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The diverse, yet interlinked nature of Internal Medicine resonates with my personal mission of working in an intellectually stimulating yet practical field while providing care to my patients in an all-encompassing manner. My love for Internal Medicine began after starting my first clinical rotation; several years have gone by, but the memories still feel like yesterday. “She’s having a stroke”, bellowed my attending to the team while rounding, thereby setting off the emergency alert. I could not believe it, day 3 of my first clinical rotation, the same Patient X our team was managing for congestive cardiac failure secondary to hypertension, on rounds developed expressive aphasia. The mental tsunami that ensued birthed in me the desire to pursue a career in internal medicine. Although, it was exhilarating to be welcomed to the Internal Medicine clinical rotations that way; it showcased the undiluted nature of the challenges that would be expected. In retrospect, what better way to be welcomed? I was excited about the in-depth knowledge base to be acquired, the ability to identify a problem, solve it and anticipate possible complications. My attending at that time exhibited immense knowledge in making connections between the pathophysiology and associated co-morbidities which further increased my excitement and curiosity to learn more and become a better physician. Through all these years of clinical experience, I have come to the realization that Internal Medicine provides intellectual challenge coupled with the ability, not only to broaden your medical knowledge, but to also transform that knowledge into competent and effective patient-care. Internal Medicine focuses on treating the patient as whole not just the chief complaint, because the goal is to optimize patient outcomes, thus it is important to treat various etiologies of disease manifestation. My mentors whom I look up to have always been exemplary with these qualities which make it even more desirable.
My most valuable moments come from my patients who have always been my source of inspiration and strength. I have been fortunate to encounter extraordinary patients that presented with severe cases but often moderate resources to treat imposed with cultural difficulties. There have been many such cases but one that stands out is the elderly man with a diabetic foot ulcer who felt he had stepped on a “charm”, a colloquial Nigerian term that refers to a supernatural source, that he was convinced could not be treated by western medicine. He was so afraid that any attempt to seek care would end his life. Another is a young man with viral meningitis I encountered, whose parents thought he was under some diabolic manipulation. These encounters influenced the additional zeal to volunteer in underserved communities, debunking the erroneous views about the sources of their illnesses, arming them with knowledge, helping build a culture of health in the community, and providing them with the best form of care. Serving a diverse and unique patient population gave me the experience to adapt and improve my patient counseling skills through cultural competency. My desire to excel and become a better doctor influenced my decision to pursue the Internal Medicine residency training at this prestigious institution. What better place to be refined than by the great faculty members and residents of this program? While I understand the rigorous nature of residency, I am confident that my personality traits would go a long way to make me stand out. I recognize the need for humility and respect while interacting with an interdisciplinary team with a common goal and showing compassion and empathy towards the patients are key attributes I bring to the team. Most importantly, I know when to ask for help, because medicine is never about one’s ego, but delivering the best care to the patient.
I look forward with excitement to continue my journey in medicine and serve my community.
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