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 made my decision to build a lifetime career in Radiation Oncology. I took a close look 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 which gave 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 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 find myself drawn to things that require planning, execution and follow through. 

I am a dedicated learner and a hard worker, but the best attribute that I have is a deep concern for patient well-being. I feel it is critical to get the right treatment for the patient. It is also very important 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 most rewarding aspect of medicine in any specialty, but I believe that it will be especially so in Radiation Oncology due to the special personal and emotional circumstances surrounding a diagnosis of cancer. 

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

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