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Residency Diagnostic Radiology: Saudi Woman

I am a Saudi woman born in Canada, raised and trained in Saudi Arabia, and now residing in Chicago. I hold a first-class MBBS degree awarded by the King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah. My goal is to undertake a residency in Diagnostic Radiology, sub-specializing in Interventional Radiology, in Canada, and after that to pursue a fellowship in Interventional Radiology and, ultimately, to head a Radiology Department in a prestigious hospital in Saudi Arabia and also to teach the the the this specialty.

 I was raised in a very demanding home environment in which I was expected to give 100% effort to everything that I undertook and to be diligent, independent, reliable, and honest. I thrived in this demanding environment which provided me with vast choices in terms of career as it provided me with the tools to excel in all subjects. I chose to pursue medicine because I wanted to ‘make a difference rather than just ‘make a living. I have never regretted this choice which I consider a vocation rather than a mere career choice.

 My experience in Medical School was thoroughly positive, and I was enthralled with what I learned about the wonder that is the human body. I also came to see how the knowledge I was acquiring related to clinical practice and that patients are not merely ‘bundles of symptoms’ but individuals with unique needs and personalities. I learned that not everything a good physician needs to know could be easily taught, such as the importance of recognizing and interpreting non-verbal communication provided by patients.  The challenging experiences provided during my Medical School years also left positive marks on my personality and helped me to mature as a person.  I learned how to be an influential team member and how to organize, lead and inspire a team as my group leader for years 4 to 6. I formed solid friendships during these happy years that I know will endure. When I graduated, it was not only with the highest mark for my final year but with the highest mark in each of the six years of my course. I believe that this success is less a measure of my intelligence than of my passion for medicine.

 I undertook various voluntary assignments at Medical School that it may be relevant to mention. I was involved in the WHO ‘Stop Tuberculosis’ campaign in Saudi Arabia in 2010 and the ‘Breast Cancer Awarenes's campaign in 2008. Breast cancer presents great problems in Saudi Arabia because of, often, late diagnosis. I felt privileged to be part of the ongoing efforts to extend symptom awareness and for the need for early treatment to my countrywomen. I was also one of the organizers of a ‘Diabetes Mellitus Health Field Survey’ in my fourth year.

 During my rotations, I became particularly drawn to Radiology, my interest being initially fired by an expert in this field whose skills, in removing all the ‘pieces of the puzzle’ together and identifying the patient’s problem, were astonishing. This relationship resulted in my choosing Radiology as an elective and then as my future career. I considered this choice carefully, and I genuinely believe that I possess the exceptional observational and analytical skills required for this fascinating and vital area of work. I am a ‘visual person, a photographer also interested in handcrafts and painting. I believe that my artist’s ‘eye for detail’ and sensibilities will enable me to excel in this field. My decision led to my successful application for a Demonstrator (Residency) position in Interventional Radiology at the King Abdul-Aziz University. This appointment provided an opportunity to teach, and I have developed a love of passing on my skills and knowledge that I hope to create and apply throughout my career.

 I am deeply interested in the advancement of non-invasive procedures in interventional radiology. It is my aim, ultimately, to be able to offer further nonsurgical, less invasive options to patients and to advance the knowledge of this specialty, especially in my home country. I now seek to join a residency program that will enable me to learn the most modern techniques from leading experts in the field. I also aim to pursue research and to hone my teaching skills. I hope that I will be enabled, through participation in the program, to assist in the general advancement of healthcare in Saudi Arabia.

 I have happily studied, worked, and socialized with people from many cultural and social backgrounds and look forward to extending such experiences during the residency if selected. I consider myself to be culturally sensitive and have an awareness of the particular importance of cultural and social awareness in a medical environment.  

 I know there will be many well-qualified applicants for the residency program, but I genuinely believe that I am an exceptional candidate. My academic results will provide reassurance that I possess a highly developed work ethic, and I offer promise of diligent participation in the residency program. The activities and leadership roles that I have undertaken will, I hope, provide evidence that I am a person who can always be relied upon to involve herself enthusiastically in her academic and working environment.  My experience in this specialty may also be difficult to match by most other applicants and will enable me to ‘add value’ to the residency program by bringing and sharing some relevant knowledge and skills.

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