"Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” In order to understand what makes a great doctor, it is essential to view high-quality healthcare from a variety of angles to gain insights into the many complex layers of healthcare operations. I have had the privilege to see this high level of healthcare exemplified from multiple different perspectives, which has guided me to a career in medicine and fostered a dedication to the lifelong pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of society.

From a young age, I have always said that I wanted to be a doctor. This desire stemmed primarily from seeing my father’s undeniable passion for his work as an ophthalmologist. However, it was not until one unfortunate situation during my junior year of high school that I saw firsthand the impact that doctors have on individuals and families from a patient’s perspective. My mother was visiting my sister at her college and attending a wedding shower when she suddenly collapsed and was rushed to a nearby hospital. A quick scan discovered a ruptured brain aneurysm on the posterior communicating artery. Thankfully, she was saved by a skilled neurosurgeon and the phenomenal medical team accompanying him. Witnessing the neurosurgeon perform at the highest level in this life or death situation helped me appreciate many aspects of treatment that I had not even considered, such as the dedication to the training required to master such a complex procedure specifically for situations like these. The emotional maelstrom of this alarming experience led me to the realization that I need to become a great doctor that makes a profound impact on the lives of not only the patients seeking treatment but also their families and friends.

Wanting to learn more about how the physician-patient interaction I witnessed fits into the larger clinical operation led me to a position as an ophthalmic technician at my father’s practice that summer. Becoming an employee in the healthcare industry allowed me to see patient care from another point of view: the provider perspective. Not only was I able to gain valuable experience interacting with patients, taking histories, and dilating pupils, I was also able to see yet another compassionate physician – my father – take pride in his work. In fact, my favorite part of my position was seeing post-op patients the morning after their cataract surgery when they realized that they could see the eye chart with 20/20 – 20/25 vision! I now understood why patients walked up to him in restaurants or at baseball games when I was only a child exclaiming how much better they could see after their surgery. While I was inspired by the swift treatment surgeries can provide, I appreciated the role doctors play in the prevention and management of chronic diseases when my father would counsel his patients on the importance of controlling diabetes to preserve vision. Playing an active role in a healthcare team cemented my desire to become a physician and to one day provide empathetic care to patients of my own.

In addition to seeing healthcare from both patient and provider perspectives alongside hard-working physicians, I have had the opportunity to see healthcare from another perspective: the policy perspective. As a freshman in college, I was offered a job which allowed me to learn more about our political system along with a wide variety of issues affecting the state. Seeing my mentor advocate for patients and for public health motivated me to strive to play an active role in resolving issues as pervasive as the national opioid epidemic. My invaluable mentor helped show me complicated policy issues surrounding healthcare and the impact that doctors could potentially have on legislation. My experience in that position has been pivotal in my continuous development as an aspiring physician and leader in healthcare.

A wide variety of perspectives have taught me that two of the most important traits for being an exceptional doctor (like my father and the neurosurgeon that saved my mother) are the utmost level of professionalism and determination toward enhancing the quality of life for patients. I am pursuing a career in medicine with these undertakings as my primary goals. Becoming a true advocate for patients requires a lifelong dedication to learning and an unrelenting tenacity to solve problems. My dynamic experience in the medical field has offered me countless learning opportunities, and I look forward to identifying issues and providing solutions both in the clinic and in public health backed by strong medical knowledge."

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