« To Be, Or Not To Be (In Class) | Main | Catching Winter Bugs »

How I Got Into Medicine

Ben_3_2Ben Bryner -- I’m still interviewing for residency, just trying to take it one trip at a time. Traveling and finding my way around new cities and unfamiliar hospital buildings is always a little stressful, and I won’t miss that come February. But the interviews themselves are usually a lot of fun; none of mine have been remotely stressful, and they've been great chances to talk to some very interesting people who also happen to be leaders in academic surgery.

Some of the more inane questions I’ve been asked are:

* what my SAT score was (which seems irrelevant since I took that test over a decade ago)

* why I took a year off from medical school to write this blog (I didn’t, my interviewer misunderstood my application) and

* which state contains the most ski resorts (I guessed Utah, my interviewer said it was Michigan, and when I researched it afterward I found the correct answer is New York).

But those are the exceptions, and almost always I’ve been asked some very good questions. At first I thought that shorter interviews would be better, but now that I’ve been through several, I really like the chance to discuss issues that a longer interview allows. It usually allows for a longer discussion of the program and of why I want to go into surgery, but I also think it allows for more time to discuss the city and other important factors that a short interview is a little to tight to accommodate.

The questions themselves aren’t usually a surprise; you can find lists of sample questions, and the ones you get that aren’t on that list usually make sense and are fairly easy to answer after a moment’s thought.

One of the questions I’ve only been asked recently is how I got interested in medicine in the first place. I actually haven't thought about it much for a long time, since most of my questions are about how I got interested in surgery, what kind of surgery I want to practice, what my ideal surgical job would involve (Surgeon/Pirate during the week, Rock Star on the weekends), that sort of thing.

But the experience that pushed me toward medicine was a trip with my dad (who takes his students to northern Mexico to participate in a service project at the end of a course in international development) when I was fifteen. There I met a doctor who runs a small clinic high in the mountains. He provides free health care to the impoverished Tarahumara indigenous people, some of whom walk for several hours from their isolated villages to see him.

We stocked the medical supplies we had brought in the closets and got a tour of the spare but clean facility. We had also brought some toys for kids to play with while at the clinic, and as I sat on the patio blowing soap bubbles and tossing Nerf balls with some of them, I realized I wanted to have some kind of involvement in improving global health. My plans and goals have evolved somewhat since then (this was a long time ago, before I took the SAT in fact), and I’ve gotten excited about surgery’s role in global health issues, but I guess that’s where it started.

It’s hard to fit that whole story into any interview (I left out the part about the bubbles), but I was glad for the chance to talk about it again.

January 11, 2009 in Ben Bryner | Permalink


I think its a much better experience.

Posted by: Doctors online | Aug 3, 2011 11:03:01 AM

This theme has interested me! Though it is hard and has lots of requirements, I still continue to pursue it because of a longtime dream of mine to help people recover from whatever sickness they have.

Posted by: Camarad | Aug 30, 2011 1:52:50 AM

Searched for the information on this theme, and only here I found it. My original plan was to take up medicine in college and become a doctor but I ended up being an SEO instead, but I have no regrets about it.

Posted by: Camarad | Aug 30, 2011 1:53:15 AM

An informative blog! The questions themselves aren’t usually a surprise; you can find lists of sample questions, and the ones you get that aren’t on that list usually make sense and are fairly easy to answer after a moment’s thought.

Posted by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Oct 1, 2011 1:26:13 AM

i went in medicine in 19 year....that's was great ))))

Posted by: academic freelance writing job | Nov 21, 2011 10:09:39 AM

Thanks for this I like it a good article. Look forward to reading the future.

Posted by: Seerly | Dec 7, 2011 12:47:28 AM

Well everybody does not have such cool interviews and some interviewers can be very stuffy! Thanks for posting this. Cheers!

Posted by: AMA | Jan 24, 2012 10:18:22 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.