Residency in Pediatrics, Iran, Orphans

I hold a degree in Electrical Engineering and, during my studies, became involved in work related to medical imaging which was fascinating and I saw as a possible future career path in this area of work. During this time, I also undertook some very useful medically related research which has been published internationally.  However, I became aware that I was seeing a very limited ‘picture’ of the patients. I became more interested in the people behind the images than the images themselves, I wanted to know more, and an unexpected vocation for medicine was the result.

 Many of the skills required of a good engineer are also those called for in medicine, among these are: An analytical approach to problems, curiosity, the determination and skill to accurately diagnose the causes of a problem and a skill in establishing relationships between apparently unrelated data. The thing that an engineering career does not offer is substantial interaction with others and the opportunity to be of direct help to them. I do not regret my study of engineering and have found this background very useful in my study of medicine.

 I have carefully considered the area of work that will both set me on the most satisfying career path and also enable me to be most useful to the community. Pediatrics is the specialty that meets both requirements. In 1990, when I was a teenager, there was a massive earthquake in my home country of Iran, during which many children were orphaned. I spent the entire summer at a camp for orphans, helping the children come to terms with their situation, playing with them and trying to entertain them. It was tough but fired an empathy with children and I developed an ability to effectively communicate with them.  As a result of this experience, I undertook voluntary work at a hospital for children for 7 years, organizing and leading various activities for the children.

 Distressed children cannot always verbalize their feelings and I have acquired some skill in reading non-verbal ‘signals’ that I believe is highly relevant to this specialty. I have also learnt to concentrate on helping the children rather than my own feelings even in the most distressing situations.  I have frequently recalled my experience of my early experiences and can think of no better way of using my skills and knowledge than in providing the very best care to sick children.

 I am an experienced, effective and enthusiastic researcher. I believe that I have the potential to make a significant contribution to research in the area of pediatrics and am especially interested in primary care and public health.

 I have seen many doctors at work in the course of my MD program and volunteer activities. These have ranged from the merely competent to the excellent. I conclude that the physician’s attitude to his/her patients separates the excellent from the rest.  Excellent physicians care about their patients rather than merely caring for them and their patients intuitively realize that this is so. Excellent physicians treat every patient as an individual, worthy of their respect and not as a mere ‘bundle of symptoms’. I am determined to be an excellent pediatric physician. I need to ‘make a living’ but, more importantly, I want to ‘make a difference’ especially in the lives of children.

 I am among the founders of ‘Women’s Action Network’, an organization that assists women from developing nations. This experience has enhanced my communication, leadership and organizational skills.

 I am fully aware of the need for cultural sensitivity in health care provision and perhaps most especially in pediatrics. I have lived in Iran, Canada and the United States and know what it is to adjust to a new and unfamiliar culture. I speak Farsi as well as English and some German. I have happily studied and worked with people of many cultural and social backgrounds and enjoy doing so. I consider myself to be exceptionally culturally aware and sensitive.

 I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for residencies in this popular specialty. However, I do consider myself to be an excellent candidate. I am academically able and an experienced researcher; intellectually curious and an excellent communicator with substantial experience of interacting with sick and distressed children.

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