Wednesday, March 15, 2017

For four years, students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix have worked toward Match Day — the day students learn where they will spend the next several years as resident-physicians and a major step toward building their career in medicine. Match results are released nationally at Match Day ceremonies coordinated to occur at the exact same time across the country. Members of the Class of 2017 will receive letters showing where they will go for their residency training at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 17. The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix has profiled a handful of students in advance of Match Day 2017.

Meet Casey Rosser and Sarah Monks

Sarah Monks and Casey RosserFourth-year College of Medicine – Phoenix students Casey Rosser, originally from Mesa, and Sarah Monks, from Austin, Texas, met on their interview day at the college. “We had a break during the interviews, and Sarah was just having a moment to herself, and I went over and started talking her ear off,” Rosser recalled. They submitted their residency preferences in the Couples Match program.

Each attended undergraduate school at the University of Arizona, where they both studied physiology. “We were there at the same time, but we didn’t know one another,” Rosser said.

Path to Medicine

“I knew I wanted to be a medical student forever,” Rosser said. “The human body always fascinated me, and I knew I wanted to be in school and continue learning. I had many health issues within my family that exposed me to a lot of medicine early on, and I learned that medicine is not always black and white. There are many complexities.”

Monks described knowing she had a passion for medicine, but not knowing exactly what area she would wind up studying. “I always liked science and math, so I knew that was the sort of field I was going into,” she said. “I took a physiology class and realized how awesome it was. I was either going to do physical therapy or medical school. One of my best friends at the medical school in Tucson signed up for an MCAT class; and she asked if I was going to do it with her, so I signed up. I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to go to medical school, but I felt scared and did not know if I could cut it.”

Chosen Specialties

“I want to go into emergency medicine,” Monks said. “I really loved being in the emergency room. I scheduled my rotation for the beginning of fourth-year and within a week, I knew. I love that you can take care of any type of patient and anyone who walks through the door. It was the rotation where I was really excited to wake up every day, and the time just flew by.”

Rosser applied to the obstetrics and gynecology specialty. “I always loved the breadth of the field,” she said. “You are with the patients at the happiest times in their lives and some of the scariest and the most vulnerable times of their lives. It was the only rotation where I did not mind staying late or working 24 hours straight.”

Favorite Memories

“One of my favorite memories is when we went up to our friend’s family’s cabin up north with classmates,” Rosser said. “There were 15 of us, and we went snowboarding together. It was one of the first times that we hung out with our network together as a couple, and it was really fun.”

Monks described a moment during a class taught by Steven Curry, MD. “At the beginning of every lecture, he would crack open a soda can, and his favorite was Diet Dr. Pepper,” she said. “Near the end of second-year, we realized this was one of the last times we would take his class. The class all bought Diet Dr. Pepper soda cans, and as soon as he started the lecture, about 30 of us all opened our cans at the same time.”

Sarah Monks and Casey RosserMonks also recalled some of her favorite moments she shared with Rosser. “In your fourth-year you have to do away rotations, where you audition for different rotations of a specialty you want to work in,” she said. “Casey was in San Francisco, and I was able to visit her. Casey surprised me and we went on this lunch cruise.”

Keys to a Successful relationship

“Communicating well is important,” Rosser said. “That is something we are good at and have been since the beginning. You have to be willing to talk things out, even if it is not comfortable or easy to talk about.”

“Some of the time constraints are challenging,” Monks said. “Being in medical school together was good for our relationship. Sometimes it can be hard to convey if some emotional extreme happened during a clerkship. To have your partner be going through it too creates a level of understanding.”

Why They Chose the College of Medicine – Phoenix

“I knew when I came for my interview day that the community here and the vibe was unparalleled,” Rosser said. “It was toward the end of my interview season, and I was getting a little bit tired. It was just emotionally exhausting. I really actually wanted to go out of state for medical school, so I wasn’t as focused on in-state schools, but as soon as I got here and started meeting people, I knew immediately I wanted to be here.”

Monks was a repeat applicant for the College. “This was the only school I got into for medical school,” she said. “Even if I had options of where to go, I am glad this is where I ended up. When Tara Cunningham called me to tell me I got in, all I could say was ‘thank you,’ and I cried as soon as I hung up. Having to apply twice is hard on your self-esteem. It’s a perpetual feeling of inadequacy.”

“I thought medical school was going to be the end of the fun parts of my life, but it has been just the opposite,” Rosser said.

Advice to Other Medical Students

“Don’t forget your self-worth,” Monks said. “It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to talk about that.”

“Different things affect different people at different times,” Rosser said. “Life does not stop when you’re in medical school. It keeps going whether you are ready for it or not. I tried to set goals for myself both within my medical school career and outside of it. Having something to work toward and keep me sane outside of the rigor of medical school was helpful.”

Memorable Patient Encounters

“One of my favorite moments was in the emergency department,” Monks said. “This woman cut her thumb while making dinner for her family. She was Spanish speaking, and she knew a little English, while I knew a little Spanish. I was stitching her up, and we were trying to have this broken conversation. She was so appreciative, and I realized in that moment that I fell in love with emergency medicine. It was quick, and I was still able to connect with somebody. I was able to give her that help she needed.”

“When I was rotating on the Interventional Radiology service at Banner, there was a young woman who came in with a fatal brain bleed,” Rosser said of her experience. “She was actually comatose on admission, and her posturing indicated a very poor prognosis. She was flown from Banner Del Webb over to Banner – University Medicine Phoenix for a consultation. They found that the bleed was so bad that it did not qualify for definitive surgical intervention. They chose to place a shunt in her head to evacuate some of the blood increasing her intracranial pressure.”

“Overnight, the woman surprisingly showed a little improvement to the point where the team revisited the possibility of definitive management the next morning, even though none of the team I was working with had ever seen it be helpful in patients with bleeds that bad. The following morning, when we went to round on her as a team, she was awake in bed, responding to commands, breathing on her own without any focal neurologic deficits. The patient's husband was sobbing and ran up and hugged the surgeon, thanking him for taking a chance on his wife. I was told that this was the first time any of them had ever seen someone who presented the way she did, recover in this way. It was a nice reminder that every patient's situation is unique, and they don't always fit into the algorithms we're taught or the guidelines we memorize. Without a few people willing to step a little outside of their comfort zone, this wife, mother and patient may not be here today. These are the reinvigorating moments in medicine that make all the difficult ones worth it.”

Media Contact:

April Fischer
Phone: 602-827-2585


About the College

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix admitted its inaugural class of first-year medical students in August 2007. The college inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. It has graduated 354 physicians and has 328 students in training in its continuing mission to address the physician shortage in Arizona. The college is uniquely positioned to accelerate the biomedical and economic engines in Phoenix and the State by leveraging vital relationships with key clinical and community partners.