A wise Internist once told me, “There will be patients that stick with you; some will inspire you and others humble you, but you will remember them from the day you meet them and all through your career.” For me, one of these patients was my first assigned on the Medical Teaching Unit on my first day of clerkship. She was a fifty-year-old woman who was admitted for liver cirrhosis, complicated by multi-organ dysfunction. When I studied her condition, I was so intrigued as to how one problem could lead to such a catastrophic system meltdown. It was not until I reviewed the pathophysiology of cirrhosis that I began to comprehend the severity of her affliction. What struck me most were the intricate mechanisms the body employed to try to compensate for her cirrhosis following the principles of basic science. This reflection triggered a powerful desire in me to find answers to questions about all diseases, and I soon realized that the specialty that fed my intellectual curiosity was Internal Medicine. It provides a vast range of challenging clinical cases, all of which I find exceptionally interesting. I enjoy decision making under pressure, the collaborative team approach, and the precision required in making a diagnosis, as well as patient management. I believe these attributes are reflected by my experiences and skills that I developed before and during medical school.
During my internal medicine rotations, I found myself captivated by the intricate problem solving and at times intense management of complex conditions. For me, Internal Medicine sits at the crossroad where basic science knowledge and clinical care intersect. Each patient interaction I had during my internal medicine blocks drew on all the principles I had been taught; enthralling examples of basic science, pharmacology, physiology, and pathology. From a clinical perspective, each experience I had with patients was incredibly rewarding. I am a naturally curious person and revel in the detective diagnostic approach that Internal Medicine demands. I enjoyed the connection and continuity of care with patients; the opportunity to understand their disease, but also understand them as a person. It is incredibly humbling to work with patients of all ages and social backgrounds, finding ways to help every patient through active medical treatment, being a receptive listener, or helping them die with dignity.
I consider myself well suited for Internal Medicine as I possess qualities that I admire in internists 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 collaborating 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 and delivered feedback from students to the committee.
My career goals include engaging in active clinical practice and teaching. I aspire to [removed identifier]’s Internal Medicine residency program as it can offer me exceptional clinical and academic experiences, with faculty who are devoted to education and mentorship. Training in [removed identifier] will provide me the opportunity to see a variety of medical conditions, as well as expose me to a diverse patient population across different age groups, socioeconomic statuses, and cultures. I believe that residency and departmental culture is incredibly important; my experiences interacting with [removed identifier]’s Internal Medicine residents, attendings and interprofessional colleagues have demonstrated a culture of mutual respect, accessibility, collaboration, and clinical excellence. I always felt like a valued member of the team while I was a medical student on Internal Medicine rotations. Furthermore, I look forward to exposure and participation in Internal Medicine research so that I can not only learn about current knowledge but also contribute to the advancement of diagnostic capabilities and treatment of medical conditions.
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, its people, as well as our networks are important for our future. [removed identifier]’s healthcare system has faced many challenges, especially reaching the many patients in rural communities; 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.
I am excited to pursue a career in Internal Medicine, feeding an endless curiosity and fascination to better understand the human body. Of all the medical specialties I have been exposed to, Internal Medicine has been the most stimulating. My experiences in Internal Medicine 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.