Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview #1 - Recap

I know this is long overdue, and for that I am sorry. Life has been crazy recently, and I just haven't taken the time to write. Now, on to the recap.

First reaction - my interview went great! I felt like I clicked really well with both my interviewers (I had two - one faculty member and one current student), and the conversation flowed really smoothly.

One interesting aspect of both interviews was the relatively informal nature. Both of my interviewers went out of their way to show me that it was all right to relax, doing a great job of putting me at my ease. The questions were not what I was expecting, especially the one below, as I had already written an essay in response to this exact question for my secondary application.

"Give an example of a time when you were faced with an ethical dilemma and how you dealt with it."

I assumed that, since my interviewer had my secondary application in front of her (and it was covered in highlighting and markups) she probably wouldn't like it if I regurgitated that story to her. So, I told about how I know a man whose highest level of education was a short couple of years in elementary school in Mexico. He now works for the company where I am employed as a Human Resources technician, and is very superstitious when it comes to medicine. Everyone where I work knows that I am trying to become a physician, so naturally everyone immediately wants to discuss with me anything that vaguely borders on being a medical topic. This man in particular regularly cautions me about the dangers of things like how, if you eat Mexican pork, then drink milk, then take a shower in that specific order, you will surely die. If I am going to be a doctor, I need to know about many things like this that most doctors don't understand. He really wants to help me become a good physician. Many of his beliefs like this are harmless, but some can be dangerous, especially if he applies them to caring for members of his family - things like his belief that you need to take at least three cold showers (after which you allow yourself to dry slowly in open air) during the winter to avoid getting sick that spring.

My ethical dilemma comes into play in that I have a responsibility as an educated person to help inform him about the practices that might be dangerous to him or his family. However, I have to be careful about how I go about this because of the responsibilities inherent in my role as a Human Resources Technician. I need to maintain a respectful relationship with him so as to foster an atmosphere of trust, which can be hard to do if you tell someone, "Remember what you and your ancestors have been taught for generations - that thing you told me about the other day? Well, it's wrong, and might actually make you more likely to get sick." A delicate balance is needed if I am going to preserve the trust that will allow me to caution him in the future and have him give my words credence.

After I responded with the above, my interviewer then asked, "Now what if that patient came to you as a physician? What would you do?" I responded that, as his physician, my primary concern would be his health and well-being and that of his children, so I would be much more direct in firmly addressing the possible negative effects to good health that could arise from some of his practices. I would take care to explain everything to the best of my ability on his level of understanding, given his educational background, while still being informative and respectful.

Both of my interviewers were incredibly professional, and on the post-interview survey, I gave them flying colors. Going into it I was worried that, since this was my first medical school interview, I would make mistakes or be extra nervous. Fortunately, everything turned out to flow much more smoothly than I had anticipated, and I had an absolute blast. Now I just have to wait for the next "decision day" when they give phone calls to all those that got accepted. It could be as soon as the end of this week or as late as six weeks from now, but either way I'll have my answer relatively soon. Exciting, huh?

Granted, that's only one school out of the eleven (realistically ten; one school STILL hasn't sent me a secondary application request or a rejection), but still, it feels good to be at this stage with at least one school. I'll try to do better at keeping this thing updated in the future; no more week-long waits for an update after an interview, I promise. Thanks to all of you who have sent me encouraging emails and comments; I haven't been able to respond to all of them, but please know that they are MUCH appreciated! Thank you thank you thank you...


Susan said...

Wish I could have been there listening to the would THAT have made you feel????

Emily said...

Congrats on what sounds like a very successful interview! And thanks for sharing, every bit of knowledge is helpful. I've heard that interviews tend to be surprisingly informal from other interviewees, too. I was even warned that, being from U of Oregon, I should brush up on my Duck football knowledge because it's bound to come up, haha.
Best of luck in getting and acing more interviews!

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