Chandresh Nandani, OMS III at Midwestern University - AZCOM, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

March 4, 2020
Chandresh Nandani, AZCOM

I have the conviction that a group of people working towards the same goal is capable of almost anything. Teamwork fuels medicine and seeing just how much physicians can contribute has been the driving force behind all my endeavors in medical school. As a TA throughout OMS2 for Anatomy and Physiology, we had the change to aid our peers' academics, but more importantly ease their concerns and give advice for moving through school. My forebears did the same for me and this was my chance to provide the type of mentorship that was crucial to me; we are at our best when we are lifting each other up.

As president of the Gay Straight Alliance, I provide LGBT+ students with a sense of belonging and social support amidst the greater campus community. Furthermore, we changed the clinical curriculum, provided HIV testing, and facilitated workshops to improve the care of future LGBT+ patients and strengthened the physicians produced by AZCOM. On a greater scale, I was an active part of the AOMA Legislative Affairs committee and advocated for physicians and patients on a legislative level. This was the culmination of physicians being united to improve the circumstances we all face. I continue to try and make the communities I am a part of stronger in countless facets of my life. My instinct to offer a helping hand has guided me throughout my academic career and will continue to push me as a physician.

Where do you consider home to be?

Home is an evolving concept for me because this stage of my life has me moving around frequently for different rotations. However, this is familiar to me because even though I was born in Chicago I have moved 15+ times in my life. I think that any place where I can spend a few months getting to know the people and figuring out where I fit in can be home. At the moment, and hopefully in the future, Tucson is home.

What do you love about Arizona?
When I look around at the gorgeous mountains, trees, and skies I feel like I am living in an animated movie. The scenery! The colors! It can be infuriatingly beautiful sometimes. I can hike 300 days of the year because the weather is so accommodating. Plus, the cost of living is incredibly reasonable. All of these factors together are why the people of Tucson are so nice too, which is another huge bonus.

What is your favorite thing to do in your (very limited!) free time?

Outer order is a huge contributor to my inner peace so I love cleaning my apartment, cooking, and doing little errands. Luckily, we live in a golden age for media and I love trying to catch up on the never-ending list of good podcasts, books, games, comic books, and Netflix/Hulu programs.

How did you discover you wanted a career in medicine?
I have a natural tendency for two things: science and taking care of people. However, I don't just want to help patients, I want to be the "captain of the ship" by leading an entire team of people in helping patients and their families.

Who has been the most influential person in your life throughout your journey as a medical student?
I have been blessed with an incredible tribe of medical school friends. My friend Janelle is a fierce, unrelenting force of nature that hasn't met a problem she couldn't outthink. My friend Xo is supremely empathetic, firm, and honest. My friend Blake is one of the most thoughtful, curious, and hilarious people I have ever met. We all fiercely support each other and I would not have made it through medical school without them.

Which specialty do you plan to practice?
I want to go into Internal Medicine. I like making sure that patients feel taken care of and that they have a personal relationship with their doctor. Plus, I fell in love with IM during my rotations.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of a medical student. Prior to June of 2019 (aka when I took my boards) my days were a blur of studying, caffeine, multitasking, and more studying. However, nowadays I have a lot more balance and structure in my day and usually have a schedule that goes something like this:

7am-8am- get ready for rotation (shower, brush teeth, etc.) 8am-4pm- work at clinic and see patients
4pm-5pm- prep my dinner/lunch for the next day and unwind from work
5pm-9pm- answer emails + study for rotation + administrative tasks + errands
9pm-10:30pm- gym
11pm- sleep

This is all interspersed with little pockets filled with driving, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media, calling my Mom, snacking, etc.

What advice would you give to a student considering medicine as a career?
Figure out your sense of self-worth. So much of the drudgery and rigor can only be tolerated if you fortify yourself beforehand. Simultaneously, it is important to have firm boundaries of what you will not tolerate and to stick up for yourself. Find that sweet spot before medical school.

What is the most interesting thing you've discovered so far in your medical training?
I think the business side of medicine is so fascinating. So much of the medical decision-making is governed by insurance and legal factors. The more that I dig into that world, the more I feel like Alice stepping through the looking glass.

What excites you about becoming a physician?
Every time a doctor gives/signs an order, a chain reaction goes off and I am most excited (and a little scared) to be able to put in my own orders one day. At my current stage, the impact of my actions is fairly low but being able to put in orders is what makes it all "real."

What led you to pursue osteopathic medicine as opposed to allopathic medicine?
I have always been a holistic person and sort of a "hippie" that believes in integrated approaches to medicine. Also, I thought it would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to learn the entire OMT toolkit that might be helpful to my future patients one day.

In retrospect, becoming an osteopath has been tremendously beneficial. During my didactic years, I was already able to provide treatments instead of having to wait on getting the power to prescribe like my MD colleagues. Additionally, my OMM training informs my understanding of clinical cases and leads to a more robust foundation of medical knowledge. Truly, some of the best doctors I have met have been DOs.

What do you think the future of medicine looks like?
I have been seeing doctors get more and more specialized. For example, 50 years ago there were only 5 main residency types, now there are orders of magnitude more. In some cities doctors have become "super-specialists" i.e. a GI doctor might only do polypectomies instead of the broad range of all GI work.

Additionally, I am seeing a huge surge of political engagement, especially from younger DOs. The number of students that attend our DO Day on the Hill and keep up with legislation is swelling up each year.

Part of the TOMF mission is to provide high-quality Continuing Medical Education to medical professionals in Southern Arizona. We would like to know how you learn best so that we can provide effective and engaging CME to your generation of osteopathic physicians. Which of the following provides the best learning experience in your opinion?
I learn best from hands-on workshops, but prefer online webinars for the sake of convenience.

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