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RUSM Alumna Matches in Specialty of Choice at University of Saskatchewan

What do you do when you have two passions in life? Luckily for Canadian Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alumna Sarah Tsoi, becoming a physician will allow her to fulfill both – medicine and teaching – at the same time.

Having just graduated from RUSM in November of 2018, Tsoi noted that the news that she matched to her first choice of Family Medicine programs in Canada at the University of Saskatchewan hasn’t quite sunk in yet, saying, “I’m still in shock.”

Tsoi’s match process through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) and the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP) was very specific.

“I only applied for Family Medicine, so for me it was a very focused application process. I knew which programs I wanted to apply to – but it was still really amazing to get my first choice,” she explained.

And while the fact that Tsoi opted to pursue a career as a physician did not come as news to her friends and family, the fact that she is pursuing a career as a family medicine practitioner has come as a surprise, to Tsoi most of all.

“Medicine is in my background. My dad is a family physician, but that’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to do medicine in the beginning. What happened was when I finished my bachelor’s degree in microbiology, I began looking at career decisions. The two things that I loved were teaching and medicine, and someone said to me if you go into medicine you can still teach, but if you become a teacher you’ll lose that part that you love about science and medicine, and that really stuck with me. So being able to combine my passions [while being able to] help others was really the reason I ended up choosing [this] career path,” she said.

Tsoi actually began at RUSM with the intention of becoming a pediatrician; however, from the time she started her Family Medicine rotation, it was “love at first sight,” she noted.

“It was the first rotation where I was genuinely excited to be at clinic every single day, but what clinched the decision was the matching process. When residency applications begin, you have to make a decision about what to do [which involves] a lot of self reflection, and I had to look at myself and determine my strengths and weaknesses and I realized my skillset is best leant to Family Medicine – that’s where I can do the most for my patients. So it’s not only that I liked Family Medicine or that it was right for me, it was that I was right for Family Medicine,” she explained.

Tsoi noted that she feels prepared to begin residency in large part because of the transformational experience she had at RUSM.

“RUSM gives people an opportunity to look at themselves and all the possibilities that exist and choose the way they want to make the best version of themselves,” she said. “That’s what [RUSM] did for me – it brought out a very resilient person that I didn’t necessarily know existed until after I’d finished, but looking back you think, oh my gosh, I did all that?”

When asked what her goals are for her career as a Family Medicine physician, Tsoi noted that she wants to give back to her community in whatever way she can, focus strongly on social medicine, and integrate education into her practice on a daily basis.

“Education is really important to me, whether it’s learning from or teaching students, residents, or allied health colleagues,” she said. “If it’s part of my practice, my work, and my day-to-day routine, that would really enhance the overall experience of medicine in general.”

In keeping with her desire to help and educate others, she had a few words of encouragement and advice for future RUSM students:

“Anything is possible, and just because something is hard doesn’t mean it can’t be done,” she said. “If anything, if your challenge is harder or your goal is higher, that will just makes you a better person overall.”