The COVID-19 patient did not speak English, so we communicated using a translator phone. He taught me a few words and sentences so that I could ask simple questions to other patients who shared his native language. “I can’t breathe” were the last words that I could understand before he was intubated. I wondered if he ever imagined that his last words would be spoken to someone who did not speak his language. Did he imagine that he would be taken care of in his final days by someone born thousands of miles away?
“This cannot happen… I just started my career. Open your eyes. Move your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Do anything you can to let them know you’re ok!” These are the things I said to myself as I heard the commotion around me. As I felt the excruciating pain of the freshly inserted chest tube between my ribs, I heard someone say, “She might need to go on ECMO, let’s call the team.”
ECFMG|FAIMER leadership and staff recently had the privilege of engaging in a live panel event with four J-1 physician panelists, all of whom previously contributed to Journeys in Medicine, an ECFMG blog. The conversation included a discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic, their passion for medicine, what drew them to the United States for training, and more. We are pleased to share some of the highlights of that conversation in the video below. Continue reading “A Conversation with J-1 Physicians: Spring 2021”
Living abroad alone is never easy. Neither are the physical and mental demands of becoming a new intern. For international medical graduates, there are also added pressures. At times, you feel like you must try “extra hard” to prove yourself, that you are worthy of this opportunity. After a long day at work, you go home to find yourself alone, and it can be lonely. You need someone with whom you can share your silly joke, your bad days, your good days, or just to be there. People who can be your family and your home. When interviewing for residency positions, apart from getting to know the program, you hope that you will find such people in your future co-residents. However, especially with the current Zoom interview process, you can’t know for sure until you really start the journey.
All of us have the power to make choices that define us. However, the freedom to dream is not the same for all of us. Childhood adversity, country of origin, socioeconomic status, family obligations, and our health can all shape our future. I have been fortunate to have had these factors work in my favor. While choosing medicine was exhilarating, moving to the United States in my early twenties, where I had no close family, to pursue higher training was a cause of great angst for my parents. Nevertheless, all that I received from them was love, and financial and emotional support, for an arduous year as I obtained clinical and research experience in New York City and Miami hospitals before matching into residency in 2017. I realize this privilege is uncommon for many, especially females, across the globe and I am forever indebted to my family for their support.