By David Rebedew
Before starting medical school, this Wisconsin student traveled from town-to-town to shadow every doctor in every specialty he could find. Looking for the specialty he'd one day like to practice, he discovered where he'd like to practice, too.
While I was only in my third year of medical school, I delivered a baby and the placenta in a hospital in rural Whitehall, Wisconsin, while the attending watched in the background. That same year, I helped deliver triplets and subsequently repaired the c-section incisions. This is unheard of among my classmates doing rotations in Madison, but on rotations in rural towns with populations sometimes under 2,000, I was the only student, so when there was an incredible surgery or an especially interesting case, I was one of the first people to know about it.
I didn’t always know I wanted to practice medicine in a rural area. I had tried to determine what specialty I wanted to pursue before medical school. I shadowed ER physicians, internists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, and family practitioners in various cities around Wisconsin with populations ranging from 1,000 to 50,000 people. Although my original intent was to figure out what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” I also found out where: rural Wisconsin.