy every one of those activities, but I learned a lot from them. For example, even though I will likely never make pottery again, I did enjoy the level of precision and focus required to create a beautiful, finished product. The experience taught me how to pay close attention to detail.
Throughout college, I volunteered at a local free clinic, where I was exposed to different cases and patients from all walks of life. I especially remember one patient who had come in asking for a referral. The physician on-site spent almost an hour talking to this patient, and I understood from their conversation that this patient was transgendered, and she was having trouble finding a plastic surgeon.
I had never thought much about plastic surgeons or their work until that day, but my interest was piqued. I went home to research plastic surgery as a specialty, and I immediately felt like I had found exactly what I was looking for. Plastic surgery is a remarkable specialty that combines everything I love about art with everything I love about medicine. It acts as a problem solver for vast areas of disorder, and it is especially adept at pioneering new surgical solutions to problems across congenital, cancer, and traumatic disorders, as well as enhancing quality of life – such as facial reanimation or lymphoedema super-microsurgery.
Not long after that, I started working at the local burn center and shadowing one of the center's attending plastic surgeons. Being a part of treating patients from the earliest stages of burn injury through rehabilitation was a rewarding and humbling experience that challenged me and appealed to me at the same time. I even started working on a research project with the physician in question. We are currently exploring the properties of banana skin and the possibility that it can be used to help 2nd-degree burns. I am learning a lot from this experience and am very excited for all the learning I still have to do to master the craft of plastic surgery.
In an effort to begin this lifelong learning journey, I am subscribed to the American Journal of Plastic Surgery and the medical technology online magazine. I am also a founding member of the resident doctors association of [name of city]. I believe that it is important to not only stay up to date with medical advancements but also to learn from each other as doctors so that we can provide the best possible care for our patients.
I am passionate about plastic surgery because it is the only medical specialty that allows me to help people by using my knowledge of the human body while satisfying my need to use my hands and be creative. I know that my attention to detail, passion for the field, and desire to learn will make me a great resident. And eventually, with the right training, I will become a great plastic surgeon.
Check out this video for more residency application tips:
1. Is plastic surgery a competitive residency specialty?
2. When should I start writing my plastic surgery personal statement?
We recommend giving yourself at least six weeks to work on your personal statement, so plan to start six to eight weeks before submitting your application.
3. How important are residency personal statements?
In short: Very! Your residency personal statement is your only chance to speak to the program directors and plead your case before the interviews. So do not underestimate the role that it plays in the matching process.
4. How many residency personal statements do I need to write?
That depends on the number of specialties you are interested in. While you don't need to write a personal statement for each program that you are applying to, you do need to write one for every one of your chosen specialties.
5. What makes a strong plastic surgery personal statement?
A strong personal statement will be informative and concise. It should provide new information about you that can't be found in the rest of your application, it should show instead of telling the reader why you are the best candidate for their program, and it should clearly explain why you have chosen plastics as a specialty.
6. How long should my residency personal statement be?
Generally speaking, your personal statement should be 600-850 words long. However, verifying the requirements is always a good idea as they are subject to change.
7. What should I talk about in my plastic surgery personal statement?
Your personal statement should tell your story as it relates to your chosen specialty. So, talk about your childhood, background, and experiences. Talk about how they've prepared you and made you a good fit for plastic surgery.
8. Should I address any areas of concern in my plastic surgery personal statement?
You certainly can! However, you do not have to do so if you don't wish to. That said, if you do, be sure to do so in a brief, concise manner and show the program directors what you learned from the experience.