Should I incorporate a negative experience with healthcare into my personal statement?

Hi There,

I am a 32 year old, married, non-trad, who recently had a baby. I have a BA in psych (3.3 gpa… not great, I know), an MsPH (3.9 gpa), and a recently completed DIY post bacc (3.8 gpa). I have held a full time position as a clinical research coordinator at an STD clinic within a research university, while also going to school full-time throughout my masters degree and the post bacc. I have not taken the MCAT as yet, but plan to at the end of the year and have just begun preparing for it.

I have always wanted to be a physician but, quite frankly, always thought I was not smart or disciplined enough to do it. This thinking changed after completing my degrees and working full time, it made me come to the realization that I do indeed have the discipline (jury still out on being smart enough LOL). So, I decided to march forward on this journey, and intend to apply during the 2021 cycle (provided I obtain a decent MCAT score).

The question I have is this…

Nine weeks ago I gave birth to my son via C-section and we are both healthy and happy. However, I had a VERY negative experience during labor with my ObGyn. Long story short, even though I preferred to deliver vaginally and baby was NOT in distress by any means, I was pressured into having a c-section by my doctor who found I was taking too long to dilate. This was my first kid, I was laboring for about 14 hours, and was 6 cm dilated when my ObGyn very forcefully suggested I have the C… I caved and did it. Afterwards, I thought to myself would this guy (ObGyn) have acted the way he did if I was not a minority? Would he have had more consideration if I was white? I really felt this dude was not patient centered AT ALL.

The fact that I even thought that this was probably discrimination fueled my desire to be a physician even more. I sit here and think to myself “Me becoming a doctor can add just a little more diversity to the field. If me becoming a doctor could lessen incidents like the one I had by even just a fraction… it would be worth it.”

I know it is super early to be thinking about this as I have not taken the MCAT as yet. BUT, even though this experience served as major encouragement for me to pursue medicine, I don’t know if talking about it in my personal statement might hurt my chances of being accepted to a med school… So, should I talk about it?

Congrats on the birth of your child and all of the accomplishments you have had leading up to this point. I’m sorry you felt pressured to have a c-section. Although I feel that your OB could have acted more professionally and explained why a c-section was necessary, I err on the side of talking about negative experiences in the healthcare. That’s because I now know a little bit more about medicine being in med school and there are so many things that could indicate the need to have emergency procedures. If you really want to mention it, don’t dwell on it and finish in the brighter and hopeful tone.

Well As Dr. Gray said in many of his podcasts, avoid negativity in your personal statement and more if its directly related with physician environment. A bad experience is not enough reason why you want to become a physician. I recommend you to add a little bit of the experience but not letting them see you are going to be a better physician than those bad ones out there. It does not look good.