Practice-Based and Lifelong Learning

Competency: Identify one’s own strengths, weaknesses and limits; a) seek and respond appropriately to performance feedback; b) maintain and appropriate balance of personal and professional commitments; c) seek help and advice when needed

This domain really stuck out to me when putting this portfolio together because what this domain wants me to write about was commonly asked about at most stops on my residency interview trail. Interviewers, particular program directors, commonly wanted to hear about my strengths, weaknesses, things I want to work on, ability to heed feedback and what I was most proud of during medical school. After eleven interviews, I have a lot of material in my mind to write about on this competency!

First off, I’ll talk about my strengths and weaknesses. In the beginning of medical school, my strengths pretty much just included a good work ethic, kind demeanor and being a team player, all qualities I had developed through every job I had worked up to that point. My weaknesses at that time included pretty much everything else that pertained to being a physician. Fast forward three and a half years, my strengths have really changed and weaknesses I hadn’t realized before had revealed themselves to me. In addition to what I said earlier, I now consider my strengths to include ability to quickly connect with patients, taking thorough histories, navigating difficult conversations/situations and being organized with presentations and writing notes. I would say that my weaknesses include not being aggressive enough when it comes to asking about doing a procedure or taking a patient, being too narrow on assessments and plans and continuing to read up on certain patient’s conditions. I’ve picked up on these strengths and weaknesses from feedback reports on different rotations, and I think they are all in line with how I feel my performance as a medical student as taken place. I know feedback is never going to go away as a resident, fellow or attending, and I look forward to hearing what people have to say about me because it gives me the chance to improve. I’ll use this feedback to continue working on these weaknesses as a resident. I am hoping by the time I finish residency that I won’t have any hesitancy to offer up my services to do a procedure or take a patient because I’ll have that experience and confidence to handle so much more than I can now. Ultimately, this results in better patient care, and that is the most important thing.

One of the common questions that I have encountered while on the residency interview trails is to tell the interviewer what the one thing that I have been most proud of during medical. Initially, this was a difficult question to answer. Just in the natural course of being a medical student, there are so many things to be proud of. But once it dawned on me what my most proud accomplishment was, it became my answer every time this question was asked. That answer was my school-life balance that I managed to strike as a medical student. I remember, as an undergraduate and graduate student, having some trouble separating school and life. I would get so bogged down with studying, extracurriculars or both, that I would forget about spending quality time outside of those things with friends and family. Coming into medical school, I know how easy it could be to get buried in the books. I made a commitment that that wasn’t going to happen to the point where it affected my personal relationships. I was engaged to my now wife at the time, and the time I spent with her and our marriage was the most important thing to me, and I would not let that suffer during medical school. I committed to only doing school-related activities during the hours of 8am-5 or 6pm—about a normal workday. The rest of my time was committed to family, friends and hobbies. I am so happy that I stayed true to my word on this. I have had success as a medical student, but I have gotten to have so many great experiences and adventures with my wife and our friends that has ultimately enhanced my experience as a medical student. I plan to keep to this sort of plan as a resident as well. I know that that is a little bit tougher because the hours are longer, but I’ll be able to strike that perfect balance to make residency as good of an experience as medical school was. I have some pictures from our adventures at the bottom of this post.

Artifact 1:

The picture on the left is from my wife and I’s honeymoon in the Dominican Republic during the winter break of my M2 year. The picture on the right is our trip to Mount Rainier National Park outside of Seattle, WA during my M3 year. Traveling is a big interest of both my wife and I and we hope to really expand our horizons once the pandemic is over!

Artifact 2:

These are my CPAs from my most recent rotation in the ED at Riverside Methodist Hospital. While the comments are brief, the areas for improvement line up the views of my weaknesses in making sure to have broad differentials and comprehensive plans for patients.

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