May 02, 2016
Stefani Vescio, RUSM Class of 2015
When Stefani Vescio originally decided to become a doctor, she had sports medicine in mind. It just seemed to fit: she had played varsity soccer during undergrad at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto and had “loved” volunteering with a sports medicine physician before starting medical school. After she earned her business degree, she reasoned, perhaps she’d open her own sports medicine practice geared toward female athletes. It was a way of tying her future career to her personal interests.
Given four years to explore different medical disciplines through her training at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), Vescio’s interests have shifted a bit—expanded, even. She’d still like to work with female athletes, but rotating through her different clinical cores gave her a deeper appreciation for the medical specialty she selected in the end. It was one that opened up more potential opportunities for her future practice.
A New World of Opportunities Within Medicine
That specialty, she says, was family medicine. Vescio, a 2015 RUSM grad currently in pre-residency training (a requirement for international medical school grads), matched into the University of Ottawa’s family medicine program through the first iteration of the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) in March 2016.
Family medicine as a discipline started making sense for her, she says, when she started her RUSM clinical education and began her FM rotation. “I thought family medicine was fascinating,” says Vescio. “It allows for a lot of coordination of care, for building long-term relationships with your patients.”
The breadth of work in family medicine appealed to her, too; she had worked with a family medicine doctor during elective rotations in Toronto, and was able to work with a different type of patient almost every day. It opened her eyes to a world that she hadn’t necessarily considered.
“There’s such a variety of cases,” she says. “On Mondays, we’d be in the hospital during ovarian and breast cancer screening clinics. On Tuesdays, we were in the operating room, assisting a plastic surgeon. And Wednesday through Friday. We were in her office, seeing her regular continuity patients.”
Now, Vescio’s considering a focus on general women’s health as a long-term goal for her future career. She could still treat and care for female athletes, but she could also tackle the preventative side of medicine and focus on treating other medical concerns that females face in general beyond sports.
Opportunity and Support During Clinicals
Vescio singled out her clinical experience during her RUSM education as particularly valuable. She completed her core clinical rotations, plus several electives, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) in Pontiac.
“For me, clerkships were the best,” she says. “I’d rather be learning something while doing it as opposed to learning it from a book.” Plus, she says, some of the residents at SJMO were RUSM graduates, which helped add a degree of familiarity while she was rotating through various core rotations. However, the majority of support during clerkships came from her RUSM peers, who were always willing to provide advice, study tips, and share notes.
“I enjoyed my time at SJMO both because of the students I worked with and because many residents and attendings were invested in teaching," she says. "I felt there was a lot support and opportunity there to learn.”
Before she started her cores, she took advantage of a unique opportunity at RUSM—a six-week pediatrics rotation in the United Kingdom. Clerkships in the UK are generally more geared toward observation, she says, which made it a “really nice transition into clerkships from basic sciences.” She also had a chance to rotate in Canada—she did three months of electives in her home country, one each at the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, and McMaster University. While there, she was in contact with two Canadian RUSM alumni who were able to provide her with useful advice about matching back home.
Vescio also singled out Tom Harkness and Chuck Furey, both part of RUSM’s Canadian admissions team, for helping guide her through the medical school process and being on hand for advice. But if RUSM taught her one thing, she says, it’s that you need to make the best of any opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s a chance to network with a Canadian resident or physician or to see how medicine is practiced in a different country.
“If there’s anything I learned from business school, it’s to network and to make yourself as marketable as possible when looking for that real job,” she says. “And at RUSM—in general—if you’re the kind of person who takes advantage of all opportunities and makes the best of each situation, you can really excel anywhere.”
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