My decision to pursue a career in medicine was solidified through a culmination of experiences with my younger brother, Brian, who is autistic. Interacting with Brian has given me discernment in treating people in a vulnerable position with kindness and affection. The love that has grown between us has also given me a practical understanding of how illness can affect a person and the people around them. It has shown me that in order to become the devoted and responsive physician I want to be, I have to first be a devoted and responsive person. Living with Brian has made me want to become a doctor so that I can be a positive influence on people’s lives.
I feel blessed because I not only have the scientific talents needed to become a doctor, I also have the insight required. Because I volunteer in the emergency room at the hospital close to my college, I have encountered many students. Once, when a student from one of my classes arrived, I had the chance to talk to him. He had received a head injury from a softball and concern was etched on his face as he waited for his test results. While the doctors and nurses were busy elsewhere and he lay there alone, I decided to walk over and reassure him. It really brought home the importance of doctors being as caring and sensitive as they are technically talented because I believe the best physicians care for their patients both physically and emotionally.
My life experiences have fine-tuned my innate sensitivity, but it has been my compelling desire to strive for excellence that has caused me to use my talents to the fullest. I have always believed in doing the best I can in all my endeavors whether it be earning top grades, running, or serving as a student leader. Hard work and dedication are the driving forces than enable me to excel. This is why when I ran varsity cross country my sophomore year of college, I spent the previous summer running 1300 miles; I knew that was what it would take for me to make varsity.
Because a career in medicine will enable me to continue to practice these principles, I have always considered becoming a physician. During my preceptorship at Baylor College of Medicine, I have learned the realities of this choice. Being a doctor means long hours, mountains of paperwork, and an ever-present beeper, but I choose this profession gladly. At Baylor I saw a patient in a vegetative state who had an unnecessary intestinal procedure. This procedure turned out to be unnecessary because a feeding tube still had to be paced in his stomach. Because this patient was incompetent, I was reminded of my brother, Brian, and other patients who can not speak on their own behalf. The experience made me want to be able to see that all patients receive the best medical care possible. Because it is a natural part of my character to be empathetic to people’s needs and desires and to give of myself, I know that I will be a doctor who not only cares for my patients, I will also care about them.