Med School, Uganda, and Creativity in a Hospital

Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Shayla Wilson (‘04), visited Ryan McCallum’s Journalism 2 class to give perspective on eight years of secondary education, healthcare in Uganda, and what it means to be creative inside the walls of a hospital.

Wilson attended the University of Minnesota for both her undergraduate and medical education. On June 8, she will move to Chicago to begin her 3-year residency and finally get paid to work. Residency is required of medical school graduates in order to practice medicine in the United States.

Wilson will work in pediatric care, which encompasses newborn children through the age of 20 years old. During her residency, she will work 40 to 80 hours a week, 16 to 18 hours a day, but only make slightly more than a beginning teacher’s salary. Her and other medical school graduates are considered “cheap labor”.

“I don’t get much time to sleep, but I signed up for it,” Wilson said.

When asked what keeps her motivated, she replied “I’m doing this because I really want to do it. Everyone who’s in medical school really wants to be there.”

Wilson also spent six weeks in Uganda during the past year, and brought home memories and more knowledge on healthcare. Uganda has a 6.5% rate of AIDS, making it the 10th highest in the world.

“In Uganda, when someone is diagnosed with AIDS, they accept it like it’s not that big of a deal, because the rates have already gone down so much compared to when the outbreaks first began.” Wilson said. “It’s so different than it is here.”

She spent time treating Ugandan children with AIDS, melanoma, Burkitt’s, and malnutrition.

After her residency, Wilson would like to complete a fellowship, which is more advanced training in her specific field. Wilson hopes to continue with pediatric oncology. When she has completed her fellowship, she will be able to perform more specific care involving childhood cancers, rather than working as a general practitioner.

Becoming a doctor has proven to be a lot of work, but Wilson said, “The good days outweigh the bad. There is no other profession I can see myself in.”


I'm Erika. I like to write.

Related Articles