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Match Day Spotlight 2014: Internal Medicine, Take Two

Recent fourth-year matcher (and in-Training editor) Francis Dailey from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine gives us his advice for surviving and succeeding in medical school.

1. Tell us about yourself: Where are you from? What is your undergraduate degree and where did you receive it? Did you do anything between undergraduate and medical school?

Francis Dailey: I am from Kansas City, Missouri. I went to Rockhurst University in Kansas City for undergrad, and graduated with a BS in biochemistry and a minor in philosophy. I went straight from undergrad to medical school but did work, volunteer, and travel (to Alaska!) the summer between. My future goal is to be a nephrologist or gastroenterologist and raise a family.

2. What residency program will you be joining and where?

FD: I will be joining the Cedars Sinai Internal Medicine Program in Los Angeles, California.

3. Looking back on your medical school experience, what would you say to the young and naïve “first-year you”?

FD: I would say to stay persistent in your goals. Look for opportunities to volunteer and re-realize why you’re becoming a doctor in the first place. Also look for ways to separate yourself from peers in such a way as to build up your application for residency programs … but help others along the way too. Don’t ever be afraid of helping those around you. It will always benefit you.

4. What things did you do that you believe were valuable to succeed the first two years in the classroom?

FD: All of the above are absolutely necessary for a strong residency application. I would also include some research opportunities, however small they may be. It will always benefit the application. Work hard, study hard, and enjoy the free time just as “hard.” There’s no one secret. A good application needs strong work in all areas, not just preclinical or clinical or research or extracurriculars.

5. What things did you do that you believe were valuable to succeed the second two years through clinical rotations?

FD: Always try hard to help the team. Always show interest in the current situation. Be genuine, be kind, work hard, and your peers, residents, and attendings will love you. Try to get the most out of each day, each week, each month, each rotation. Find out the expectations for each rotation, and look for ways to go above and beyond the expectations laid out for you.

6. What things did you do during your four years of medical school that stuck out or particularly impressed your residency program?

FD: Becoming class president all four years of medical school really stuck out. Also volunteer opportunities, travel abroad experiences, work experiences (pharmaceutical intern, baseball and softball umpire), other extracurriculars (internal medicine summer externship or tutoring). Lastly, in my essay I wrote about my experience offering to donate a kidney to my mother, and that really stuck out as well. If you have a really good personal statement, it will stick out.

7. What things were unhelpful or you wish you hadn’t done in medical school?

FD: I wish I would have done more research in medical school: case reports, bench research and clinical research.

8. What was your level of involvement in research and other extracurricular activities, and your opinion on how important that involvement is?

FD: These are very important. However, research is even more important for those going into the competitive specialties (ENT, ortho, plastics), and not so much for others (internal medicine, family, pediatrics, psych, neuro). Extracurriculars are just as important, and stick out more for those specialties that are not as competitive. In my opinion, it’s best to have both.

9. What attracted you to your chosen specialty?

FD: Internal medicine is the type of medicine I always pictured myself practicing. I love direct patient care, building relationships with patients and families, following them through a disease course and beyond, using my clinical knowledge and expertise to help patients. I also like that I don’t have to get too involved with research and spending time in the operating room — both areas where I wouldn’t be able to have as much direct interaction with patients.

10. What attracted you to your residency program?

FD: Geography is by far the most important factor in considering and choosing residency programs. Also what matters most is attention to patient care versus research versus teaching and education. Malignancy or non-malignancy is very important, too. Salary is important, but since most residencies pay about the same amount, this is not as important as you would think.

11. What things did you do to maintain your sanity in medical school?

FD: I played intramural sports and I had a social life with very good friends I made in undergrad and medical school.

12. The floor is yours—what do you wish to share with current medical students?

FD: Maintain and even build on your love for medicine — what got you here in the first place. It’s easy to lose track of this during all the study time and clinical work in a very busy four years of medical school. Keep perspective if at all possible. Do things to build on your love for medicine (clinical work, volunteer opportunities, extracurriculars), and do things to build on your love for life (family time, social life, time with friends, exercise). If you do this, things will work out well for you.

Christopher Deans Christopher Deans (17 Posts)

Medical Student Editor

University of Nebraska College of Medicine

The product of small town Nebraska and many evenings enjoying good reads, Chris Deans currently resides in Omaha, NE where he attends the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degrees in Biological Sciences and Philosophy from University of Nebraska at Kearney after also spending time at the University of Northern Colorado. A child at heart, Chris enjoys late night frozen yogurt dates with his wife, long hikes in the Rockies, and camp fire shenanigans with friends.