By Dr. Sushania Pryce
From as early as I can remember, my family physician inspired me to help others. His ability to care for everyone in the community, from old to young, left me in awe. It became my life goal to follow in his footsteps. Before entering medical school, I knew I wanted to become a family physician. After all, growing up in Oracabessa, Jamaica, a very rural community, that was the only type of doctor I knew. Fast forward to now, years later, I have traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to complete my residency training to become a family physician.
To get here, I took a somewhat convoluted path. As is the case for many international medical graduates like me, I did not go straight into residency after medical school. After I graduated from medical school, it took me four years to prepare for the Match. I was afraid time was against me, and I always felt as if I was racing against the clock. I would see my former classmates being successful in the Match and would wonder, “When will that be me?” During this process, it’s easy to have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and feel like you’re being left behind. However, during my preparation, I learned that nothing happens before its time. Faith kept me going. I imagined what I wanted my life and career to be. I regularly wrote down my goals and how I planned to achieve them. I became rather meticulous and very intentional. Everything I did in the last two years was to get me to this very point in my life. So, you can imagine how elated I was when, on the Monday of Match Week, my match status said, “Fully matched”!
So now I am here. Now what? Well, now the real work begins. I know my new hospital and training program may take some getting used to, and let’s face it: Moving is hard, especially when it is to a place you’ve never been before. Leaving behind loved ones and friends can be daunting, and when that culture shock sets in, you feel isolated and often lost. Still, I believe there’s always a silver lining. A valuable lesson I learned when I moved to Milwaukee is knowing when and how to speak up and ask for help. I know it may seem as if what you’re going through is unique to you, but most times, that’s not the case; your colleagues may be struggling as much as you and are hiding it just like you are. Opening up and talking to someone who can empathize with you often brings a sense of relief, comfort, and a feeling that you are not alone. Your faculty and staff are also potential shoulders for you to lean on—this I have found to be very true. Just asking simple questions or expressing an internal struggle can lead to an overwhelming amount of support that you didn’t imagine was possible.
I am beyond grateful that I get the opportunity to complete my residency training and further expand my clinical knowledge and skills to become a well-rounded family physician who can care for a diverse group of patients. The experience I will gain over the next three years will support my goals of being a skilled physician and providing my patients the high-quality care they deserve, no matter their age or background. This is the main reason why I decided to leave my home country, Jamaica, and complete residency training in the United States.
Currently, this is my mantra:
- Be yourself,
- Show up and, most of all,
- Enjoy the next three years of residency as much as possible.
I did feel intimated at first, and of course, that imposter syndrome is very real, but once I met my classmates, faculty, and the staff I will be working with, the warmth I felt from everyone helped slowly dispel my fears. Yes, the future is unknown, but we have the present, which is all that matters. Be present and pursue your goals, and you may inspire others to reach their full potential as well, just like my family physician did for me all those years ago.