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“Be all that you can be!” said the U.S. Army when it took my initial love of medicine and kept me involved in what would prove to be my career choice: radiology. I hadn’t imagined that Army Reserves radiography training would become part of my education after migrating to the U.S. from Africa in 1991, but I’m eternally grateful that it did.
Although military service delayed pursuit of my original dream to become a physician, it gave me the opportunity to gain tremendous hands-on experience . I worked hard x-raying victims of severe burns, motor vehicle accidents, child abuse, and minor injuries for the Army’s military and civilian personnel while gaining greater understanding of a radiologist’s role. Yet, my limited scope of practice prevented me from interpreting the images that I had perfected with repetition. I wanted to further broaden my knowledge and purse more advanced training. I applied to a medical school with the intentions of specializing in radiology.
My background in x-ray has given me many advantages in medical school. First, I excelled in anatomy and made the dean’s list every semester. I already had a good understanding of physics, 3D spatial relationships, radiation levels, and what imaging studies to order for different illnesses. In my third year I was fascinated my seeing first-hand the diseases and procedures of internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, that I had merely read about. My curiosity and intrigue motivated me to perform at my best in each rotation. I was elated when the attending on my internal medicine rotation stated that I performed at the same level as a new intern. On my surgery rotation, my x-ray knowledge served me well in the trauma bay where I not only functioned as a medical student but also helped the x-ray technicians obtain adequate images. Each area of medicine offers aspects that I enjoy. One aspect that they all share and that captivates me the most is their everyday use of imaging. Without today’s imaging technology diagnosis and treatment of illnesses would be archaic.
Radiology is an extremely challenging and exciting field where diagnosis lies in the radiologist’s interpretation of the shades of black and white. There are no gray areas in my intention to be heavily involved in it and its continued advancement. Since my Army training, where I was first exposed to film-less imaging, I have seen and read about imaging developments such as teleradiology, cardiac MR, and 3D mammography, that I look forward to working with someday. I want to know everything about imaging photographically and medically for meaningful therapeutic and educational contributions. Choosing a career in radiology comes after several years of consideration and hands-on experience. It is a career that will enable me to expand on what I already know about x-ray and to share this knowledge and experience with future peers. When I think about radiology, I see my future: doing something that I truly want and will never regret. My curious, perceptive, action-oriented nature and my need for answers suit me well for this field.
I have worked hard and come a long way from where I began. I am ready to continue my medical education in radiology. I offer to the program where I train at my dedication and years of experience. I have served the role of an imager. Now, I want to enable myself to fully interpret images as a trained physician. Radiology’s fascinatingly noninvasive nature will allow me to practice preventive medicine and diagnose illnesses without the need for surgery while improving overall patient care. I truly will be all that I can be.