Nicole Falls was an Honors graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Specialization in Health Sciences (BHSc) when she headed off to Saba University School of Medicine and discovered her true calling as a surgeon. Nicole credits Saba as being key to earning her first-year residency in a highly competitive field and then topping that a year later: securing a PGY2 position In General Surgery outside of the match.
“Nothing can prepare you for the transition from medical school to residency,” says Nicole. “But knowing how to live far away from home and work hard helped tremendously. My American school graduate friends have had a much harder time and I think that’s largely due to the fact that they didn’t have to move to an island and be pushed to excellence.”
After completing her first five semesters on the Saba campus, Nicole completed clinical rotations in Baltimore, Miami, Louisiana and Ohio. “Every rotation taught me something. My preceptors valued Saba students knowing that we come from a strong educational background and that we are hard working.”
Nicole matched on her first try into a PGY1 General Surgery position at Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA and then secured a PGY2 General Surgery position at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ.“As an international medical graduate I was able to match into General Surgery and again rematch into a PGY2 position outside of the match, where my application and step scores stood on their own to represent me.”
While the hours of a surgical resident are notoriously long, Nicole says the many hours of studying at Saba made it easier to adapt. She is also confident about the American Board of Surgery ABSITE exam: “Saba equipped me in knowing how to write standardized exams, which is why I scored so high on the USMLE.”
Nicole is an avid runner and biker. While on Saba she competed in the island’s grueling triathlon. “Saba is more than just a medical school,” says Elizabeth. “It is a life experience. It teaches you to work hard and pushes you to be a better student, better person and an excellent doctor.”
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