01 October/2017 – 1 April/2018

We’ve heard it since Med 1, essentially recited alongside the Hippocratic Oath: If you can survive the hell of Med 3 core clerkship, you are rewarded with the bliss of Med 4. Med 4 is the oasis of electives, a year of self-arranged clinical placements in areas you are potentially interested in pursuing as a specialty. No mandatory 30 hour Internal shifts. No more fluid rounds. As jumpy Med 1s and harried Med 3s, we would see them lounging outside Starbucks, a look of serenity on their face and the absence of study materials beside them and think in awe – They must be a Med 4.

So, when faced with this prospect of tranquility and ease, what did I do? Schedule 3 hectic months of out-of-province electives, leaving home 2 days after my final M3 exam and arriving back 2 days before Christmas.

My mom and Josh may disagree, but I promise I don’t deliberately try to make life difficult for myself.

In all seriousness, with my goal to specialize and work in my home province of Manitoba after graduating, I wanted to take this opportunity to see how healthcare is done in other provinces, for both the good and the bad. In the highly specialized field of medicine, it can be easy to get silo-ed in your surroundings and protective of the way in which you were trained. However, the beauty and agony of medicine is that there is seldom one best way to approach a problem. Therefore, the wider our perspective, the more tools we have to find different approaches when the first one doesn’t work.

From Addictions Medicine in Sudbury to the homeless populations of downtown Toronto to community adolescent Psychiatry in Ottawa to Family practice in Rankin in the grip of winter solstice, to a jaunt overseas for an international medical exchange with our sister university in Shantou, China, these next months promise to be challenging, fascinating, exhausting, and exhilarating.

And yes, I promise to take the time to lounge outside a Starbucks at some point and embrace my Med 4 freedom 🙂

-Sara

Click here to start reading some tales from an (almost) doctor…
(ye gads, that’s intimidating to think about!!)

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