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Family Medicine Residency, Indian, Canada

July 29, 2017

I first visited India at the age of 13 and this exposure to poverty, deprivation and obvious shortage of healthcare provision had a profound effect on me and persuaded me that I had an obligation to ‘make a difference’ in the world and ultimately led me to my decision to enter medicine. My aunt is a physician and her influence was also another significant factor in my decision. She is a hero to me since she qualified to practice in Canada only through sheer determination in the face of numerous obstacles and took on many unskilled and monotonous jobs to enable her to do so.

My aim in seeking to qualify as a physician was to make a difference and I cannot think of an area of medicine in which I can make a more positive difference to the lives of others than to practice Family Medicine and the prospect of doing so excites me enormously. I sought maximum exposure to Family Medicine during my traineeships and elective training and I am currently undertaking a clinical traineeship in Family Medicine in Mission, B.C., Canada. I am seeing patients every day under the supervision of a very experienced family physician in his practice and this exposure to the day to day work in Family Medicine has totally confirmed me in my choice of specialty. I have enjoyed every aspect of the work and am learning a great deal.

My initial medical training was undertaken at one of India’s most prestigious medical schools. Diagnostic skills of a high order are routine in a country where one must often rely solely on a physical examination and history because of a lack of access to other diagnostic tools and I feel that this background has been of great advantage in this respect, among others. Studying in India has also enabled me to appreciate contrasts between medicine as practiced there and in Canada and has provided me with many useful insights that I would otherwise lack. I certainly became very conscious of the fact that material wealth and contentment are certainly not as closely linked as many in the west appear to believe and that the ‘simple life’ has much to commend it.

I am very much aware that a Family Medicine practitioner must be very sensitive to non-verbal signals. One of my most significant experiences in this matter occurred when a patient presented with cold symptoms. During the consultation I became aware that something else was ‘going on’ and asked more questions. It transpired that he was suffering suicidal thoughts, that he had told no-one about this and nor was he prepared to. He had recently lost his job and thought that his death would solve his family’s financial problems. I counselled the patient over a two month period during which he ‘opened up’ to me and we were finally able to reach a happy conclusion to his situation and feelings. This situation also provided me with significant exposure to effective counselling techniques.

My long term ambition is to practice in my home town. It is my intention to ‘set down roots’ and to create and maintain long term relationships with a local patient base and with the wider community. It is clear to me that the more familiar a physician is with a patient and his/her family background and social and working environments, the more effective he or she is able to be.  I seek to perfect my diagnostic skills, which are so vital in this specialty, and to become a physician who promotes health education and preventative medicine rather than merely being involved in symptom management. I intend to create and maintain close links with the local hospital. I also hope to be able to work, on a larger on scale, on two particularly significant areas of obesity/nutrition and diabetes/hypertension. I know that not all health education projects are particularly effective and I am very interested in assisting in research related to establishing the most effective educational techniques to apply to different health problems and patient populations and especially to the two matters in which I have developed a special interest.

I am also interested in the effects of the ‘aging population’ and know that this is a significant and growing challenge that is of particular relevance to Family Medicine. I come from a culture in which the aged are treated with special care and respect. I relate well to the aged because of this cultural background and having been raised with grandparents in the family home.

I am conscious that cultural awareness and sensitivity is especially important in the practice of Family Medicine. I have happily worked with, studied alongside and treated people from many social and cultural backgrounds. I come from a culture in which hospitality, personal warmth and a well-developed sense of sense of humour are the norm. Happily, I have acquired these traits that enable me to easily establish and develop friendly and trusting relationships with colleagues and patients. I am fairly well-travelled worldwide and speak Hindi and Punjabi in addition to English.

I am confident that I possess the natural characteristics of empathy and strong interest in the well-being of others together with the training, background and academic ability that will enable me to bring useful insights in order to ‘add value’ to the program for my own professional development, that of fellow students and, of course, for the benefit of patients.

Thank you for considering my application.

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