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My Journey From Medical School To Medical Residency In Kenya

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Hillary Ng'eno, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. Hillary Ng'eno

    Hillary Ng'eno Young Member

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    My journey from Medical School, internship, medical practice up to Internal Medicine Residency in Kenya

    The journey towards my dream has been tough, full of ups and down with a multitude of experiences. I can describe it as an adventure whereby every challenge along the way has been an opportunity to define my future and at the same time give back to the society via various community outreach activities. I can ascribe my success to perseverance, hard work, commitment, and the understanding that medicine is both a science and an art which have enabled me to appreciate that knowledge is learned from books and patients.

    My passion for medicine started when I was about 7 years old. I got pricked on my left distal leg by an iron nail accidentally while we were playing soka. Three weeks later, my leg was discharging pus from the area of the discharge and had become so swollen that I could no longer walk without support. I was taken to a nearby hospital where I was managed successfully and it made me understand, appreciate, and aspire the role of the doctor. From that day onwards, I wanted to become a doctor so that I can also help the sick.

    I was very happy when I was admitted to a public university to pursue a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and surgery in 2009 following my grade A score in the national exams. The 6-year course started with our induction at the anatomy lab where we were divided into groups of five and each group provided with a cadaver. The opening of the yellow cadaver bags on top of the dissecting tables made three students to withdraw from medical school. I can still remember exactly the smell of formalin and the reaction in my face when I opened it. My favorite subject then was medical physiology as I enjoyed learning about cells and how the human body functions. Physiology and anatomy are the backbone of medicine as one cannot understand pathology without appreciating the normal processes which are altered in the process. My clinical rotation in internal medicine made me fall in love with the specialty as it required the integration of various fields, investigations to the patient's clinical presentations aimed at arriving at a diagnosis and the appropriate interventions.

    Generally, a medical doctor in a public referral hospital in Kenya spends at least 8 hours a day in the hospital unless they are on call which means they can be summoned anytime. I used to wake up at 6 am and prepare myself, take breakfast, and walk to the hospital as I lived at the doctors' hostels within the hospital premises. By 8 am, I was receiving patients. Taking heavy breakfast enabled me to serve clients tireless until my shift was over at 4 pm. Medical officers take history and perform clinical examination of patients, order necessary tests either imaging or laboratory, interpret the results,come up with a diagnosis, and direct the patients based on their clinical presentation. For example, some are admitted, some are sent to the pharmacy for medications, while others are booked for follow up in the outpatient clinic.

    After three years of medical practice, I enrolled in Internal medicine specialty where I am currently in the second year of my residency. I plan to further specialize in medical oncology. Being a doctor is a lifestyle. One has to have a passion to be successful as family time is limited. There is an overwhelming joy in the heart of the doctor when a patient is successfully managed. Losing a patient is painful but I have learnt to accept that I cannot save everybody, some report to the hospital when what can be done is limited as they have a terminal illness but I try my best. Honesty is the key in the management of patients. Patients should not be given false hope when there is no cure for their condition but should be given the options available for them. For example, a patient with stage four malignancy will benefit from palliative care such as analgesia, nutrition, and counseling.
     

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  2. Hillary Ng'eno

    Hillary Ng'eno Young Member

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    Attached is a photo of the surgical team with me being the second from left. It was taken four years ago during my surgical rotation as a medical officer.

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