What MD graduates of 2023 want hospitals to know

After four years of medical school — three of which were during a global pandemic — 2023 graduates are preparing to enter their residency placements with several things on their minds: mental health, promoting equity, care quality and concerns about the industry at times prioritizing profits over people.

Rather than deter or discourage them, many see the challenges facing the medical profession as room to make a difference and contribute to changes as they go.

Coast to coast, graduates from Harvard University in Cambridge Mass., Howard University in Washington, D.C., the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the University of California, San Francisco told Becker's what they most want hospitals to know about them.

Here's what they had to say:

What are you most excited about as you fully enter the field of medicine in 2023?

  • "I'm most excited about the opportunities to provide mentorship. Black women in orthopedics is probably the smallest demographic within that specialty and while it's growing, it still has a long way to go. And so I think I'm most excited about having the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the field." — Jessica Smith, MD, a Howard University graduate entering the field of orthopedic surgery.

  • "I am most excited about being able to take on a larger responsibility in the clinical setting and being able to care for and advocate for my patients. As an incoming psychiatry resident, I am also excited about engaging in conversations with my patients about their mental health, a topic that has become more relevant and more discussed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic." — Amitoj Singh, MD, a UCSF graduate entering the psychiatry field.

  • "This is an exciting time to be in this career because many of us are asking big and important questions about how to bring more empathy to the field, how to address injustices and inequities in medicine, and how to make the job more sustainable for physicians and other providers. Between this and the constant innovations in technology, I anticipate that the field will transform many times during my career, and I’m thrilled and humbled to be a part of that." — Willow Frye, MD, a UCSF graduate entering general surgery.

What are the biggest concerns or anticipated challenges you have about entering the profession?

  • "Healthcare is rapidly changing; it’s becoming more corporate and there’s greater financial self-interest among organizations within the profession. Take for example, private equity in healthcare. My concern is working within a profession that at times has shown itself to put profits over patients. I hope we see healthcare as a public good and not as a vehicle for excessive financial gain." — Ahmed Mukhtar Ahmed, MD, a Harvard University graduate entering internal medicine.

  • "I'm really worried about the degradation of quality in terms of the benefit of profits. I see that everywhere. I see it in terms of patients not getting the best quality care at emergency facilities. I've seen it in terms of that some levels of providers are sometimes not disclosing to patients that they are not physicians. I see it in terms of overloading physicians, which compromises the quality of the care that the patients get." — Malik Alqawasmi, MD, a University of New Mexico graduate going into internal medicine.

  • "One of the things I'm concerned about is being able to identify when I am burned out and what tools I have to deal with that. One thing that a pandemic showed us was just how fragile the healthcare system is and how easily physicians can be pushed to their limits; not just their physical well-being but also their mental well-being. The idea of wellness, being able to take care of ourselves mentally as well as physically outside of the hospital is something that has been emphasized to our class. I feel more prepared than I would have thought, but it's still in the back of my mind as something to look out for and be ready to identify." — Henok Eskinder, MD, a Howard University graduate entering pathology.

What is one thing you want hospitals and health systems to know about med school graduates from the class of 2023? 

  • "It's important for hospital systems to know that with a world pandemic and four years of medical school that our graduating class — we've been through a particularly difficult time — so to come out on the other side and be mentally well has been a challenge in and of itself. A lot of us have prioritized taking care of our psyche during this time, and it's really important that as we enter this field where our time in the hospital will greatly overpower our time outside of it, that the resources that we need to take care of our mental well-being are a priority. It shouldn't be up to us to find those things all the time on our own. I think hospitals should make it a priority to have them available and make sure that it is well known to the residents." — Jessica Smith, MD, Howard University

  • "This graduating class is mission driven. We have an unwavering conviction to make healthcare better for all of our patients. We not only see the disparities in our healthcare system, but we seek to address them with those impacted." — Ahmed Mukhtar Ahmed, MD, Harvard University

  • "We care a lot about building good relationships with our teams and patients. This is both for an optimal care experience and for everyone’s mental wellbeing. We recognize that taking care of ourselves is integral to taking care of others and that addressing the structural constraints, the upstream factors, is critical to making our work sustainable. We do not want to just cure diseases, we want to heal." — Willow Frye, MD, UCSF

  • "Although our educational experience may have been impacted by the pandemic, we are ready to learn, work hard, and serve our future patients and better the health of our communities." — Amitoj Singh, MD, UCSF

  • "We are ready. We are an excited and excellent bunch. We are energized to see how medicine progresses and heals from the pandemic." — Malik Alqawasmi, MD, UNM

  • "We are a resilient class, and we're very well qualified." — Henok Eskinder, MD, Howard University

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