March 16 2018 - Looking out at the first class of medical students she met as assistant dean of the CU School of Medicine Office of Admissions, Nichole Zehnder, MD, encouraged the class of 2018 to show courage in the coming years as they endeavor to become the compassionate doctors they described in their admission essays four years ago.
Zehnder, an internal medicine physician who was appointed to lead the Office of Admissions in 2014, recounted a moment during her own residency when an attending physician reached out to help her during a rough time. That took courage, Zehnder said on Friday at Match Day ceremonies at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Convention Center.
“We have to be courageous enough to open our hearts to know what our colleagues are going through because if we really want to change medicine, and bring humanity into medicine, we have to support the people in the trenches with us.”
Courage also extends to patient care.
“I want you to be courageous in the small moments with your patients,” she said. “I want you to be courageous when you’re tired and when you’re worn out, when you’ve been on call for five months straight.
“I want you to advocate for your patients for a seamless follow-up plan even if they don’t have a payer source. I want you to push back on your team when you think that they’re following a plan that isn’t evidence-based. Be courageous enough to do the right thing every single time for your patients, even when it’s hard. And it will be.”
Being true to yourself requires courage as well.
“Celebrate your own story. Be you. Do not lose that. Your culture, your values, your beliefs - they make up who you are, and that’s the true diversity we need in medicine.”
Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, encouraged the 156 fourth-year students to embrace the steep learning curve they’ll experience during residency.
“You’re about to enter a phase of your career that most people identify as the most formative part of their professional career. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s an intense experience.
“For those who are staying here in one of our training programs, we’re excited to have you. For those going out to other training programs, hopefully the ones you wanted, please represent us well. We are confident we have prepared you well. And we will support you always as you advance in your professional career.”
Each year in mid-March, graduating medical school students across the country find out simultaneously where they will perform their residencies, which can last between three and seven years. The students have visited residency programs and ranked the places where they hope to get training. Those places have ranked the students they want for their programs. When all that ranking is done, the National Residency Matching Program puts it all together to determine the match for more than 16,000 graduating medical students from across the United States.