Kany Aziz, MS4 – Florida State University
There’s no doubt medicine is changing. As the battle between the government, insurance companies, and physicians heats up, the rest of the nation watches with tension and hope, anxious about how the pieces will fall. As a fourth year medical student, I find myself at the crossroads of the ideology and the reality of medicine.
By the end of my third year, I had decided to pursue Family Medicine. I knew in my heart I would not be happy unless I could treat both adults and children. I wanted to know everything in terms of disease and treatment. And so despite my indifference to Obstetrics, I started looking at residency programs with international electives. Very soon after that, an Oncologist I was working with asked a life changing question. Why wasn’t I applying to Med-Peds? Truth be told, I didn’t know what it was. And so I began my research and was not just delighted with what I found, I was ecstatic.
This was what I was looking for! How was it possible that I had gone so far into my career without ever knowing about Med-Peds? And what if that doctor hadn’t mentioned it? It begs the question, how many life decisions are made due to a lack of knowledge instead of a surplus of information?
By a stroke of fate, I found myself in a conversation with Dr. Allen Friedland, the Chairman of the Med-Peds section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. I felt even more convinced that I was heading in the right direction. With his help and guidance, I contacted the president of the student council at my medical school to form a Med-Peds subcommittee in the Pediatric Interest Group with the intention of hosting at least two workshops about the specialty to the first and second year medical students. While the details are still being worked out, I feel confident that the workshops that will take place and will increase their awareness of opportunities.
“Its awareness that helps medical students differentiate between the idealogy and reality of medicine”
It’s this awareness that helps medical students differentiate between the ideology and the reality of medicine. There are times we find ourselves lacking the experience needed to make an educational decision and so we rely on ideology–i.e. what should be and not necessarily what is. We design our fourth year schedules half way into our third year and apply to residency programs after only a few fourth year clinical rotations. Unfortunately, but understandably, it is easy to be misguided. While it is unreasonable to expect adequate exposure to all specialties by our fourth year, it is not unreasonable to expect the knowledge of their existence. At that point, it becomes our responsibility to pursue further information, a task we would gladly take on if it meant finding our perfect match in medicine.
I believe the best way to spread awareness is by exposing students early in their careers through interest groups. First and second year medical students must be allowed the opportunity to experience the specialty of their choice before third and fourth year. Student organizations provide a window into the reality of medicine through workshops and interactions with physicians.
While my time as a medical student is almost over, I can honestly say that I enjoyed my third year rotations and am looking forward to the upcoming challenges of fourth year. Next year, I hope to continue my career as a Med-Peds resident and learn as much as I can about taking care of adults and children, domestically and internationally.