Nina Sung, MD
- FSM graduate
- A Californian, for whom “nothing beats a long run or walk by the lakefront”
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"While it is a constant struggle to maintain balance between work and investing in your students, it is helpful to remember how inspiring I found my own residents to be as a student and aspire to do the same for my trainees."
Looking back to the beginning of Intern year, what were some of the issues you were most worried about? How did you address them?
The first few months of intern year are pretty intimidating--between accepting the responsibility of being a practicing physician, developing the clinical intuition and knowledge base to be able to effectively develop a plan of care for your patients, and lastly, knowing how to actually get the work done. As a medical student I remember always being in awe of the interns and residents I worked with, who seemed so knowledgable and competent.
I often rely on my fellow residents’ and mentors’ advice. They assured me that I needed to be patient with the process and shared going through the same period of self-doubt and frustration. Every intern has his or her growing pains, but with time, experience, and reading, things start to gel.
Did you ever work or study abroad?
In medical school I spent six weeks in Rwanda interning for WE-ACTx (Women’s Equity for Access to Care and Treatment), a non-profit organization founded to increase access for women and children to HIV care, where I conducted a research project surveying the clinic patients to delve deeper into the barriers faced by the HIV positive wome in accessing and maintaining adherence to treatment regimens. I also spent a month in Bolivia at Centro Medico Humberto Parra, a clinic founded and by Dr. Molitch and Dr. Hou, which was one of the highlights of my clinical experiences in medical school.
Did you ever consider a non-medical career?
My interest in international health and human rights deepened throughout the two years I spent on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide, where access to non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups allowed me the opportunity to gain more exposure to foreign affairs issues such as Darfur and the annual debate over support for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis, and international family planning efforts. I will always feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many amazing public servants and learn about the ins and outs of how public policy is made in our country. I do hope to find other opportunities to be involved in public service down the line while I’m also learning how to be a compassionate clinician.
Outside of work you can find me hanging out with my fellow interns and residents hitting up the newest or most buzzed about Chicago hot spots. Chicago is a great city for food and there is a long list of restaurants I’m still trying to eat my way through. In the summer (it’s almost here!) I take advantage of the city’s many free open air markets and festivals.
My advice for incoming interns is....
Remember that you are not alone in this process, and to never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Our department prides itself on having a program that is nice, hard-working, and smart, in that order, and the program lives up to its word. You will always have mentors in the program who are there to support you, whether it be your attending on wards, one of the chiefs, or your senior residents, in whatever way you need. Also, having a great class of co-interns to share the highs and lows with definitely goes a long way.