My Motivation To Build A Career In Radiology

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Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Throughout my life, I have relied on my intellectual curiosity to push me forward. With my passion for improving others’ lives and my fascination with medical sciences, I have been drawn to the field of medicine from a young age. I grew up in a small, isolated town in India with significant healthcare needs, but limited access to healthcare services. I experienced this limit firsthand, when, at the tender age of four, I lost my father in an accident. Because of the limited emergency care services in my small town, treatment that might have rescued him was delayed. As I grew older, the memory of my father’s demise combined with a strong desire to improve the lives of others sparked my interest in medicine. Since my childhood, I have admired my mother’s optimism, hard work, and ability to juggle tasks at work, home, and school to provide a better life for her daughters. Her work demanded multiple relocations. Moving to new places brought me new challenges of adapting to new cultures, schools, and people. But in the midst of uncertainty, my family values and diverse life experiences helped me to learn, understand, and respect different perspectives and made me empathetic and considerate. Additionally, being the middle child of three sisters, I learnt to be responsible and competitive from my older sister while my younger sister helped me to be a good listener; qualities essential for a physician.

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After completing high school, I wanted to devote my life to caring for the sick and injured. I applied to medical school and I have never been more excited or proud than I was on my first day! Fast forward to the beginning of third year. I was eager and anxious about what awaited me as I began rotations. Surgery was my first rotation. I distinctly remember the case of a young boy who came with a sudden pain and swelling in the scrotum. With several differentials on the list, it was only after the doppler that the right diagnosis of testicular torsion was reached, which helped proper management of the patient. Similarly, in all the subsequent rotations I realized that radiology was the center. Every department required the appropriate imaging and the expert opinion of a radiologist. It was amazing to me that every specialty works so closely with radiology, a service that’s considered to be in the dark.

During my final year of medical school my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I spent countless hours in the hospital helping her get through the extremely painful stages. This gave me an opportunity to interact with doctors to understand the diagnoses with clinical, radiological, and pathological supportive findings. My mother’s radiologist provided an extensive explanation about the various mammography techniques, including spot compression, magnification views, and varied angled views, which may characterize a lesion more precisely. I was mesmerized with the advanced technique of U/S guided FNAC, which allowed the radiologist to get a tissue biopsy for a precise diagnosis. I became further intrigued with the practice of radiology and I was captivated by how radiologists had the power to identify critical details and develop differential diagnosis and treatment plans that were vital to patient care. I knew that this was my calling.

After I graduated from medical school, I continued to work in government hospitals in India to gain hands-on clinical experience. In 2016, I made the difficult choice to move to the United States to pursue a better medical career. It was in the United States that I got the opportunity to volunteer as a research assistant at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in Saint Louis, Missouri. Not only did this experience improve my research skills, but the interactions with various radiologists in the lecture hall and reading room helped me make the judgement call to pursue radiology as a specialty. Diagnostic radiology presents me with the challenging cases that provide the opportunity to see a diverse caseload on a regular basis. It will allow me to have a meaningful impact on a range of patients daily. I intend to bring an inquiring mind, fostered in school, volunteer experiences, and real-life experiences. I have high expectations from my preliminary year and believe the training that I will receive throughout the course of preliminary Surgery at your program will not only help me develop a strong base for my career in Radiology but also help improve my decision making skills, capability to work under pressure and be a team leader. Although I may be there only for a year, I seek a rigorous program with a nurturing environment and supportive faculty members that will allow me to become a superb physician.

14 May 2021

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