Since I was a young child, my father taught me to dream. That is how a young me, with no medical background or exposure to the healthcare profession, dreamed of becoming a provider one day. I graduated from B.J. Medical College, which is affiliated with one of the largest hospitals in Asia, Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad. I was introduced to research and the science behind it during my practice, and it was then that my dream expanded: I dreamed of one day becoming a physician-scientist. The idea of juggling caring for patients, where every patient poses a new question for science, and working in the lab to discover answers to those questions, sent an adrenaline rush to my system. It was then that I decided to pursue the dream of furthering my medical education in the United States, due to its large investment in the research sciences.
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.
“You are a bright, grown-up girl now, almost 15-years old. You must take ownership of yourself and your body and look after your physical, mental, and emotional health. Eating healthy food, making healthier choices, exercising even if just for 30 minutes, and reaching out to the therapist again will go a long, long way.” This is the kind of advice I was giving my teenage patient last week during continuity clinic, and the kind of advice I am sure you give out too, no matter what specialty you are in. However, sometimes it feels hypocritical. As a resident physician, I wonder how many times a week do you give advice to your patients that perhaps also applies to you?