The look of fear was unmistakable in the Nico’s eyes as he stared at the beeping machines and masked strangers around him. For a brief moment, our eyes met, and I instinctively smiled at him as if to say, “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay.” His tense expression immediately dissolved, his arms unfolded, and he began to swing his legs as he sat on the examination table. As he left the hospital wing that day, I overheard him tell his foster mother about “the lady with the smiley eyes.” Four years ago, when I first began shadowing Dr. [removed identifier] at [removed identifier] Hospital, the thought of caring for severely ill children seemed disheartening and overwhelming, but my experience was starkly different from my expectations. I saw that caring for a pediatric patient often involves delicately navigating complex social situations and family dynamics, not to mention having to handle varied and often difficult cases, but the rewarding smile of a child at the end made any challenge worth overcoming. Every interaction I had with a pediatric patient gave me confirmation that I have both the passion and compassion to succeed as a future pediatrician.
I am particularly keen to complete my residency at [removed identifier] because I had such an immersive learning experience completing five years of research with Dr. [removed identifier] on factors that increase the risk of developing asthma in premature infants. Not only is Dr. [removed identifier] a stellar researcher and scholar with an international reputation in this line of work, he was an outstanding mentor who was generous with sharing his knowledge and time. At every stage of the project, he took a hands-on approach in teaching me the research skills and tools I needed to become an independent researcher who is capable of generating probing questions and designing meticulous methodologies. It was because of his mentorship that I now have a keen interest in pediatric research. I also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. [removed identifier], another one of your excellent faculty, at [removed identifier] Hospital in the genetics clinics where we discussed the pathophysiology of Bartter’s syndrome. The residents were having a hard time understanding this disease, but Dr. [removed identifier] explained the exact pathophysiology and its downstream effects. The incredible intellect, mentorship, and leadership that Dr. [removed identifier] demonstrated has inspired me to pursue a nephrology fellowship upon completion of my residency. The incredibly high standard of excellence I observed and experienced with your faculty members makes the [removed identifier] my top choice to complete my residency.
My interest in pediatrics continued to develop during my elective rotations in [removed identifier], where I saw indigenous pediatric patients with a variety of ailments from hypoglycemia to cystic fibrosis. During my time there, I saw how the small number medical staff made every effort to treat each and every patient that came in as many of them travelled long distances to get medical attention that was long overdue. Although I grew up in a rural community near [removed identifier] with close contact to the [removed identifier] population, this experience prompted me to truly reflect on the medical needs of this marginalized population. I am now committed to devoting time each year to serve in underserved communities in [removed identifier] and mobilizing other medical professionals to do the same.
Currently, I am serving my local community as the president of the [removed identifier], for which I coordinate the [removed identifier], an initiative that teaches pediatric patients about healthy living when they visit local children’s hospital. The interactive activities we incorporate, such as dance and music, also function as a way to decrease their fears associated to hospital visits. Since I began the initiative two years ago, I have received dozens of letters from parents thanking me for making the hospital a place their children look forward to visiting, even when they need to undergo often unpleasant check-up procedures. This demonstrated the importance of promoting health care initiatives for kids and educating families and their children on how to be advocates of their own health. This impactful leadership role has prepared me to be a leader and engaged learner in my residency program, where I hope to continue my work in the community and inspire others to join me.
Beyond my leadership abilities and passion for community service, my perseverance, time management, and cultural competency will also help me to succeed as a resident in pediatrics. As a competitive Irish dancer for sixteen years, I devoted several hours of my week to intensive practice, competed in front of judges and thousands of spectators all over the world, and performed to my best ability under intense pressure was a necessity. I persevered with the challenge of competing at an international level and still maintained a very high level of academic performance while achieving my career high of second at the World Championships. As a child of parents working abroad, I spend many years in different international schools in Asia and the Middle East. My international education has exposed me to diverse cultures and innovative ways of thinking from teachers from all over the globe and I have come to appreciate differences in thought, belief, and traditions which all contribute to the fabric of our society. I believe my resilience will help me to overcome the challenges of working long hours on potentially difficult cases, while my cultural competency will enable me to empathize with patients and families who will inevitably come from a variety backgrounds and treat them fairly.
My research and clinical experiences with the faculty in your program and my clinical and service work with children make me confident that pediatrics is the field I wish to pursue. I cannot wait to begin my residency so that I can start becoming an excellent clinician who advocates for children, as well as a scholar involved in research projects that will help advance the field. After successfully completing my pediatric residency program, I plan to pursue a pediatric fellowship, specializing in nephrology. I am excited at the prospect of working and learning at [removed identifier] while being an active and professional member of your residency program. I am also looking forward to developing my teaching skills and contributing to the community while also enjoying bike rides along the [removed identifier] Canal and to be reunited with my [removed identifier]-based family.