In her short time, Bless Onaiwu has learned that medical school is about the small details.
The 22-year-old recalled a recent hospital visit she made for school in which a patient had a rare fungal condition. Coincidentally, the disease had been briefly discussed in another class she’d taken. She watched as doctors consulted with each other, adding their knowledge of how to treat it and the best course of action, she said.
“There’s so much that goes on,” Onaiwu said. “Everything we learn makes us better. Everything is important as a physician. You’re studying to save a life, not just for a test.”
Onaiwu was born in Nigeria, but raised in Frisco, Texas, where she graduated from high school.
In May, she graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. She started at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in August.
Onaiwu shadowed doctors in different fields before starting school. She had long known she wanted to be a doctor — her parents said she began talking about it as a young child — but wanted to explore different areas.
“I’m trying to keep an open mind, but I keep coming back to OB-GYN,” Onaiwu said.
Working with women and children is her passion, Onaiwu said. And she likes the ability to do both surgery and clinical work, as obstetricians do.
“You may see a teenage girl or a woman who is trying to get pregnant or a woman who is in menopause,” she said. “You have patients that you see again and again, and build a community in your practice.”
Being in medical school is like immersing yourself in a new culture everyday, she said. There’s so much information to learn that it’s both fascinating and stressful, she said.
“The stress can be overwhelming,” she said.
One of the things Onaiwu has identified as a solution to reduce stress is carving out time for church and exercise, she said. Despite the challenging workload and stress, the medical branch has helped created a less-stressful atmosphere.
“I’m biased because I love UTMB, but UTMB really does make it easier,” she said. “The way the classes are set up and how the course directors are so open and willing, it all helps.”