Meet Pathology Resident Marilyn Nedumcheril, MD
Ross Alumna Marilyn Nedumcheril, MD, is currently a fourth-year pathology resident at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and will begin a surgical pathology fellowship with the institution in 2017.
Dr. Nedumcheril, a graduate of Temple University, is proud of her choice to pursue medicine. She was once a director at a sleep disorder center where she administered studies, she described it as “just a job.” However now, Dr. Nedumcheril says with confidence that the investments she’s made in time, money, energy and relationships was well worth it. She now has a career and one that she’ll be “happy to be working in for the next 30 years and more.”
Read about Dr. Nedumcheril’s experience below.
Ross: Why did you choose medicine?
Nedumcheril: I'd wanted to become a physician since as early as I can remember. Actually, my first grade teacher wrote in the year book about a student who had longed to be a cardiologist since the first time that she met her. Later, I learned she was talking about me! Though, my interest in medicine has changed since then. I'm not a cardiologist, my specialty is pathology.
I've always looked up to physicians and I've been interested in the human body. That’s why I chose medicine.
Ross: Is it tough returning to school after having entered the workforce?
Nedumcheril: Going back to school can be very difficult after you've been working for a while. You get used to working. It's nice to have a regular pay check, it's nice to have your life – your routine. Deciding to attend medical school is like putting a pause on your life. Once you start medical school, basically, medicine is the most important thing in your life.
Ross: What would you say to someone who has the passion for medicine, but they're afraid? They fear starting over.
Nedumcheril: For those who are afraid of going into medicine for whatever reasons, I would say, just do it. If that's your passion, pursue it.
Ross: How did you learn about Ross?
Nedumcheril: When I worked at a hospital in Philadelphia, some of the physicians were from Ross. After looking into the school and considering the success of the physicians I knew and that of the other graduates, I thought it would be a good fit for me.
Ross: What was your experience like in Dominica?
Nedumcheril: It was a great experience living in Dominica. The friends that I've made are my friends for life now. The teachers were amazing. The island itself is beautiful. There's so much to do there - when you can find time when you're not studying. The experience was very positive, and I think being able to live in a country like Dominica, you can live anywhere.
Ross: What was clinical training in the United States like after you finished with the basic sciences portion of your medical education in Dominica?
Nedumcheril: The curriculum at Ross actually prepared me for clinical clerkships very well. From my perspective, all of the subjects we learned and the way we were taught is exactly like what’s taught at US medical schools. So, I felt very prepared during my clinical training. And, when I actually went to residency I knew everything I needed to know - I had a good foundation.
Ross: Tell me a bit about your clinical training experience.
Nedumcheril: So, one of the great aspects of Ross is that you get to do the clinical clerkships in different areas, if you prefer to conduct them that way. I chose to spread out my clerkships, just to have more experience at various hospitals and locations. I wanted to see how different hospitals operated.
Ross: How did you come to specialize in pathology?
Nedumcheril: I had been interested in pathology because my mom's a forensic chemist, and so I'd been exposed to forensic pathology before coming to medical school - the interest was always there. When I was at Ross, the pathology instructors were amazing – they really, really were. They just enhanced my interest in pathology more. Ultimately, I did a clerkship at Saint Agnes Hospital, where I had a very good experience there too. I was very independent. The pathologists really respected my opinions and wanted to know my differentials. All of that led me to focus on pathology.
Ross: Explain how you prepared for the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP) match process.
Nedumcheril: The match really was not a problem for me. It was just another application to complete. Ross prepared me for everything I needed to go into the match. I had the clinical clerkships, strong recommendations, and a good idea of what cities I wanted to live in because I had moved around a lot during med school. So, the match process actually wasn't really too bad. I didn't have the same anxiety I think that most people have when they go into the match.
Ross: How many programs did you interview for and did you get your top choice residency?
Nedumcheril: So for pathology, I interviewed for about 10, and I got my second choice.
Ross: Have you experienced misconceptions about the quality of your education because you’ve trained outside of the United States?
Nedumcheril: Initially, the fact that I’ve received my education abroad is always in the background. So you just have to be better. Eventually, people forget that you're an international medical graduate. They realize you're just as capable, you know the same things, you perform the same way.
Ross: What would you say to someone who's thinking about pursuing a career in medicine?
Nedumcheril: For people going into medicine or considering it, I think they should definitely look around and try to shadow a physician. They should see what the lifestyle is like, what the job is like. I think you should really look into what schools you want to attend.
Ross: What would you say to someone who is considering Ross?
Nedumcheril: You should go where you think you'll be happy, where your personality fits. Ross worked out well for me because it's a recognized school.