Growing up the first-born daughter of a hard-working cattle farmer and a hairdresser, medicine was never a consideration for me. From grade 8-12, while many of my peers wasted their abundance of free time, I devoted my weeknights and weekends year-round to beach volleyball at the high school, club, and provincial levels. Despite my small stature and lack of innate abilities, with determination and persistence, I overcame these obstacles, received an athletic scholarship, and chose to pursue business administration and athletics at [removed identifier]. However, it became apparent after six months that I was not going to attain my full potential as an athlete, and while I was in search of a new direction, I happened to enroll in anatomy and physiology. This was the first time I became really excited about my future prospects and began actively considering a career in medicine.
The first time I applied to medicine, I was rejected. Despite my initial devastation, in hindsight, it was a great opportunity for me to reflect on my own motivations for medicine and work as a laboratory technician at a potash mine in my hometown. I gained additional life experience, spent time with my family and was able to help financially support my husband’s pursuit of education after he had so selflessly supported me for many years.
My first exposure to anesthesiology was in my first year of medical school, during which I was again intrigued by the anatomy and physiology with the interlacing of pharmacology. I had the privilege of conducting research with Dr. [removed identifier] on the use of spinal anesthesia as opposed to general anesthesia for hip fracture repair surgery in the aging population. This translational study not only exposed me to all stages of the scientific process, from doing extensive literature review and generating testable hypotheses to analyzing clinical trial data, it enlightened me to the wide application of anesthesiology in the medical field and the broad range of patients that could eventually benefit from anesthesiologic innovations. During my anesthesiology clerkship, I was further exposed to the clinical side of the specialty where I quickly became familiar with anesthesia equipment and surgical procedures, and adept at monitoring the patient’s vital signs. I particularly enjoyed each opportunity I had to visit the patient and check their medical condition, then discuss the patient case with the resident or attending physician. I remained open to all specialties, however, after participating in research and clerkship it became clear to me that anesthesiology is where I felt the most fulfilled and motivated.
In a way, anesthesia was reminiscent of the competitive volleyball I had played years prior. I was a part of a team in the operating room with a common goal, and our countless years of education and practice had brought us together to achieve it. In volleyball, my role was the setter, which to many is considered a lackluster position as we rarely attack the ball and score points with power. However, as a setter, my role was to set the pace, strategize and dictate the game from my team’s perspective. Anesthesiology gives me the same opportunities to strategize anesthetics, balance individual patient’s comorbidities and anatomy, all while maintaining a calm demeanor and level head through unexpected circumstances. In volleyball, I never shied away from tense games or difficult situations, instead I trusted in my own abilities and training despite the uncharted territory.
As an athlete, I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allows me to perfect my sport by learning from my mistakes. I believe that the curriculum at [removed identifier] will provide me with a well-respected education, which strongly reflects my hands-on learning style. I also admire the mandatory communication block in the curriculum because I believe an emphasis on clear and concise communication is essential as an anesthetist. Additionally, I am excited about the prospect of continuing my interest in clinical research at the [removed identifier] Lab, which aims to improve surgical outcomes through alternative anesthesiologic methods as compared to general anesthesia.
Throughout the course of the next 5-10 years, I anticipate that both my husband and I will complete the next chapter in our educational pursuits. We both agree that [removed identifier] has the potential to nurture the next chapter in both our private and professional lives. I look forward to completing my training in your program and serving the community of [removed identifier].
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