It was 2:30 in the morning when my dad woke me yelling “Anthony, come quick!” I hurried over to my parent’s bedroom and saw my mother lying on the floor. Expecting the worst, I mentally prepared myself that I might have to perform CPR until the ambulance arrived. After checking her vitals and ensuring she was okay, I helped her onto the bed and called 911. After waiting several minutes in the emergency room, we were greeted by Dr. Stellpflug. After he took a thorough history and explained the tests he planned on ordering, he assured us he would take excellent care of her and comforted not only her anxiety but mine as well. This was one of the instances that inspired me to pursue a career in medicine and showed me the importance of a physician’s bedside manner, as well as the communication between a doctor, a patient, and their family. I was grateful to have the opportunity to shadow him after this event. Another experience that sparked my interest in medicine was learning I was born 3 ˝ months premature. I was inspired by the stories of empathy and the skills of the neonatal physicians. The experiences I encountered while working in a hospital solidified my ambitions to pursue a career in medicine.
Working in healthcare has allowed me the opportunity and honor to assist in the care of members of my community. While in college I received invaluable experience working as a transporter. My job entailed escorting patients to their diagnostic imaging exams and assisting the radiology technicians. One of the instances that stand out was caring for a patient named Joe who had been in a severe car accident that left his mobility impaired. Joe’s accident stood out because my dad was involved in a similar accident when I was younger. Being involved in the team effort for Joe’s care reminded me of the excellent care my dad received from the hospital staff and physicians. I enjoyed watching Joe progress from being bed ridden with multiple fractures to using crutches and after months of physical therapy, having the ability to walk under his own power.
I have gained a better understanding and appreciation for the career I’ve chosen to pursue when I started shadowing Dr. Fisher. I have learned that a doctor plays the role of teacher, educating their patients about their condition and symptoms, as well as which medications to avoid based on their medical history. Dr. Fisher showed me that a great doctor is compassionate, intelligent, and kindhearted. I respect how he often made his patient a partner in their medical case and I have learned a sense of humor goes a long way and can make a tremendous difference in the patient’s mindset and demeanor. I learned that the physician-patient relationship is a team effort requiring a great deal of communication and understanding on both ends. Each patient isn’t just a collection of symptoms; each patient has his or her own unique story. I took what he taught me to heart and I understand that medicine is a lifelong journey which entails reading and expanding my knowledge on new research, medications, and technology for the benefit of my future patients. This is one of the aspects of medicine that is so intriguing to me and I hope to pursue it in the future.
My interest in science and research adds to my fascination of a career in medicine. From general biology to immunology, to perhaps my favorite course anatomy and physiology, all of my science classes have their share of new discoveries. I have cherished the opportunity to see real life examples at my job based on the concepts learned in my classes, such as autoimmune diseases, pH changes in diabetic ketoacidosis, and the use of intravenous immunoglobulins. I was excited to have the opportunity to perform my own research project. The challenges were gratifying as I wondered what the results would show after months of work. Despite being only on the undergraduate level, the idea that the results from the project I created would advance our knowledge of a particular area of science was exhilarating.
Although I have found research can be very rewarding, my five years of clinical experience has shown me that I would thrive in the clinical side of medicine by serving the underprivileged rather than pursuing a clinical research career. I look forward to the challenges and rewards a career as a physician offers.