When Breath Becomes Air is a poignant, autobiographical account of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, an accomplished neurosurgeon who found himself facing stage IV metastatic lung cancer at the age of 36. This inspiring memoir details his journey from a promising medical career to grappling with terminal illness, ultimately exploring the meaning of life, death, and the role of medicine in the face of mortality.
For premed students preparing for a career as physicians, When Breath Becomes Air offers a unique and deeply personal perspective on the medical profession, challenging them to confront the fragile nature of life and the impact they can have on patients' lives. As they follow Dr. Kalanithi's reflections on his career and his transition from a doctor to a patient, students can gain invaluable insights into the human side of medicine, which often goes beyond the technical skills and knowledge they acquire in their education.
The book serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and effective communication in the practice of medicine. It encourages students to consider the broader implications of their work and the profound responsibility they hold as future physicians. By bearing witness to Dr. Kalanithi's vulnerability and resilience, students can learn to approach their profession with humility, self-awareness, and a deep sense of purpose.
In summary, When Breath Becomes Air is a transformative read for premed students, providing them with a profound understanding of the human experience in healthcare. By exploring the intricacies of life, death, and the practice of medicine through Dr. Kalanithi's journey, students can develop the compassion, empathy, and wisdom that will be essential to their success as future physicians.
"Amazing account of the patient perspective and what Doctors may not consider about the patient perspective." - Ben
Many MMI stations will call upon the applicant to propose a health policy that would improve the country. Knowing more about government initiatives to reduce health inequities will always be beneficial, especially with regards to high-yield topics like Indigenous health, rural health, and homelessness. I would recommend checking out all of the links under the "Social development" heading. My personal favourite is the "Housing First" approach under the Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy link; it's a radical but convincing way to end homelessness in Canada while improving social capital and resources for people experiencing homelessness.
Canada's Policy and Programs for Employment and Social Development encompass a wide range of initiatives aimed at addressing health inequities and promoting social development. These policies and programs can help premed students prepare as future physicians by increasing their awareness of the challenges faced by various communities, including Indigenous populations, rural residents, and homeless individuals.
By exploring the links under the "Social development" heading, premed students can gain a deeper understanding of government initiatives that seek to reduce health disparities and improve social conditions for vulnerable populations. For instance, the "Housing First" approach under the Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy is a compelling solution to address homelessness while enhancing social capital and resources for people experiencing homelessness.
In addition to homelessness strategies, other programs focus on skills and employment, learning, labor, income security, and service networks supporting government departments. By familiarizing themselves with these programs and policies, premed students can better appreciate the broader context of healthcare and social determinants of health, which will allow them to become more informed and compassionate physicians.
Furthermore, premed students can use their knowledge of these policies and programs during MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) stations, where they may be asked to propose health policies to improve the country. By understanding existing initiatives, students can develop well-informed and relevant policy suggestions, demonstrating their engagement with pressing healthcare issues and their commitment to social justice and health equity. Overall, Canada's Policy and Programs for Employment and Social Development provide essential context for premed students as they prepare for their future roles as healthcare professionals.