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IM Residency, Cardiac, Filipino

November 2, 2015

The path to my becoming a doctor has not been an easy one. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a physician but, in the Philippines, the costs involved are beyond the means of almost all families, and this was so in my own case. I had been a straight ‘A’ student throughout school, thanks to teacher parents, who had both achieved their own professional goals in the face of many obstacles. My parents instilled an uncompromising work ethic in me that has served me very well in life so far and continues to do so.

As medical studies were beyond my parents’ means, I decided to study nursing as a financially achievable alternative. I loved my studies and did very well (missing graduating with honors by only 0.03). Having graduated from Nursing School, my vocation in healthcare was fully confirmed but I still yearned to be a doctor. By this point, all my four elder siblings were successfully employed and they agreed to help with the costs, my parents sold an asset intended to partially fund their retirement and, to my great joy, my medical studies began. I was determined to repay the sacrifices made on my behalf by excelling and not merely qualifying. Life was still difficult, buying books often meant missing a meal or two; I sometimes leapt off the bus to school long before the bus arrived there to save a few precious coins. However, I still managed to finish in the top 7% of my class and I propose these facts to you as confirmation of my ability to endure any hardships that a residency will entail.

My diligence was rewarded, and my relations’ financial burden lightened, by the award of a highly competitive scholarship which entirely funded the final year of my studies. I graduated with honors to the delight of my parents and siblings; and I admit that I was fairly pleased too!

Unlike most of my classmates, I had made no choice about a specialty when starting medical school. However this changed when I participated in the first of many medical missions in rural areas of my country. Each morning, I was tasked to assist Internal Medicine consultants and residents to undertake pre-operative evaluation and clearance of patients scheduled for surgery; in the afternoons my tasks were to diagnose and treat various medical conditions among out-patients; in the evening I followed up post-operative patients. I loved the diversity of the patient population involved in the work and the variety of conditions treated. I learned so much and so quickly that after four weeks of working in medical missions, I felt ready to hit the wards in my clerkship year! I joined further medical missions in my second year and my preferred specialty was fully confirmed. I was awarded very high grades in Internal Medicine during my clinical rotations and, whenever an opportunity arose, I volunteered to discuss my patients’ cases in ‘admitting conferences’ and ward rounds. I was very pleased to be invited to present a case with my resident during ‘grand rounds’ while still in my clerkship in Internal Medicine.

Following graduation, I undertook a year of post-graduate internship at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital. I was awarded the Outstanding Intern Award by the Internship Committee. I was the leader of an internship group that won the annual Post-graduate Interns’ Best Scientific Paper award. The group proved that the antimicrobial properties of electro-activated water were superior to common antiseptics such as Povidone, iodine and Chlorohexidine.

Since my arrival in the US five years ago, I have been working as a cardiac/open heart surgery/medical/surgical nurse while studying to complete my licensure examinations. This has certainly not been easy but I believe that this will confirm my work ethic and determination to succeed in medicine; it will also provide a reassurance about my ability to work long hours where necessary. My substantial nursing experience has been enormously valuable to me and to my future patients. I have treated a diverse population suffering a very wide range of conditions, I have acquired an ability to remain calm and focused in potentially stressful situations, I have enhanced my decision making abilities and have acquired a high degree of ‘bedside skills’. As a critical care nurse I am responsible for coordinating the various aspects of patient care e.g. pharmacy, physical therapy, nutrition, ancillary procedures, case management and home health. This has made me fully aware of the value of an effective team and how they are organized and motivated. I consider myself an excellent ‘team player’.

I am fully aware of the special need to be culturally sensitive and aware in the provision of healthcare. I came to the US without any friends, relatives of contacts of any kind and consequently understand the feelings of those who are making cultural adjustments. I have happily worked, studied and socialized with people of many cultural and social backgrounds since arriving in the US and consider it a great pleasure to do so.

I have had ample opportunity to observe and understand the medical environment in the US through my nursing experience. I have also been able to observe many doctors at work, from the adequate to the excellent. It seems to me that the excellent physician distinguishes him/herself by an attitude of not only caring for the patient but also in caring about them, and patients seem to intuitively realize when this is the case. I am determined to be an excellent doctor and Internal Medicine specialist.

My goals are: to successfully complete a challenging residency in Internal Medicine and, ultimately, to become a cardiologist and faculty member in a teaching hospital here in the US. I also intend to assist aspiring Filipino doctors by sharing my knowledge and skills as a visiting cardiology lecturer. I also hope, when possible, to provide some direct financial assistance to a Filipino student with potential who cannot fully fund his or her medical studies.

I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for residencies in this popular specialty. However I genuinely believe that I am an exceptional candidate. I have a very good academic background, achieved in the face of many obstacles and I have substantial and relevant nursing experience, however my main recommendation is a passion for, and demonstrated skills in, internal medicine that I look forward to fully demonstrating and applying during my residency. 

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