After suffering a back injury as a large animal veterinary surgical resident, Lynn Williams was determined not to be defined by disability and pursued medicine as a second career.
What advice would you give to new students?
First, don’t be afraid of failure. If you don't face setbacks or aren't challenged in what you attempt, you are missing opportunities to push yourself to achieve greater things.
Second, hard work gets you much farther than being smart. “I don’t know” is never a wrong answer especially when followed by “but I’ll look it up and let you know tomorrow”.
How did you engage with student life on campus?
I’m an older student with young children at home so I didn’t engage much with the usual activities. I did, however, appreciate the family-friendly activities that were planned by our class to include the 20 or so children whose parents are my classmates.
What was your favourite class during your program?
I particularly enjoyed the clerkship years of medical school (third and fourth years). During each six-to-eight- week rotation there were periods when I was convinced each specialty was my favourite and strongly considered applying to residencies in that specialty. In particular, psychiatry, anesthesia and specialty surgery rotations I found most enjoyable.
Who has been your mentor or favourite professor?
I really look up to Dr. Daniel Li who I worked with at Alberta Hospital Edmonton on my psychiatry rotation. Dr. Li is a wonderful example of an excellent physician, teacher, role model and is the kindest human being ever.
What is your most memorable UAlberta experience?
Some of my most memorable experiences were as a senior medical student in the middle of the night at various hospitals throughout the city. On many occasions, the resident or staff physician I’d been working with took the time to teach for a few minutes while enjoying a snack from the closest coffee shop. These instances in particular are memorable because those individuals were under no obligation to teach following a full day (and night) of work, but did so out of a passion for teaching their junior colleagues.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the process of moving to Saskatoon to begin an anesthesia residency program at the University of Saskatchewan.