It’s easy to feel like an outsider when learning something new. February 2021 Photo and Blog Contest winner Yvette experienced just this at the beginning of her virtual clinical experience. As a medical student from Kenya, Yvette’s medical background was diverse, but it did not encompass the complex and confusing U.S. healthcare system. To gain awareness and understand it, she bravely enrolled in a virtual clinical experience.

Read Yvette’s winning entry below to discover how she overcame her fears and developed great medical knowledge and skills in just four weeks without even leaving home!


Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

I remember speaking to my family doctor about my upcoming virtual rotation with AMO. He asked me, “how can a doctor become a doctor online—can you really learn anything?” This question stuck with me in the days before my program began. I was nervous, excited, and every other emotion you could imagine.

I did a virtual internal medicine rotation with Dr. F, an internist based in New York. As a Kenyan student studying medicine in China, I am familiar with African and Asian medical practices. This was my first-time experiencing medicine in the United States. During the first week, I battled imposter syndrome, anxiety, and a hint of fear. “What am I doing here? Am I good enough to be here?” I thought to myself.

These thoughts aside, by the end of the week, I felt at home. Dr. F and the nurse practitioners were so kind and helpful. They didn’t mind explaining information in detail, whether my questions were simple or more complex. By week 3, I was confident and eager to learn more. I logged on from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Sometimes, I didn’t even I was sitting for 8 hours straight. I went from nervously writing three patient notes per session to writing more than ten patient notes daily!

The process of diagnosing, the art of assessing, and the procedures for taking patient notes were perfected during this experience. I even gained learning resources like apps and had access to research papers that gave me a better understanding of internal medicine in the U.S. There is so much unique to the U.S. healthcare system, like its insurance billing processes and patient-centered practices. It’s only possible to learn about these things with real-world experience.

I walked away from this rotation with more than medical knowledge and new computer skills. I now know how to use Zoom and provide telehealth services. In COVID-19, it’s difficult to know what to expect. Still, we must get comfortable with the new normal. I am grateful to my AMO Coach, who helped me along the way, from communicating with my school to assisting me with enrollment. I am also grateful to the SOHO Health Clinic team, all of whom contributed to the growth I experienced throughout this rotation.


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