Posted on Categories Cross-cultural Experience, My Story, Words of WisdomTags , , , ,

Doctors with Borders

By Dr. Uttara Koul

The past eight months have been a summation of the five stages of grief:

                    • Stage 1: Denial – there’s a viral outbreak? Hmm. It won’t reach us.
                    • Stage 2: Anger – why aren’t people taking the lockdown strictly? Why is everyone hoarding toilet paper?
                    • Stage 3: Bargaining – a vaccine will be released any day now, right?
                    • Stage 4: Depression – all social engagements are postponed indefinitely. So many people have lost their lives! This is heartbreaking!
                    • Stage 5: Acceptance – this is the new normal.

Continue reading “Doctors with Borders”

Posted on Categories Cross-cultural Experience, My StoryTags , , , , ,

Engineering Medicine Inside Out

By Dr. Wail Yar

I grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, thousands of miles away in the Middle East. I went to high school with a dream that I would become a petroleum engineer. I never thought that I would be a physician; I was scared from seeing blood, and I was afraid to touch a patient. When I graduated from high school, I applied to the best scholarship program in the county, and I got accepted to study petroleum engineering abroad. At the same time, I applied to King Abdulaziz University College of Medicine in Saudi Arabia, because it is one of the best schools in the country. I applied, not because I was forced to do so by my family, but I did it to prove that I could be a doctor, although at that time I didn’t want to be one.

Continue reading “Engineering Medicine Inside Out”

Posted on Categories Clinical Training Experience, Cross-cultural Experience, My StoryTags , , ,

Of New Beginnings and Second Chances

Dr. Oluwatobi OdetolaBy Dr. Oluwatobi Odetola

As I sit in a dear friend’s apartment in New York, basking in the nothingness of vacation, I realize that the time left in the intern year of my Internal Medicine training can no longer be measured in months. It has been quite the year and I am part trepid, part excited to transition into a senior role in the next academic year.

This is not the first of such transitions for me, and neither was Match Day 2018 my first dance with the NRMP. I first moved to the United States in 2016 to begin an Anatomic Pathology/Clinical Pathology (AP/CP) residency. I remember putting all I owned into two travel bags – more like haphazardly stuffing the bags – and getting on the long-haul flight to Chicago, to begin the next phase of my seemingly never-ending medical training. I was excited and grateful to be part of the next group of exchange visitor physicians.

Continue reading “Of New Beginnings and Second Chances”

Posted on Categories Cross-cultural Experience, My Story, Words of WisdomTags , , , ,

We Dare to Call You Home, El Paso

By Dr. Terngu Ibilah

The arduous winding journey for international medical graduates seeking to continue medical education in the United States is one only for the brave at heart. From the grueling USMLE exams to the apprehension of Visa interviews at the US embassies, with a melange of sweetness whenever that FedEx envelope arrives with your ECFMG certification, culminating on Match Day where you finally get to know if you have been accepted into a program— is a summary of years of hard work, dedication and huge financial commitment. For those who make the mistake of thinking the process of getting in is the hardest, they soon learn that staying in is probably harder, confronted with an entirely new system of medical practice, far away from loved ones and the comfort of a familiar environment. What has kept many international graduates going is finding your purpose, understanding why you put in so much of your life to get to this point.

Continue reading “We Dare to Call You Home, El Paso”

Posted on Categories Cross-cultural Experience, My Story, Words of WisdomTags , , ,

Overcoming First-year Fear

By Dr. Chayanin (Jing) Foongsathaporn

Have you ever done something for the first time and had great anxiety about doing it? If your answer is yes, we are in the same boat.

When I started my residency training as a first-year psychiatry resident, I had many fears and worries. Imagine a doctor who has to work in another country, use English as her second language, and see patients in a diverse population. I had fear that my patients wouldn’t be able to understand my accent; fear of judgment from my colleagues; and fear of making mistakes. The working environment in the United States is far different from Thailand. I used to write paper chart back in my country, but now I have to type everything to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). In Thailand we have Universal Health Care Coverage, unlike the healthcare system in the United States, where everyone has insurance.

Continue reading “Overcoming First-year Fear”