Wescolite (Dillon, Mont) 1949-2009, November 03, 2004, Image 8

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November 3, 2004 Consider a _______Job Ideas Career in Medicine The Wescolite Student Newspaper By Marie Giere We all need them at some point in our lives, but have you ever wondered what it takes to become a doctor? Becoming a doc­ tor requires much more than just going to school for many years and develop­ ing knowledge and skills. It is a life­ long calling that requires flexibility and great sacrifices of time, money, per­ sonal interests, and family. A career in medicine is loaded with personal reward, but it is equally loaded with personal sacrifice. Most doctors say it takes a lifetime to get a good medical education. As a pre-med student you will need to excel in all undergraduate academics and achieve high scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Strong recommendations are also required from undergraduate college faculty and administrators, as well as completion of a lengthy written application in order to be considered for admission at leading medical schools. You will spend four years and over $100,000 for tuition in medical school. During the first two years, focus is on the sciences basic to medicine. In the third year, experience is gained with patients in hospital, clinic, and office settings. The fourth year is a mix of required and elective courses where you gain additional experience caring for patients. After graduation you will spend at least three years in a graduate m edical education (residency) program. During that period you must pass a state examination to obtain a license to practice medicine. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Doctor Burke Hansen of Dillon. We discussed how he has in three decades traveled a long, challenging road to become one of Dillon‘s finest young physicians. “Initially I had plans for an engineering career.” Burke told me. “But, while playing basketball in my junior year of high school, I tore my ACL. While I was in physical therapy, T'began to thhrk freing a -physical- therapist would be a great career for me. But, my therapist told me to think bigger. He said I should aspire to more and become a doctor.” Burke completed his undergraduate pre-med studies at Carroll College. “With the help o f my dad and a private academic endowment scholarship, I began my first year as one of one-hundred-tw e n ty-five pre-m ed students,” he said. “After four years, I was one o f twenty-five to complete the program.” The next four years of Burke’s education were at Creighton Univer­ sity in Omaha. “M ontana has no medical school,” he said. “I could have selected the University of North Dakota because Montana has financial arrangements with UND to assist Montana residents with tuition. But, I chose Creighton, despite its higher tuition. Financially, I was on my own.” “ I planned for a rural fam ily practice after medical school,” he said. “But, I knew I would first need the clinical exposure o f treating patients in a larger facility. I started the first phase of my residency education at the North- Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado. That first year at Greeley was rough,” he said. “The residents carried huge patient loads and many times worked more than 100 hours a week. I think one week I worked over 120 hours. The last two years of my residency were completed in Wray, Colorado. At Wray, the patient load was less and, more importantly, I could test myself to see if being a family doctor in rural America would work for me.” Burke told me a little story he liked, “After I had completed all my medical education, I had the occasion to ask the MD-father of a hometown friend about his choice of Medicine as a career. If he had to do it all over again, the friend’s dad said, he would choose a different career.” With tongue in cheek, he smiled and added, “It seemed a little late to hear that.” • ’During-ourinterview,Tasked a fe\v questions of Burke to learn if there is more to him than just hard work and perseverance. The answer I found is Yes. Burke Hansen is clearly a dedicated man who devotes himself to God, his family and his patients. With little help from mentors and a great deal o f personal fortitude, he has made a demanding journey to reach a point of professional competence and respect among peers and friends in Dillon. I was curious to know how Dr. Hansen copes with the everyday issues of being a physician. He said, “There are days when I am severely tested, but my faith has always helped keep me centered. I try to get away, maybe do some fishing, and just spend time alone to sort through my thoughts. My wife Holly and I hope to travel in the coming years. For now, I enjoy my time with Holly and our two girls - Emily, 2, and Evelyn, 7 months - and helping Holly find activities for our young family to enjoy.” When asked how he deals with terminal illness or patient death, it was not surprising to hear Burke’s answer. “I do everything possible for each individual, not just for the patient but for the immediate family as well. After that, we all must understand there is a higher power in God. Those situations are never easy and you never really escape your personal feelings.” Finally, I wanted to know if Burke would make the same career choices again, given what he has learned. “Without a doubt,” he said, “God has given me a gift. If I can be a good physician and help people, I will.” McDonald's of Dillon Fast and Friendly Service Free ice cream cone with purchase of a value meal and with this ad Now hiring friendly people. We have very flexible scheduling and can work around your schedule!

Wescolite (Dillon, Mont), 03 Nov. 2004, located at <http://montananewspapers.org/lccn/Wescolite/2004-11-03/ed-1/seq-8/>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.