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Residency Diagnostic Radiology: Saudi Woman

I am a Saudi woman born in Canada, raised and trained in Saudi Arabia and now residing in Chicago. I hold a first class MBBS degree awarded by the King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah. My goal is to undertake a residency in Diagnostic Radiology, sub-specializing in Interventional Radiology, in Canada and thereafter to pursue a fellowship in Interventional Radiology and, ultimately to head a Radiology Department in a prestigious hospital in Saudi Arabia and also to teach this specialty.

 I was raised in a very demanding home environment in which I was expected to give 100% effort to everything that I undertook and to be diligent, independent, reliable and honest. I thrived in this demanding environment which provided me with very wide choices in terms of career as it provided me with the tools to excel in all subjects. I chose to pursue medicine because I wanted to ‘make a difference’ rather than just ‘make a living’. I have never regretted this choice which I consider a vocation rather than a mere career choice.

 My experience of Medical School was thoroughly positive and I was enthralled with what I learned of the wonder that is the human body. I also came to see how the knowledge I was acquiring related to clinical practice and that patients are not merely ‘bundles of symptoms’ but individuals with unique needs and personalities. I learned that not everything a good physician needs to know can be easily taught, such as the importance of recognizing and interpreting non-verbal communication provided by patients.  The challenging experiences provided during my Medical School years also left positive marks on my personality and helped me to mature as a person.  I learned how to be an effective team member and how to organize, lead and inspire a team being my group leader for years 4 to 6. I formed solid friendships during these happy years that I know will endure. When I graduated, it was not only with the highest mark for my final year but with the highest mark in each of the six years of my course. I believe that this success is less a measure of my intelligence than of my passion for medicine.

 I undertook various voluntary assignments at Medical School that it may be relevant to mention. I was involved in the WHO ‘Stop Tuberculosis’ campaign in Saudi Arabia in 2010 and the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ campaign in 2008. Breast cancer presents great problems in Saudi Arabia because of, often, late diagnosis and I felt privileged in being part of the on-going efforts to extend symptom awareness and for the need for early treatment to my countrywomen. I was also one of the organizers of a ‘Diabetes Mellitus Health Field Survey’ in my fourth year.

 During my rotations, I became particularly drawn to Radiology, my interest being initially fired by an expert in this field whose skills, in drawing all the ‘pieces of the puzzle’ together and identifying the patient’s problem, were astonishing. This relationship resulted in my choosing Radiology as an elective and then as my future career. I considered this choice carefully and I genuinely believe that I possess the exceptional observational and analytical skills required for this fascinating and vital area of work. I am a ‘visual person’, a photographer also interested in handcrafts and painting and I believe that my artist’s ‘eye for detail’ and sensibilities will enable me to excel in this field. My decision led to my successful application for a Demonstrator (Residency) position in Interventional Radiology in the King Abdul-Aziz University. This appointment provided an opportunity to teach and I have developed a love of passing on my skills and knowledge that I hope to develop and apply throughout my career.

 I am deeply interested in the advancement of non-invasive procedures in interventional radiology. It is my aim, ultimately, to be able to offer further non surgical, less invasive options to patients and to advance the knowledge of this specialty especially in my home country. I now seek to join a residency program that will enable me to learn the most modern techniques from leading experts in the field. I also seek to pursue research and to hone my teaching skills. It is my hope that I will be enabled, through participation in the program, to assist in the general advancement of healthcare in Saudi Arabia.

 I have happily studied, worked and socialized with people from many cultural and social backgrounds and look forward to extending such experiences during the residency, if selected. I consider myself to be culturally sensitive and have an awareness of the special importance of cultural and social awareness in a medical environment.  

 I am aware that the there will be many well qualified applicants for the residency program but genuinely believe that I am an exceptional candidate. My academic results will provide reassurance that I possess a highly developed work ethic and I offer a promise of diligent participation in the residency program. The activities and leadership roles that I have undertaken will, I hope, provide evidence that I am a person who can always be relied upon to involve herself enthusiastically in her academic and working environment.  My experience in this specialty may also be difficult to match by most other applicants and will enable me to ‘add value’ by bringing and sharing some relevant knowledge and skills to the residency program.

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