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General Surgery Personal Statement #5

Few people can describe their career as a privilege. Yet, I feel that this is the best word to describe my outlook on a career in general surgery. Certainly other words would complete the description challenging, passionate, fullfilling, and even at times, tiring and consuming. Still, the word privilege harkens true. In particular, the oncology aspect of general surgery inspires me above all others, and it is from this that my passion and sense of privilege have been fostered. I have been amazed at how cancer patients allow you to witness their vulnerabilities and their triumphs. It is an ultimate sense of satisfaction to be able to offer someone a treatment that could be life-saving, life-prolonging, or even just pain-relieving. To focus your intellectual and technical abilities on this goal, and to be able to offer your service to people when they are in the utmost need, is indeed a privilege.
While difficult to put into words, my experiences throughout clerkship have affirmed my desire to be a general surgeon. I have tried to parse out the reasons why I am attracted to this field. First, it provides technical feats and challenges. I have been struck by a sense of fulfillment at completing an operation and witnessing a tangible result. I am amazed at how each patient and scenario brings a unique challenge to what may seem like a repetitive surgery. Secondly, there are the diagnostic challenges to this field. Whether evaluating a lump or a pain, surgeons must be true diagnosticians. It is indeed an intellectual challenge to take scattered pieces of a puzzle and meld them into a final diagnosis and treatment plan. Thirdly, there is immense diversity and variety within general surgery. I feel it is one of the few specialties left that allows you to have sub-specialty knowledge yet still affords the opportunity to practice the core general tasks as well. I am excited about the immense practice possibilities that this affords. Fourthly, I am attracted to the fact that general surgery is problem-focused. While so many patients in our medical system have a complexity of issues, the surgeon is generally asked to address just one of these problems. Given this role, I find it much easier to remain goal-oriented; that is to say, I can see complex patients within the context of their problems and am not overrun by each individual issue. In line with this thought, I find that the patient contact itself is meaningful and rewarding. I think this is due mainly to the fact that patient interactions are largely goal-oriented themselves. Finally, I am attracted to the academic opportunities within surgery, particularly surrounding oncology. The value that such work holds for both individuals and the community is exciting. It is also appealing because oncology is such a multi-disciplinary field and thus offers me the unique ability to learn from peers in many areas of medicine. I have been particularly interested in the burgeoning knowledge of the genetic aspects of cancer and its applicability to patient care.
With respect to a surgical residency, I feel I have numerous strengths to bring to this endeavour. Firstly, I have a strong academic background, as demonstrated elsewhere in my application. This includes excelling in my core and elective rotations in surgery, as well as my other core rotations. I have been on the Dean's List of our faculty for the past two years, and have won a scholarship in each year of medical school. With regards to my surgery rotations, I feel I have demonstrated a strong ability given my level of training. I strive to learn new skills efficiently and correctly, am quick to learn from the clinical scenarios I am presented with, and respond well to constructive criticism. Next, I have superior communication skills. These have been fostered by years of public speaking and debating, including successful participation in numerous national and international competitions. These skills have translated well into my medical career. With colleagues, it has been an asset in presenting formal and informal rounds, and enables me to synthesize a case into a concise, cohesive story. With patients, it has been particularly useful in reading the nuances of their expressions and ensuring that they understand the information I wish to convey to them. These skills further translate into a desire and aptitude for teaching, which I look forward to developing throughout residency. Thirdly, I have both a strong background and interest in research. During my bachelor's degree, I worked extensively in a basic research lab. This work culminated in a published article, as well as some presentations. This degree also included strong teaching in statistics and critical appraisal. These skills have been an asset in medical school and I look forward to building on them further. Currently, they have allowed me to initiate my own research project in the medical education field. Finally, I have a group of skills that help me in the daily work environment. I am dedicated and enjoy my work thoroughly. I endeavour to create a comfortable and friendly environment with colleagues. I feel I am also someone who looks out for others. I thrive under pressure, which I feel is uniquely suited to a surgical residency. In that vane, I also pride myself on being very organized.
At this point, I would like to talk a bit about myself outside of medicine. I keep myself busy in what little spare time I have. For example, I have enjoyed photography for many years. I am drawn to textures, unusual angles, and the richness of colours. I love the idea of translating how I see the world onto a piece of paper. I also enjoy running. I find it a personal challenge, where I can set my own goals and meet them. It's also a great way to enjoy the local sights and to burn off stress. I am a music lover too. I maintain a very diverse collection of C.D.'s, and catch the odd live performance when I can. I read as much as time permits. Again it's a diverse collection, but I've maintained a particular interest in modern Canadian literature. I've found it to be a unique opportunity for reflection on our society as well as myself. Finally, I dabble in lots of tasks as an additional creative output. It may be as simple as cooking a new recipe or complex as refinishing furniture. I have knitted scarves and made candles. I am not an expert in any of them, but enjoy having little projects to keep me occupied. On a more personal note, I was born and raised in _______. I have a small but close-knit family. For some years, we were a three-generational home and this included taking care of my ailing grandmother. This has helped me develop a strong sense of family and community. I feel it is a strong part of me and it permeates my personal and professional life.
There are numerous reasons why I am interested in the _______ surgery program in particular. First and foremost, I have enjoyed working here during clerkship. I have respect for those who work here and am confident that I would be well trained. The clinical experience at this school, especially during the early years of residency, is definitely a strength. Furthermore, I have a strong desire to work in _______ at the completion of my training. _______ has a sense of community that is stronger than any other place I have visited. This provides great personal and professional satisfaction. I greatly appreciate feeling connected to the community that I am serving. Of great importance to me as well is the large network of family and friends that I have here. Residency is a demanding time and knowing that I will have support throughout it is very reassuring. Throughout medical school my friends have been my best escape from the intensity of medicine and I do not know if I would have such an outlet in any other city. Which brings me to the city itself: sure the weather may leave something to the imagination, but _______ is still a vibrant place to live. It has great restaurants, excellent music, and amazing people; it's everything I enjoy.
In conclusion, I hope this has given you some insight into me. I would like to think of
myself as dedicated, talented, and compassionate. I am looking for a residency program that can not only fulfill my professional goals but for an environment that can make that experience enjoyable; I am sure you are looking for the same from your candidates. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this further. Thank-you very much for your time and consideration.


General Surgery Personal Statement #5

 

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About USMLE

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) sponsors USMLE.
The Three Steps of the USMLE
Step 1 tests the important concepts of basic sciences basic to the practice of medicine. It also places special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. Step 1 ensures mastery of the sciences that provide a foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine. It also tests the scientific principles required for maintenance of competence through lifelong learning.
Step 2 CK tests the medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of patient care under supervision. It also includes emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Step 2 CK ensures that due attention is devoted to principles of clinical sciences and basic patient-centered skills.
Step 2 CS tests your capacity to practice and provide good medical service in real-life situations. It also tests your communication skills.
Step 3 tests your medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine. Step 3 provides a final assessment of physicians assuming independent responsibility for delivering general medical care.

 

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