"There are currently talks of implementing a $10 patient fee, not covered by any insurance nor government health plans, for those going to their family doctors and those seeking care at the ER. What are your views about this idea?"
BeMo sample response:
"I can understand why such a fee would be introduced. This would essentially act as a deterrent fee and make individuals re-consider when is essential to go to the doctor or the hospital and when it is not. The healthcare system is definitely under a lot of financial stress, especially as a result of our aging population and the increased need for services. There are definitely pros and cons associated with such a policy.
First, as I already mentioned, this $10 fee would act as a deterrent and perhaps prevent unnecessary visits to the doctor and the ER. This would take some of the burden off of our healthcare system and generate funds, which can be used towards improving our health care system, but of course, this hypothesis will need to be objectively validated.
With that said, the problem with such a policy arises when the deterrent fee acts as a barrier to seeking care for those who come from a lower socioeconomic strata of society. For some, a $10 fee may be a major demand and as a result, they may not seek out help from their doctors even in times when it is necessary. This can in actuality end up creating more costs for the healthcare system in the long run because as conditions become more chronic over time, the resources required to deal with such health conditions increases. So we may be saving in doctor visits in the short run through such a fee, but it can end up costing us a lot more later down the line.
I do not believe implementing a deterrent fee as a means of reducing the stress on the healthcare system is a good idea. We can explore other avenues to reduce the burden on our system. For instance, we can educate the general about the appropriate use of healthcare services and when it is required to seek out help from doctors or the ER. Ideas such as telehealth or web-health services where individuals can contact a healthcare professional for advice is a great example of how technologies can be used to educate the population. We should also be more focused on preventative measures as a long-term solution to dealing with the demands that are faced by our healthcare system. This requires mass education of the population about healthy and active living strategies, which in the long run will reduce the total number of individuals who will need to seek out medical care throughout their life. "
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BeMo sample response:
I am interested in pursuing family medicine as my future medical specialty. I want to form long-term relationships with my patients and act as their educator in health across their lifespan. My experience shadowing Dr. Childen, a primary care physician, showed me the bond, trust, and responsibilities that come with caring for patients from birth until old age. Located in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, many patients could only rely on continuous monitoring to stop worsening their conditions. In these cases, educating patients on the importance of lifestyle management in the slowing of disease progression was highly important.
Like Dr. Childen, I aspire to serve my community by acting as a conduit for locals in healthcare education, prevention, and basic care. In addition, because of the long-term forms with his patients, he can create treatment plans tailored to their needs. To Dr. Childen and his patients, family history was more than a few sentences in the chart; instead, family history symbolized the long-term relationships he had formed with his patients and their loved ones after years of caring and treating their various ailments. From time to time, he could casually make conversation with patients about their work, their school, and things going on in life because Dr. Childen truly knows them as partners in care, rather than just visitors to his clinic.
The personal connection with patients makes family medicine special and rewarding. I am excited to take advantage of this unique bond and knowledge to my patients when making treatment plans tailored to their needs and backgrounds. Overall, being able to be a part of a lifetime partnership in health with my patients and being an important asset to community health are the reasons family medicine resonates with me.
"What experiences have led you to apply here?"
BeMo sample response:
When I was 4 years old, my sister was born prematurely, weighing less than 2 pounds. She was put in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, NICU, and when she arrived home, I did everything I could to help take care of her. Throughout her childhood, she had various primary care physicians whose expertise allowed her to get all the care she needed. This experience inspired me to get more involved in clinical medicine, specifically focused on pediatrics. Furthermore, my volunteer and leadership experience has given me increased exposure to primary care, allowing me to understand the rewarding aspects of a career as a primary care physician.
In college, I volunteered in the NICU, shadowed a pediatric psychiatrist and was involved in Dance Marathon, an organization whose goal is to find cures for incurable diseases affecting children and to provide early disease treatment so that a sick child can grow up to be a healthy adult. I strongly believe that X program is the right fit for me because of my ability to develop meaningful patient rapport through my volunteer experiences and my diverse set of interests. I love variety and feel that primary care will give me the best opportunity to care for patients of all ages and backgrounds.
Currently, I’m a certified nursing assistant playing a direct role in the treatment of college students and adults. This job is rewarding because I get to serve as a “gatekeeper” of healthcare, ensure that patients are properly cared for, referred when necessary and to be a catalyst for health promotion. Ultimately, I am applying to X program because I want to be the first point of contact for my patients, working with a diverse group of patients, and within an interdisciplinary team.
"How will your background and experiences contribute to the diversity of our medical school class?"
BeMo sample response:
Coming from an Indian-Canadian family, I often associated my diversity to all the socio-cultural dilemmas I experienced growing up, trying to figure out how to adapt to an ever-changing country while keeping true to who I was, and where I came from. A big aspect of my diversity would stem from my mindset of how I wanted to conduct myself – through pursuing holism. This idea of holism stems from students informing their philosophies not only by the concepts or theories at hand but also by the emotions and values that shape us. This ideology, that everything in nature is interconnected, is a fundamental idea that I wanted to be reflected in my daily practice.
As a chemistry teaching assistant, I realized that helping students also required a holistic approach. Interacting with Sam, I learned that her poor performance was related to her intimidation by the molecular structures. “I remember doing badly on my first test”, I said as a sense of comfort dawned in her eyes. Presenting her with strategies to overcome her fears, Sam passed the course with a B; a meaningful symbol of the importance of holism in fostering an effective learner. Through my shadowing experiences, I realized that this ideology is also present in medicine.
Working as an intern in a rural clinic in Tanzania, I did the intake, performing the initial workup. I recall a 65-year old man diagnosed with hypertension. I realized that a simple recommendation of lowering his sodium intake wasn’t enough, as the culture’s staple diet was meant to include lots of salt. As an educator, I had to work with the gentleman to not only empower his lifestyle change for the better, but also that of the community. This informed my knowledge on the role of cultural contexts in medicine and the true importance of the social determinants of health. I believe medicine is a holistic discipline – a scientific practice informed by individual social contexts.
So, when I think about what I can offer to the X school's community, it is this – a holistic philosophy that incorporates anything I do. A philosophy that demands all of me, that forces my fascination with the workings of the human body be informed not only by biomedical research and innovation, but also the socio-cultural values, individual fears, and concerns – an elegant balance that is represented in all aspects of my life.
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