UMHS 2017 graduate Dr. Nichole Zuccarini’s interest in medicine started out with majoring in medical technology at Michigan State University and receiving a Bachelor’s of Science. She spent time after graduation working in a lab and in marketing and sales. She eventually wanted to become a doctor and chose UMHS because of the state-of-the-art facilities at the St. Kitts campus. She matched in Internal Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital in Michigan after doing an additional rotation there in late 2016. She is especially excited about her residency because she’ll be working with patients who have not had Primary Care before.
The UMHS Endeavour caught up with this busy young doctor to talk about her career, her goals for residency, her advice for medical students and the Match process, and how two departments at UMHS were especially helpful.
UMHS Endeavour: Tell us a little about yourself and where you are originally from.
Dr. Nichole Zuccarini: I was born and raised in Shelby Township Michigan. I went to Michigan State for my undergrad and obtained a bachelor’s of science in medical technology. I then worked for a brief year in the lab and then decided to do the business route and start as a clinical specialist, sales rep, product manager and marketing and sales training manager. I moved to Los Angeles, Houston, Pleasanton, California and then Boulder, Colorado for my previous career in medical equipment sales. I wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor my whole life. I finally felt that the time in my life was perfect to do so.
Why did you decide to go to UMHS?
I went to UMHS because of their Extended Basic Sciences Program and awesome school facilities in St. Kitts. As a result of a reduced course load in the Basic Science Program, I was able to excel academically.
Tell us a little about your residency and the hospital you’ll be working at.
The residency I matched in is Internal Medicine categorical at the Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital. I did an additional rotation during the month of December 2016 there and loved it. The patient population consists of people who do not get Primary Care. Many of the diseases observed are late stage. Also, I wanted to go into critical care and they have roughly 70 ICU beds and 50 emergency room beds. This was my number-one choice because of the incredible learning opportunities I would obtain in only three years of being there. I chose this over rural or suburban residencies because of these factors. Plus, my family lives in the Detroit area and I thought how great it would be to have a good support system during such a vital and busy time in my life.
Is there anything in particular that interests you about your specialty?
I love Internal Medicine because of the diversity it offers. You can specialize, or work in the hospital, or clinic. I also like the intensity of working in a hospital mixed with the relationships we establish working in an office environment.
What advice do you have for current UMHS students, and medical students in general, about the Match process?
Schedule audition rotations during interview season. Try to publish if possible, even a case study in a medical journal would be great
Was there anything specific about your medical education at UMHS and clinical rotations that prepared you well for matching?
The university provides a significant amount of resources to aid students in the residency process. Patrick McCormick, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs and his department, was the most helpful. I think strategy and coaching will help students in the long run and definitely helped me. Also, the UMHS clinical department was helpful in scheduling me in places where they thought I would have a good opportunity to Match for a residency.
Do you have any specific goals for your residency?
I want to learn and work as much as possible so that I can obtain a job anywhere afterward.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that we have not covered?
Take lighter rotations while you are preparing for USMLE Step 2 CK exam so that you have plenty of time to study. Save the sub internships and intense rotations for those times afterward so you can really learn as much as you can without the stress of studying for board exams. Finish the Uworld question bank for Step 2 CK at least once before you study again for the real exam. The Kaplan CK and CS review is now provided by the University and is an excellent resource to prepare for these exams
Built in the tradition of the best U.S. universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individualized student attention, small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. For these reasons, UMHS is quickly becoming the school of choice among Caribbean medical schools.