As a young girl, she shared intimate, late-night conversations about the birthing experience with her aunt, which laid the foundation for her interest in the obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) field. Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student Nyemo Margaret Mbennah hopes to incorporate the midwife model of care into the conventional OBGYN practice, and eventually participate in global initiatives that improve women’s lives.
“Medical school was the first time in my life where I truly appreciated all that it takes to become something, so I planned and strategized and organized every detail of the process,” Nyemo said. “I was relieved to realize that I was in fact, ‘thirsty enough’,” she said in reference to the medical school analogy that the journey is like ‘drinking from a fire hose.’ To ensure she kept her mental health intact along the way, Nyemo treated every successful week in med school as a milestone.
As she learned about children’s illnesses and diseases, Nyemo began to worry about the health of her 16-month old daughter and questioned her career choice. It wasn’t until her daughter became sick with an apparent viral infection, and she was strapped for cash, that her medical mindset guided her to try various healing procedures. After three days of “being brave and loving,” Nyemo succeeded and learned a valuable lesson. “Despite my strong sense of empathy that would otherwise impair my enthusiasm, I had it within me to do what it took to improve the suffering… This was necessary for my growth.”
The East and South African native is enrolled in the 2021 National Resident Matching Program® (The MATCH℠) and applied to many programs, mostly in the OBGYN specialty but also included several in family medicine and internal medicine. After experiencing extreme cold during undergrad in Minnesota, she decided to focus her search in the South with a few Midwest options. Nyemo appreciates the academic environment of a hospital, especially the strong emphasis on research and didactics. She applied to many rural / private programs, in hopes of landing an autonomous position. One day, she would like to return to Africa and assist in medically underserved areas with a diverse population.
Relinquishing MATCH Expectations
When she began receiving interview invitations, Nyemo ironically described the feeling as “unmatched” and she recalls playing a perpetual game of freeze tag each time the email notification sound chimed. “Usually I start by assuming it is a rejection, so I am not so disappointed. When I scan the email and realize it is an interview invitation, I immediately inform my entire family in Africa.”
She admits the process is grueling and nerve-racking. Virtual interviews have caused her to worry about internet connection and delayed timing, but she appreciates the upside of more prep time and no travel costs. “Being an introvert and a mom, I think the virtual interview seems more flexible, and more accommodating.” Current and future MATCH students may want to follow Nyemo’s trick for virtual interviews — “I come out of my shell when I’m talking about something I am passionate about. Now I feel I just need to be myself.”
The sports fan who enjoys crafting and braiding hair said it’s been challenging to balance child rearing and studying but she aims to improve that as a practicing physician.
“I strive to create a bridge between work-life balance and excellent patient care. I have come to realize that the more I take care of myself by engaging in things I enjoy, the better my day is regardless of my energy level. If I cannot beat the burn out, I intend to be the healthiest and happiest provider despite the burn out.”
To Nyemo and all 2021 MATCH students, we support your journey and look forward to celebrating your achievement.
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