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Colorectal Surgery, Public Health, Trauma

As I sat under the Saharan sun during my Peace Corps service in West Africa, I dreamed about what it would be like to be a doctor one day. That vision recently came to fruition as I stared at my first suppurative appendix, in a patient’s abdomen. I had opened; I had teased out the culprit, and here we stood looking at each other. The many years encompassing premedical studies, medical school, and now internship had prepared me as I had diagnosed my patient with acute appendicitis, and now I was ready to resolve the problem. As my attending guided me through the case, my satisfaction was unsurpassable –I was on my way to becoming a surgeon.

My parents like to say they could sense my determination from the first cry I let out like a newborn. At age five, I coaxed my father into letting me, instead of him, administer the vaccinations to the pigs he was raising. From there, my aspirations of becoming a doctor thrived. However, as a college senior, I was disappointed when I was not accepted to medical school. My ambition never wavered; I just adjusted my course and set off to learn new skills as a public health worker in West Africa. This flexibility and passion for life have allowed me never to let go of my dreams – and here I stand today: Dr. Jones. During my fourth year of medical school, intent on becoming a surgeon, I was disappointed not to obtain a flat spot in general surgery. As I reach for that goal now, however, my work as an intern at XXXX Health Care has colorfully illustrated that general surgery is indeed my career destination. I enjoy taking care of perioperative patients, learning about surgical cases and complications, and participating in the operating room as often as possible. As an essential part of the resident team, I can communicate effectively with patients and peers, manage problems, and adhere to surgical duties even after long hours because of my adaptability and determination to do my best.

I will never forget the first midline celiotomy I assisted on as a third-year medical student during my trauma rotation at Large Hospital. I watched as my female chief resident opened the gunshot victim’s abdomen with finesse and stamina akin to a sculptor shaping his most delicate art. While I have been told that great surgeons master their skills through training, I feel drawn to surgery because I love using my hands to create. Such is evident in the jewelry-making entrepreneurship I managed while in medical school. I would craft jewelry pieces with beads from all over the world in my spare time between studies, each a puzzle that unfolded like the mosaic of my life. For in my pursuit of medicine, I have been able to travel much of the world and further my education in public health, all because I have made my trials into tribulations by heeding the challenges that have presented themselves to me. As such, I will bring a wealth of life experience to a residency program, and the ability to communicate on many cultural levels, attributes necessary when encountering patients that are especially challenging to care for. 

I aspire to participate in a training program that optimizes in the attainment of surgical knowledge and skill while promoting communication and total care of the patient. Currently, I am most intrigued by the bowel and therefore leaning towards a future in colorectal surgery. Still, I favor a program with a broad patient population and diverse medical teams. Given my public health background, I am interested in pursuing clinical, epidemiological research as a part of my graduate medical education. Further, I would like to find a program that embraces the less fortunate in other countries by providing opportunities for surgical staff and possibly residents abroad. My goal is to one day be a general surgeon who knows no boundaries in the care of her my patients.

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