My Path to Become a Pediatric Surgeon

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It was a simple facility; concrete walls, dirt floors, and a line of beds were pushed to one part of the room to avoid the area in the roof that leaked a steady stream of brown water. Within 100 feet from the door I passed a wheelchair-bound child suffering from severe club feet, a newborn in an adult size bed being kept alive by a ventilator next to a healthy but malnourished infant in a makeshift playpen screaming to get anyone’s attention. This was my first day on a medical mission trip to Jamaica. I was fourteen at the time and had no idea the impact the kids from that orphanage would have on my life. When I returned from this trip I knew I wanted to do more for children in underserved communities with poor access to care. The experience drew my attention to the need for child advocates and caring healthcare providers.

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I spent a lot of my time in undergrad volunteering with children. As the president of the Stop Diabetes Organization, I was able to go to schools in the area and teach kids about healthy lifestyles as well as work with children with mental and physical disabilities. I continued this at OUHCOM as an active member in the pediatric club, and volunteering in a pediatric orthopedic office in my free time. These experiences fueled my drive to succeed and fostered my patience and communication skills, giving me the necessary skills to effectively help guide the children I will be treating and educate their parents in my future residency and practice.

For most of my time pursuing medicine, I thought I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon. I’ve always loved working with children. I enjoy the innocence, compassion and joy children bring even when they aren’t feeling well. There’s something about the resilience and hope children bring into the treatment algorithm that makes pediatrics so appealing to me. I wanted to be able to correct the ailments that I saw at that orphanage that I knew were curable. I wanted to make a difference in young children’s lives and help them be the most they could be. It wasn’t until I started medical school that I started realizing that surgically correcting physical issues wasn’t the only way to impact these children. As I worked more with general pediatricians and picked up extra hours in the clinic and nursery I was able to appreciate the intricacies that went into the development and overall health of each child. The unique ability to be a positive influence on the adults they will grow into is a humbling thought, and I would love that kind of opportunity.

I believe my drive, compassion and leadership skills make me a great candidate for pediatric residency and a career as a pediatrician. I want to build strong relationships with my patients and gain the trust of their parents to better each individual’s care. I want to bring comfort and hope to my patients and their families. I look forward to being a part of a rewarding and fascinating specialty where I can educate, treat and advocate for the health and well-being of my patients, where I can serve the young children in need of care, where I can make a difference.

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