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ERAS Personal Statement Example - Family Medicine (June 2024)

Updated: Jun 12


Silly Spider-Man cartoon

The following ERAS personal statement example is for the medical residency application of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. I made it up completely and wrote it from scratch.


Below the example is a short discussion about the personal statement's elements and why I made many of the choices I made while writing it.


Need help with personal statement writing or any other aspect of your ERAS application? Feel free to check out all the services I offer. Reach out to me to request help today!


ERAS Personal Statement Example - Family Medicine


While volunteering at my aunt’s homeless shelter, I am frequently inspired by how much of an impact I can make with just a little bit of compassion and attention. Some of the relationships I’ve built there are years in the making. Others only span a single encounter. However, with them all, I learn to better collaborate with people toward making positive life changes. Each interaction is also an opportunity to emulate the family physician I have been inspired by all my life. You see, my aunt raised me. She has numerous chronic health concerns, so many of my afternoons growing up were spent accompanying her to the doctor’s office. Our family physician was always the rock we could rely upon. She still guides us through our ups and downs today. So, of course I strive to serve my patients with similar warmth, dedication, and expertise; my commitment to building trust and strong connections has defined my performance throughout rotations. Family medicine residency will be an extension of this, and I cannot wait to get started.

 

As a family medicine resident, I will relish cultivating lasting relationships with my patients as I treat them over months and years. I got a small taste of that kind of continuity of care during my recent family medicine elective after a 20-year-old female, diagnosed with pre-diabetes three months earlier, presented to our clinic. She was excited to share her progress, but dismayed when we found her weight and A1C levels had somehow increased. During my interview I quickly discovered she was confused. She had stopped “eating so much sugar” but was still consuming large amounts of pasta and soft drinks. Accordingly, with my attending’s permission, I took extra time to explain to our patient her condition in simple terms, print out an easy-to-follow DASH diet, and gain her commitment to healthier eating and regular exercise. Next, I reached out to a nutritionist and set her an appointment for later that week.

 

That day marked the first time I spoke with that particular nutritionist. Before my rotation was over, however, I scheduled many more appointments with him for others in similar situations. Meanwhile, I maintained weekly contact with my patient via phone and was present during her follow-up visits. The last time I saw the woman she had lost weight, brought down her A1C levels, and was glowing with pride for finally understanding and taking charge of her health. I only wish I could have remained her doctor long term. After all, my favorite part of my rotations were the relationships I built -- every time I saw an appreciative smile dawn on someone’s face, I’d remember my family physician and marvel at what she still means to my aunt and me. To play a similar positive role in a patient’s life, no matter how big or small, is a humbling and rewarding honor.

 

“With great power comes great responsibility,” my uncle once told me before he passed away. That’s my favorite quote. It means I must keep sharpening the knowledge and tools that I can use to benefit the patients I am so devoted to serving. Volunteer work is a large part of that journey, and my service is what initially inspired me to follow this path through medical school. I will surely continue to donate my time and energy whenever I can. I will do so locally, but I also intend to go abroad with an organization like Doctors Without Borders one day. Additionally, I envision starting my own family practice, possibly near my aunt’s homeless shelter. That’s far off in the future though, so, for now, I am seeking a family medicine residency program with great mentors and a focus on giving back to its surrounding community. As a grateful participant, I will always work hard and put my team and patients first.

 

Thanks for your time. It would be so awesome to swing by and meet you in person this interview season.


Discussion


Spider-Man taking questions

At 661 words, Peter’s word count is ideal. Check out my article about optimal ERAS personal statement length for further reading.

 

As far as structure, Peter follows my patented Cheeseburger Method, about which I go into great detail in my personal statement writing guide. It consists of three main elements:



Delicious cheeseburger


Element 1 (The Introduction or Top Bun): His introduction discusses his background and motivation for pursuing medicine in the first place, as well as why he's applying for family medicine residency.

 

He mentions his family physician, but rather than just stating how great she is, he keeps the conversation about himself, discussing how he applies her lessons to his own day to day. This is critical -- in your personal statement, you must focus on YOU as much as possible.

 

Element 2 (The Middle or The Meat): Next comes Peter’s patient story, which is the meat of the personal statement.

 

From his introduction, he transitions into the story by utilizing relationships and continuity. Then he describes a type of patient he’ll encounter all the time as a family medicine resident.


Through his patient story, without simply telling the reader, Peter shows himself as:

 

1.       A good communicator and listener - He interviews his patient and quickly discovers she doesn’t grasp what constitutes a healthy diet.


2.       Proactive - Peter takes the initiative to ask his attending if he can spend extra time with the patient.


3.       Thorough - He goes way beyond just explaining the patient’s condition. He prints out clear instructions, confirms her understanding and commitment, and then reaches out to a nutritionist. Speaking of that…


4.       Proactive (again), thorough (yup, again), resourceful, and team-oriented - By establishing contact with the nutritionist, he creates a more all-encompassing, sustainable solution for his patient. He also begins a valuable relationship with a new team member.


5.       Dedicated and relationship-oriented - Peter follows up with his patient weekly and celebrates her progress when she comes back to the office.

 

All of the above attributes apply very well to family medicine. Great work Peter!!

 

Element 3 (The Conclusion or Bottom Bun): Now Peter transitions into his conclusion by calling back to the introduction, reminding the reader of his family doctor and aunt. This brings everything full circle, which readers love.


Then, as he enters the final paragraph, he continues that theme by bringing in a quote from his uncle.

 

Note: I am usually not a fan of using quotes, but that’s just my preference and not a solid personal statement writing rule. And I couldn’t resist including this one because of its relevance to Spider-Man's origin story.

 

In his conclusion, Peter re-emphasizes his service work, touches on the future, and declares (being general so as not to alienate any programs) what he’s looking for in a residency program and what he will bring to the table as a team member.

 

Finally, to mitigate a bit of an abrupt ending, he adds a respectful line at the end about “swinging” into an interview. Get it?

 

Sorry, I really can’t help myself.


My full ERAS personal statement writing guide goes into great detail about my methods. And please feel free to check out all the services I offer. Reach out to me to request help today!


 

Photo credits:


Cheeseburger - Abby Curtin

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