Jennifer McCormack, UBC Faculty of Medicine Vancouver Fraser Medical Program and former Trail Integrated Community Clerkship (ICC) student, has been recognized with the inaugural Undergraduate Narrative Award for Palliative Medicine by the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. The national award is designed to stimulate undergraduate medical students to think and reflect creatively about the multifaceted aspects of palliative medicine and caring at the end of life.
McCormack’s winning narrative was based on her own emotional struggle encountering a young woman with a terminal cancer diagnosis. She wrote about her experiences during a fourth-year palliative medicine elective in Winnipeg and her struggle facing the realities of medicine’s limitations.
“There are so many diseases and social determinants of health that we do not have the power change,” say McCormack. “Over the course of my clerkship year, I realized I would need to build my resilience so that I would be able to support my patients through tragedy without feeling burdened and burnt out myself. I sought support from mentors and counsellors, as well as exploring the role of palliative care through clinical electives. I drew on both my patient encounters and the words of wisdom from my mentors when composing my submission.”
Now in her fourth year, McCormack plans to purse a career in rural family medicine with a practice she describes as ‘full service, cradle-to-grave.’ Her top choice for residency is with the Kelowna rural family medicine site allowing her to continue her medical training in the BC Interior.