Choosing a path in medicine or, really, making any major life decision is always a harder process than it might look from the outside. More factors than just a recruitment package or an overview of the current state of a subspecialty have to be weighed. There is family, community, and even a best guess at anticipated quality of life. Dr. Rashi Khanna, Hospitalist and Associate of Internal Medicine, has always considered her options carefully.
The choice to enter medicine at all was an easy one, though. “We come from a family of doctors. And we were always told that medicine is the most noble profession.” Despite initial parental pressure to discount any other possible options, Dr. Khanna found that she had an aptitude for science, finding it more interesting than other subjects. After passing the rigorous admissions process into the well-respected Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India, and finishing an internship in Delhi, Dr. Khanna spent a year as a medical officer in internal medicine. The only catch was that the posting was in Singapore.
She knew that eventually she wanted to study medicine in the United States, but she wanted some experience practicing first. “Singapore is pretty close to America when it comes to quality of care, how they see their patients. It gave me a bit of hands-on before coming to the United States.” It also gave her a taste for living internationally while still reasonably close to home and and in a culture that was relatively familiar. Dr. Khanna got a taste of two different subspecialties—geriatrics and hematology/oncology—as well as experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team. “In India, this idea is still coming up, but in Singapore, they stick together.” Team-based practices, like “huddles,” were already familiar to Dr. Khanna by the time she was ready to begin her residency here.
Dr. Khanna matched with Fairview Hospital, now a part of Cleveland Clinic, joining her husband who was just one year ahead of her in the same program. While Dr. Khanna was in her third year at Fairview, she was exposed to another aspect of medicine—administration and leadership—when she was given the post of Chief Resident. “It gives you a taste of how the other side works. You find out how much you can fix, but you (also) have to take care of other things. You cannot always make everybody happy.”
By the end of Dr. Khanna’s Chief Residency, it was time to join her husband, who was already a year into his Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship here at the University of Iowa. While he completes the program, Dr. Khanna is happy to get exposure to yet another kind of medicine as a Hospitalist. Although she misses the deep connection that can develop with patients of her own over longer periods of time, she does appreciate the slightly greater ease with which she can disconnect from work at the end of a period spent on service. “You can definitely still have some rapport with inpatients. I try to put myself in their place, what would I want to hear?” The patients seem to respond to her strategy. “A lot of them ask me, ‘Where do you practice?’”
Dr. Khanna’s colleagues are similarly impressed with her work. Dr. Ankur Mishra, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, praises her communication skills. Both Dr. Mishra and Dr. Agnes Obita, Associate of Internal Medicine, agree that Dr. Khanna has an exceptionally positive attitude. Dr. Obita adds, “Her critical thinking and focus on striving to achieve the best outcomes for her patients is what makes working with her rewarding.”
When Dr. Khanna is not at work, she likes to take advantage of what the area offers. “Iowa City is a nice place, it’s small, but cozy, and you can find plenty of places to go out.” She was excited to discover a theater in Cedar Rapids that gets the occasional Bollywood movie. Dr. Khanna also likes to travel, whether it’s pure vacation, like the Grand Canyon or a recent trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, or just tacking on a couple extra days in a city after a medical conference. We hope that those trips always lead Dr. Khanna back to Iowa City.