The first time I met someone living with the effects of a stroke was during a clinical rotation while I was training to become an Occupational Therapist. The patient was a mechanic who was used to being incredibly independent and was now living with complete left-sided neglect, hemiparesis, and hemiparalysis. It was striking to see how devastating an acute neurovascular event could be. A kind and patient neurologist took time to show me the patient’s imaging, spoke with me about the intricacies of the brain, how the event impacted the patient, and demonstrated a thorough neurologic examination. I was captivated by the complexity of the problem, the care the neurologist took examining the patient, and his compassion when speaking to the patient and his family.
As I continued my path through medical school, I was open to other potential specialties, which I explored through observerships and electives, but continued to be brought back to neurology. For me, neurology is technology joined with humanity. I believe this is embodied by a patient I examined during a neurology rotation, who had weakness in her legs. A resident told me before entering the room that we would likely request an MRI; however, I had learned that although the neurologic examination often holds vital information for diagnosis, it is much more than a data-gathering tool. The beauty of the neurologic examination lies in how extensive it is, requiring the clinician’s time and the patient’s collaboration. I am a naturally curious person and revel in the detective diagnostic approach that neurology demands. I learn more about patients with each examination; who they are, what matters to them, and what their fears are. Yes, there are advanced technologies that allow visualization of the complexities of the brain and spinal cord. The MRI told our team where the patient’s lesion was in her spine. However, technology cannot replace the therapeutic value of the partnership created during the neurologic examination.
I believe I am well suited for Neurology as I possess qualities that I admire in neurologists who have mentored me: leadership, collaboration, and commitment to education. An experience where I developed all three of these skills was my involvement with [removed identifier] a tri-institutional, nine program, student-led interprofessional Health Centre and outreach program. While I had been involved with [removed identifier] in many capacities since 2014, I was humbled to serve as the co-executive director in 2017 and launch the Health Center, the first student-run-clinic in the Maritime provinces. Leading a team of 160 student volunteers who were motivated to launch a supportive health environment focused on education, advocacy, and positive social change, was an incredible learning opportunity. I’ve measured the success of our team and this initiative not only by my ability to lead but to inspire, engage and enable others – both my peers and [removed identifier] clients – and to help them realize their potential. As the co-executive director, I’ve provided fellow student executives the resources they needed to perform at their best, while creating a platform for interprofessional students to practice working and learning together, with emphasis on collaborative person-centered care. Because of these actions, we created a more coordinated team, smoother operations, and stronger performance. Collectively, our strengths and dedication enabled [removed identifier] to finally open to the public.
I have sought out experiences to continue developing these skills and strengthen my commitment to medical and interprofessional education. I was appointed last year as Interprofessional File Lead with the [removed identifier] Through this role, I have been able to act as a national touch point and champion for medical students who are passionate and engaged with interprofessional education. I also had the pleasure to serve as a contributing author and editor for the [removed identifier] Student Led Clinic Toolkit, which was created with the intent to help students across Canada develop and sustain interprofessional student-led health initiatives which foster authentic training experiences with underserved and disadvantaged communities. Additionally, through my role as the Internal Medicine Student Representative with the [removed identifier] I served as a liaison between the [removed identifier] and clinical clerks. I advocated, provided educational tools for students, and delivered feedback from clinical clerks to the committee.
My career goals include engaging in active clinical practice and medical education. I aspire to join [removed identifier]’s Neurology residency program as it will offer me robust clinical and academic experiences, with faculty who are devoted to education. During my elective, I experienced the value of training in [removed identifier] as a regional referral centre affording exposure to a broad range of neurological disease, as well as exposing me to a diverse patient population. I highly value the small resident-to-faculty ratio that [removed identifier]’s Neurology program has; during my elective residents spoke highly of the mentorship relationships and open communication they had with faculty. I believe that residency and departmental culture is incredibly important; my experiences interacting with [removed identifier]’s Neurology residents, attendings and interprofessional colleagues have demonstrated a culture of mutual respect, accessibility, collaboration, and clinical excellence. I am also seeking exposure to neurological research so that I can not only learn about existing knowledge, but also contribute to the advancement of diagnostic ability and treatment of neurologic disease. As I have a passion for medical education, I would like to pursue research that relates to simulation-based learning and interprofessional interactions. I would be honored to continue medical training in my home province. My wife and I hope to establish ourselves here, our families both reside in [removed identifier]and my wife works at [removed identifier]. Our deep connection to [removed identifier], its culture, it’s people, as well as our networks are important for our future. [removed identifier]’s healthcare system has faced many challenges and there are many more to come; I want to be part of the solution providing medical services and community leadership to a place that has shaped me both personally and professionally thus far.
I am excited to pursue a career in neurology, feeding an endless curiosity and fascination to better understand the brain. Of all the medical specialties I have been exposed to, neurology has been the most stimulating and my experiences in this field have challenged my diagnostic abilities and have provided insight into incredible physician-patient relationships. I am keen to join a residency program that will empower me to continue developing both my medical skills and personal character. In return, I will devote my time, energy, and all the medical expertise that I possess in treating my patients, to learning from others in healthcare and teaching those who can learn from me.
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