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Residency IM, Mission Hospital, Indian

As doctors, the understanding we take from the lecture hall or textbook is but a fraction of our learning and must be closely integrated with practice.  It is as the Chinese saying, “Tell me, and I forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I understand.”  To this end, I have spent the past six years in what can only be described as the most exciting and evolutionary years of my life, working within a mission hospital thanks to the sponsorship of my medical studies through my church.

For my part, medicine has always been the epitome of service to the community, and the peak of intellectual and noble pursuits.  The experiences I have had at our mission hospital have confirmed this for me, impacting my understanding of myself, and my profession and convincing me that I am on exactly the right path.  Indeed, my work has tested, and proven my ability to apply all that I learned in medical college, clinical insight, and analytical thinking.  And yet, with each day, as my responsibilities grew, so did my appreciation of just how much there was still to learn.

Internal Medicine has always fascinated me with the sheer diversity of cases and amount of direct patient contact.  The approach of dealing with the patient as a totality struck me as being sensible, and logical, and, as a result, Internal Medicine has become the field in which I want to explore in greater depth. 

Throughout my education and medical experiences, I steadfastly believed that a good physician must be committed to excellence in all aspects of healthcare, be it medical education, patient care, or research.  One practical example of this comes to mind: one night, a 26-year-old CPA came into our ER, complaining that he had passed out for a few minutes after dinner.  His physical was routine, with only a GI bleed in his history, and he soon reported feeling fine, smiling, and refusing the Ryles tube I had ordered.  I was not convinced and persuaded him to be admitted, sending for blood investigations, which came back normal except for slightly elevated urea levels.  As my attending was away on leave, I consulted Harrisons, suspecting an internal bleed.  Finally, I convinced the young man to let us administer the Ryles tube, which, during placement, he vomited some two liters of coffee ground emesis!  After a cold saline lavage and arranging for blood, an emergency endoscopy was ordered.  Two days later, the gratitude expressed by his family for the timely intervention gave me the sweetest sense of fulfillment I had ever felt. With this experience came the fundamental realization that medicine is a unique blend of continuing intellectual challenges and applying our analytical thinking to saving lives, bringing me the personal, professional, and even spiritual satisfaction that I crave.

Moreover, I have been on both sides of the patient-caretaker relationship, as I care for my cousin who suffers from Crohn’s disease.  I shared his feelings, and now I know the anxiety that comes from realizing the limitations of medicine.  And while we were dismayed with the chronicity of his condition, it was the positive interaction, genuine empathy, and thoughtful actions of the attendings that distracted us from the gloom, infusing us with new vigor to deal with the situation.  I took a great deal from this experience, the invaluable insights, and integrated them into my own approach to patient care.

The opportunity and challenge of an Internal Medicine residency are more than a logical step; it is a natural choice given my level of experience, and desire for exposure to advanced cases.  I seek a residency program that has a solid academic and teaching schedule, and one that will give ample opportunity for research.  At the same time, I anticipate working with accomplished residents and experienced faculty who are passionate about their profession and well-rounded in their lifestyles.

Choosing a residency assignment in America is a choice born of seeking the finest medical education possible, exposure to culturally and socio-economically diverse patients, and the latest techniques and technologies available.  The US healthcare system is renowned for its design of standardized protocols based on the latest research and scientific/clinical proof, and where the diagnosis is evidence-based.  Too often, in my homeland of India, treatment is limited by financial constraints.  This reality left me feeling academically unfulfilled, as I am curious about disease processes, and crave getting to the root of problems.  I need to know exactly what and why I am treating, which is critically important if we are to keep learning, mastering, and expounding.

My work with XXXX and active pursuit of caring for the elderly is solid evidence of my thorough enjoyment of the ordinary person's practice of medicine.  Indeed, I see myself continuing such work once I am board-certified.  I credit my passion for this type of medicine with having not only being born on a Christian missionary campus, but my innate desire to serve, inspired by my parents, community, and the college I studied in, one that emphasized outreach through health, relief, and awareness camps.

In anticipation of a quality Internal Medicine residency assignment, I have spent the past few years while studying for the USMLEs, working and volunteering in several differing set-ups in India as well as the US.  This exposure has not only given me good insights into the US healthcare system, but has proven my ability to acculturate, adapt quickly, be resourceful and think on my feet.  What is more, I bring with me to the Internal Medicine residency program a solid academic foundation in Medicine, proof of which can be found in my near-perfect USMLE scores earned on the first attempt.  In truth, I bring my humility, evidenced in my voluntary community service to the elderly and housebound through a project started by Suvidha mission hospital, as well as my service at the judicial home – XXXX.  My volunteerism was never fueled by simply wanting to gain direct-patient contact or exposure.  I genuinely love to participate in and even create social and voluntary activities as they refresh and rejuvenate my creative side while helping to bridge healthcare disparities.

The free hand I was given to manage all emergency cases, and the volumes I handled groomed me into an efficient, mature physician. Still, more importantly, it allowed me to know my areas of interest.  I believe my years of experience, warm personality, and my determination to excel will make me a good physician.

Thank you for your time and kind consideration.

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