Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
At the end of my career, I hope to look back and feel proud of the positive impact I made on the lives of others. I know becoming a pediatrician will allow me to achieve this goal. More so than in other fields of medicine, the long-term impact of a pediatrician’s actions is immense. Pediatricians actively contribute to the healthy development of children. Often, parents rely on the advice and judgment of their children’s physicians. Lessons learned on healthy life choices at an early age have incredible potential to prevent illness later in life. The opportunity to serve as an advocate and role model for children while practicing impactful preventive medicine appeals to me greatly.
I witnessed how community involvement and strong patient relationships can positively affect a child’s life when I volunteered at a summer camp after my first year of medical school. I spent a week working with a group of teenaged girls with various rheumatic diseases. For most of them, it was their last year at camp and throughout the week, they shared their camp memories with me. Their pediatric rheumatologist has returned every summer for over 15 years to enable her patients to have a typical summer camp experience. Having the ability to improve my patient’s lives through continued community involvement is one of the reasons why I choose to be a pediatrician.
During my pediatric rotations in medical school, children consistently surprised and inspired me with their remarkable resilience. I remember watching a three-week-old girl with devastating congenital heart defects return from surgery and then watching her go home with her family for the first time three weeks later. There was the sixteen-year-old boy with newly diagnosed Crohn’s Disease who wanted to play video games with me, and the seven-year-old girl with pneumonia who asked to cook me breakfast on her kitchen playset. Even through their suffering, they kept their spirits up. When I found spare time, I would often spend it with my patients on the wards to keep my spirits up as well. My experiences with patients during my pediatric rotations strengthened my resolve to pursue a pediatric residency.
I am confident I have the determination and necessary qualities to succeed in pediatrics. Based on my experiences in medical school, one of my strengths is my ability to build trust and rapport with patients and parents. During my pediatrics rotation, my attending fit in an urgent appointment one afternoon for a patient who stuck something in her ear at school. The girl screamed and kicked whenever anyone approached, and soon my attending moved on to other patients. After talking with the girl a few minutes, she agreed to let my attending wash out her ear if I stayed for the procedure. Residents I worked with during my family medicine rotation told me they were impressed with my ability to handle difficult parents of pediatric patients. One resident would tell me to “work my magic” before sending me in to see such parents. Working around team member’s strengths is important, and I look forward to contributing to my residency team.
In the immediate future, I aim to join a residency-training program at a large academic center in an urban setting. This program would allow me to work with a diverse and underserved patient population, explore my interest in primary care as well as fellowship opportunities, and provide my partner and I the personal enjoyment of working near each other in a metropolitan area. An academic environment would provide research and teaching opportunities as well as foster my intellectual curiosity. My long-term goals are to practice general pediatrics or potentially pediatric endocrinology in a similar urban setting, providing care to an underserved community and promoting patient advocacy.
Regardless of whether I ultimately become a general pediatrician or pediatric endocrinologist, my priority is to become a well-rounded physician that can treat illness in any of the pediatric specialties. As an educator and role model for my patients, I will promote healthy lifestyle choices and preventive medicine. I plan to continue to develop skills that will help build strong relationships between my patients and myself so that I can achieve my goals as a Pediatrician.