Monday, February 2, 2009

A New Required Rotation? Matt Hiersche LLUSM4

I’m currently a 4th year medical student at Loma Linda University with a rich history of overseas medical missionary work and an extensive international network of hospitals that accept visiting students. Why then, did I choose CURE International for my first away rotation in my senior year? I think that a statement one of my friends made in a recent email summarizes my motivation well. She said, ‘I’d love to work internationally, but as an anesthesiologist, I wouldn’t want to spend five years abroad using halothane and ketamine, watching my skills deteriorate in an international setting. How can I come back to the States later and feel comfortable working at our level again?’ Unfortunately, these doubts seem to permeate certain segments of the medical community. But might there be a cure?

Upon my return to the States and my regular studies, I continually found myself explaining my experience in the DR in one emphatic command. “If you’re interested in medical mission work, particularly surgical,” I kept exclaiming, “Then my month in the DR with the Nelsons should be a required rotation!” I, along with many of my friends, had long suffered under the false impression that following God’s command to serve His children abroad would simultaneously mandate that we regress in our level of medical care. What kind of vision of God is that, though? In finding CURE, I found an institution that believed in the God given directive of “providing the best care in the world for the least of the world.” In keeping with this vision, the CURE for my friends and me suddenly became clear. No longer would a first rate education generate a second rate level of care. No longer is it necessary to languish with only halothane and ketamine, while our skills deteriorate in “God’s service.” It is not our expectations or our level of care that needs to change when considering medical mission work as a future. It is our vision of God that needs to change. When we feel the call to serve, we must believe that God will provide a means by which we might serve at the level of His desire – that is at our best.