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|SURGERY RESIDENCY PERSONAL STATEMENT, Changing from one specialty to another||
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GENERAL SURGERY RESIDENCY
During third year clinical rotations I found that surgery and medicine both interested me and had a difficult time deciding between them. I enjoyed the human interaction that medicine allowed and enjoyed the diversity of cases I encountered. I saw medicine as an opportunity to continually review cases in subspecialty fields that I found interesting, including gastroenterology and infectious diseases. But I also thrived in the high-pressure and time-efficient environment of surgery that stressed results as its main driving force. The cases varied from simple outpatient procedures to life-saving operations. After every case there was a sense of accomplishment in having attained a goal and a sincere gratitude in patients when they were discharged. Their lives had been transformed and they had their surgeons to credit. That was most evident with the patients who had recently received a diagnosis of cancer. There is a certain sense of despair and grief patients undergo when they hear the word cancer. People often feel that they have been given a death sentence when they learn of their diagnosis. Surgeons have the ability to give them hope again and a substantial opportunity at complete recovery. I eventually settled on medicine and matched at Small Clinical University, where I am currently an intern.
Early in my residency I realized that career choices are as much about finding an area of interest as they are about finding a good personality match. I enjoy many aspects of medicine and continue to learn about a wide spectrum of disease processes. However, I do not feel that medicine matches my energy level well, my ability to make prompt medical decisions and my joy for finding definitive solutions to problems. I find myself drawn to procedures knowing that their outcome is largely dependent on my skill. I enjoy the cases that allow me to create treatment plans that I know will be curative. I tend to gravitate toward cases such as infections, knowing that the correct antibiotic or drainage
will solve that patient’s problem. I also like to care for patients with GI bleeds, knowing that banding varices or sclerosing ulcers will be a definitive treatment. But internal medicine is largely about managing chronic problems that have no cure, only ongoing interval treatments. I have a difficult time feeling a sense of accomplishment when all I can offer patients is to curtail the progression of their disease. While I continue to enjoy medicine from an academic standpoint, I have been unable to fulfill my career expectations. Having traveled from the preventive end of the spectrum, such as public health, I expected that medical school would train me to heal. I do not believe that I will be able to fulfill that desire in internal medicine.
I have realized that surgery offers patients the opportunity for cure and improvement of their conditions and rewards physicians with a tangible outcome for their efforts. I am better suited for a profession that has definitive beginnings and endpoints and excel in environments that are structured. My experience in medicine will be of great value while managing patients pre and post-op. I have learned how to optimize drug regimens before surgery and can offer the ability to manage comorbid conditions that are commonplace in post-op courses such as infections, diabetes, and heart disease. I have an understanding of the logistics of hospital care and experience prioritizing tasks for timely discharges. I am fluent in Spanish and have extensive experience working with Hispanic populations. I know how to work as part of a team and having rotated through different departments I have the ability to adapt quickly and remain flexible. The skills I have acquired up to this point will be a good foundation upon which to build my surgical training. I have realized that becoming a surgeon would bring me greatest personal and professional satisfaction.