Thursday, March 14, 2019

2018-19 AAEM/RSA Medical Student Scholarship Winners Share Why They Are Choosing EM

Author: Jordan Neichelle Powell
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

RSA is proud to share the following essay from one of the 2018-2019 Medical Student Scholarship winners, Jordan Neichelle Powell. We felt this essay best exemplified why she is choosing EM as a specialty. Congratulations, Jordan!

One cold winter night during a pediatric emergency medicine (EM) shift I had the pleasure of taking care of a nine-year-old girl with what I thought would be a typical sick visit during the winter season. Upon informing the parent and the child that she would soon be discharged, she stopped me before leaving the room. She informed me that she had a secret to tell me. As I approached her bedside, she timorously shared that she has never seen someone that looked like her take care of her. I remained silent since the words that so easily flowed from her mouth were not what I was expecting. She then shared that she wanted to be a doctor just like me one day. Experiencing sudden shock, I also felt a sense of humbling warmth. Before I left her I hugged her and whispered back in her ear that she could be anything that she wanted to be. That moment, is one of many that constantly remind me of why I went into medicine and decided to pursue Emergency Medicine as my specialty. This specialty not only allows me to be a positive influence on those underrepresented in the community but has also been an opportunity to learn from and advocate for patients as well. It can be something as small as representation and letting a little girl know that she too can be whatever she wants to be; or, on a larger scale, making sure that a patient knows that they are safe, heard, and cared for.

Growing up the oldest of six siblings, in a military household, we moved frequently, thus affording me the opportunity to meet different people from diverse backgrounds. The experiences that I have had throughout my academic career has aided in shaping my perspective on the type of physician I want to be. During various volunteering, leadership, or community engagement experiences, I always thought I was providing a service by helping those I worked with when in reality, they were teaching me. Teaching me about myself, the world, and how much of an impact I could have on people as a physician one day. Once my parents divorced, I experienced hardships but nothing compared to what the children and adults I would interact with encountered on a daily basis. Ever since my initial encounter in the ED, I was in awe of the physicians that I shadowed. Their ability to take charge and lead in high stress situations in a calm manner and afterwards interact with patients and their loved ones with compassion and empathy always amazed me. I have not witnessed this type of care as frequently in other fields. Studying medicine has allowed me to meet so many different people from diverse backgrounds while having the privilege to be involved with their care. My ability to connect with various patients allows them to feel comfortable with me and see me as an ally in their care.

In EM, I have encountered countless physicians who have empathy and advocate for patients that lack a voice in their care. I have fallen in love with the opportunity to prioritize the welfare of patients while simultaneously taking care of their families in EM. Of all, EM physicians fearlessly take on a civic responsibility to explore alternatives to mitigate any barriers to healthcare when necessary. As a result of my experiences personally, academically and in the community I have come to realize that while I have much to contribute to different communities and cultures, I also have a great deal to learn. I hope that a medical professional of my academic and social temperament would be an asset to a medical community as an Emergency Medicine physician given the opportunity to serve.

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