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Residency Radiation Oncology, Prostate


I was in no hurry to focus exclusively on a specialty as a physician, and I gave the matter a great deal of thought for several years before I decided to build a lifetime career in Radiation Oncology. I looked closely at many specialties, paying particular attention to what each offers to the practicing physician. From there, I tried to put myself in the same place and imagine myself practicing. With every specialty, there were things that I liked that gave me a spark of enthusiasm with the prospect of practicing in each. There were also enough drawbacks that made me uneasy about committing to any of them for the rest of my career. That is until I came across Radiation Oncology. I had never heard of it until the beginning of my 3rd year. 

I was intrigued from the start. As I read and learned more, I decided to work with a practicing Radiation Oncologist in my hometown during spring break. I watched as Dr. C used painstaking precision to place prostate implants, each in the exact location within the tumor. As he calculated the dosing of external radiation, I had a sense of excitement because of the parallels to the training in dose calculation that I received in pharmacy school. As he discussed with the patients the possibilities for a cure and the available options for treatment, I became even more encouraged about the role of a Radiation Oncologist as a patient educator. With every encounter, my interest grew. It became clear that I would be happiest practicing as a Radiation Oncologist. 

I am drawn to the treatment process in Radiation Oncology. Growing up, my family owned a small business that entailed undertaking a diverse order of projects. Each project required us to plan carefully, execute our plan and then follow through to completion. As a youngster, it was often overwhelming, but as time passed and my understanding and level of involvement grew, I learned to take pride in the process. I am drawn to things that require planning, execution, and follow-through. 

I am a dedicated learner and a hard worker, but my best attribute is a deep concern for patient well-being. I feel it is critical to get the proper treatment for the patient. It is also essential to me that the patient is treated respectfully and, ultimately, is given a feeling of empowerment by my listening to and responding to their questions and making them feel at ease. One of the best feelings that I have had in my clinical clerkships has been when a patient or family member has expressed their gratitude to me for taking the time to listen to their questions and explain to them what was going on. This is the most rewarding aspect of medicine in any specialty. Still, I believe it will be especially so in Radiation Oncology due to the unique personal and emotional circumstances surrounding a cancer diagnosis. 

I am eager to start my formal training in Radiation Oncology. I did not make this decision until after I had much thought and effort. I know that the movement is rigorous. However, I look forward to the satisfaction of taking all specialized training and education, combined with my abilities, and using them to prolong lives and alleviate suffering in others.

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