Shelby Terstriep, M.D.
How would you describe the Visiting Medical Student Clerkship Program?
My clerkship in oncology included one week in the hospital setting and three weeks of outpatient oncology. It was unbelievable how much respect the residents and consultants extended to the medical students. Even though my knowledge at the time was not at the same level, everyone treated me as part of the team. There is no hierarchy and this made Mayo a very appealing place to study.
What led you to hematology and oncology?
During my clerkship, I learned more about what an outpatient oncology practice looks like. Many people assume its all doom and gloom, but it's not. It's about managing people who are at all stages of cancer, including those who have been cured. Like primary care physicians, oncologists have the opportunity to develop long term relationships with their patients. Being able to develop those strong relationships is what I really like about hematology and oncology.
What inspires you about medicine?
I think the fact that you can be a lot of different things inspires me about medicine. You can be teacher, researcher, caregiver, motivator, public speaker and administrator. There are lots of avenues you can pursue depending upon your interests.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for a clerkship?
I was a little nervous about applying here. I did a rotation in family medicine in North Dakota, near my hometown and the physician I worked with told me that I should apply to Mayo. He was so impressed with how available Mayo physicians are to local family physicians. Then when I arrived here for my clerkship someone gave me a business card that says that had Mayo Clinic's mission on it, "the needs of the patient comes first." I kept that business card, because it really summarized what this place is all about and the type of institution I wanted to train.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo Clinic?
I was surprised at how efficient Mayo Clinic is. In medical school it seemed that much of my time was spent tracking down test results. At Mayo, tests and procedures are done and interpreted quickly. This is such an attractive thing for patients and caregivers. I was also surprised at how available consultants are to you. They are very willing to answer questions and teach you.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
I am from a small town so the size of Rochester didn't matter at all to me. And during residency you are so busy that you don't even notice. There is affordable housing, which means many residents even buy a house. It is a great family town with lots of activities for kids, which I appreciate, because I have a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old. There is a lot of support for family in my division and all over Mayo Clinic. I think that support is unusual.
What does your future look like right now?
When I finish my fellowship, I am going into a hospital-based practice in Fargo, North Dakota. One of my interests includes bringing healthcare to rural areas, so I hope to be doing outreach close to where I grew up. It is appealing to be able to give back.
How are/were you supported in your studies?
At Mayo Clinic program directors and mentors seem to be very good about letting you decide what you want to focus on. They don't push you into research, they let you choose. It's nice to make your own way in discovering the things you want to pursue. There are endless opportunities and when you find your niche, they support you in it. At Mayo, it's not about fitting into one mold.