Dear JMSA members,
My name is Yusuke Nakagawa, the lead student representative at JMSA and the senior medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine. With a strong encouragement from JMSA President Dr. Yanagisawa, I have been interacting with fellow student doctors in Japan, it is delightful to inform our readers that the interactions are ongoing and continue expanding! Thanks to Dr. Akira Nishisaki, the Director of Simulation, Advanced Education and Innovation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and board member of JMSA, he connected me to his alma mater, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine. I was able to give a talk and have discussions with student participants about survival skills and resilience of medical students. Much appreciation to Drs. Hasegawa and Kasuya from the Department of International Medical Education for welcoming me. They also created the wonderful poster for advertisement! The participants were not only limited to students from Nagoya, but also from local high schoolers who aspire to become physicians and medical students from Gifu, Tokushima, and more!
As I gave remarks about professionalism and why I pursued medicine over other careers, I also emphasized the importance of selfcare and resilience. Given the fact that healthcare providers including medical students face numerous challenges, they all should be cognizant of resilience and the hidden epidemic of mental crises with the high suicidal rates in medical communities. As matter of fact, roughly 300 physicians die by suicide annually in the United States according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This unfortunate fact is applicable to medical students as I personally heard a few times about student suicides in medical school. The students are constantly challenged by various stressors as the famous adage goes, “learning in medical school is like drinking water from a firehose.” There is no doubt that maintaining student’s well-being is vital for healthy academic life, and it was worthwhile for me sharing my personal values with fellow student doctors in Japan while all participants acknowledged universal struggles of learning medicine as medical students in the US and Japan.
There were Q&A sessions and active discussions followed by my presentation. Student participants were serious and eager about asking follow-up questions and sharing their opinions about resilience, career goals, and women in healthcare. The passionate attitudes demonstrated by student participants during discussions genuinely impressed physician observers, leading to all doctors actively share their own thoughts and advices to students. Dr. Yanagisawa told us the value of reflecting why we became a doctor as such self-reflection would be the greatest reminder when we are in stressful time. Dr. Akihiro Asai, a Clinician Researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, former JMSA scholarship recipient and a graduate of Nagoya University asked student participants whether they have role models in our career or not. Though some students do not have role models, having milestones modeled by various physicians is key for successful career development. He also talked that envisioning career as a fully-trained clinician allows students to better navigate achieving their goals by having realistic mindset. Dr. Maki Kano, the Vice President of JMSA discussed about her own stories of dual roles as a mother and physician. Dr. Kasuya was deeply impressed by how the session overall became meaningful and food for thought for all attendees! Not to mention that this successful session was supported by Dr. Hasegawa who was a dedicated organizer and facilitator!
Once again, special thank you to Drs. Kasuya and Hasegawa at Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine the Department of International Medical Education and all student participants from Japan and the US! My journey of interactions continues!