This is the second in our series of interviews with graduates of Saint James School of Medicine. Our graduates are the best people to tell you what it’s really like to study at the School. But it’s not just about telling it like it is. We also want to showcase some of the talented and committed people that have studied at Saint James.
Dr Nisha Patel (nee Goyal) graduated from Saint James School of Medicine in 2007. She is now working in private practice and teaches at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
What was your own personal motivation for studying medicine?
DR PATEL: I was drawn to the sciences and wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to help people while at the same time be my own boss.
What led you to attend Saint James School of Medicine?
DR PATEL: I was an Economics and Spanish major and made the decision to pursue medicine during my 3rd year of undergrad. Instead of wasting a year applying and then spending a year idle after my 4th year of undergrad, by attending Saint James, I could go straight to med school within a month of graduating from college. Also, I am from Chicago, and Saint James’s administrative offices are based in Chicago, which made things simpler.
What were your first impressions when you arrived at the School?
DR PATEL: My first impression was shock. My elementary school was larger than the School! Then I thought; the size of the building has nothing to do with my education. It is up to me to follow my path and stay true to my course.
How would you describe your time there studying the Basic Sciences?
DR PATEL: I definitely missed being home in Chicago with my family and friends; however, being in Bonaire gave me ample free time away from distractions to study my basic sciences.
Do you have any advice for new students arriving to start their study at Saint James?
DR PATEL: It might sound tough, but you are not there to make friends. You are there to study and get your medical degree. Don’t get caught up in distractions. If you don’t pass, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Can you tell me a bit about your clinical rotations?
DR PATEL: I did my cores at Chicago hospitals and rotated with U.S. med school students. I learned a lot. Saint James was able to honor my requests to not take time off and finish my schooling within 3 and a half years.
Can you describe your residency experience for me?
DR PATEL: I thoroughly enjoyed my residency experience. Though my first year I was on call every 4th night for the whole year, and worked about 80 hours a week, I learned a lot and really liked the people I was working with.
What advice would you give a student about to study to become an MD?
DR PATEL: It is not easy. Be prepared for that. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Study hard. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t take time off.
What does the future hold for you?
DR PATEL: I have finished my residency and I am really enjoying private practice. I also am part-time faculty at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. I teach the 3rd year med students their didactics during their family medicine rotation. I hope to continue practicing medicine as long as I am able to. My husband is an ER doc so we hope to eventually do medical relief trips around the world.