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In this new Vital Signs series, we feature 4th-year medical student Rachael Hamm. From Conover, North Carolina, Rachael had a desire to practice medicine at a very early age. Her passions include pursuing emergency medicine after medical school.  

From Conover, North Carolina, 4th-year medical student Rachael Hamm knew very early in life that she was meant to be a physician. She shares more on what led her to want to become a doctor and what her plans are once she finishes medical school.

Q: What interests did you have when you were younger? Did you always want to be a doctor?

My parents have pictures of me carrying around a stethoscope and “playing doctor” on my siblings when I was two and a half years old. When I was three, my dad even documented in a notebook that he had a feeling I would become a doctor. It’s safe to say that I always knew medicine was for me.

Q: Why did you choose to become a doctor?

 I have always loved science, the human body, and helping others. Medicine connects all three of those for me. In the fifth grade, I was in a farming accident and became a trauma patient. I still remember that day vividly, but what stood out the most was the team taking care of me. Although I was too young to fully understand what it meant to be a physician, their unwavering dedication and expertise left an indelible mark on me. They ensured that I could go on to live a normal life, and from that day on, I knew I wanted to be like them.

Q: What is the most interesting part of medical school at Carolina?

UNC and UNC SOM are both very special to me. The most interesting parts of medical school at Carolina are my friends and classmates.  The scholarly concentrations and satellite campuses are also unique aspects of UNC SOM.

Q: What do you plan to focus on after med school (residency in what and where)?

I plan to focus on Emergency Medicine.

Q: What is your career goal?

Be passionate about what I’m doing and wake up excited to learn. Remember that it is an honor to be in the field of medicine and to learn from those whom we help take care of.

In regards to emergency medicine, I am interested in completing a fellowship in critical care. Long term, I would love to find a way to connect critical care and emergency medicine in a rural area of NC. I am also passionate about medical education and hope to be in an environment with new learners.