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Tutor Spotlight: Alexander Dabrowiecki – Med School Tutors

alex-dabrowiecki.jpgAlex Dabrowiecki is one of our most engaging and enthusiastic medical tutors. A beast when it comes to crushing the USMLEs, he’s no stranger to the type of focus and dedication it takes to conquer these exams.

But what Alex has in spades is the ability to help his students both master the content these exams test and use the challenge the USMLEs present to actually better yourself as a physician, not just a standardized test taker. We adore and deeply appreciate Alex’s humor, the level of care he brings to his work with his students (and our team!), and his general USMLE and medical badassery. Here’s more from the man himself:

Where did you go to medical school?

I’m finishing up my last couple of months at St. George’s University. Although I’m enjoying fourth year, I can’t wait to graduate!

Where are you doing your residency and in what specialty?

I’m applying for Radiology, and I’ll find out where on March 18th.

What are your career plans after residency?

At this point I want to keep all my options open, but I will be pursuing a one-year fellowship after residency, and I would love to stay involved in medical education.

What accomplishment in your medical career are you most proud of?

This is a tough question because there are so many small victories that I was proud of throughout medical school, from doing well in difficult classes and the boards all the way through surviving clinicals. In my fourth year, I was extremely fortunate to have worked with some legendary radiologists which I’m really proud of. What I took away from these experiences was that they were some of the most down to earth and laid back people I have ever met even though these physicians wrote the book in their specialty!

Do you do any research? Any publications?

Yes, I’ve done a few projects and am still working on one currently. One of my favorite moments was presenting an abstract at a national emergency medicine conference in my second year. Of course it was a great honor, especially as a second year, and all expenses paid staying at a four-star hotel was sweet!

What brought you to Med School Tutors? Why did you choose to be a tutor?

I’ve always stayed involved in education, starting when I was a paramedic teaching EMT and ACLS classes, continuing into basic sciences and now with MST. I found MST as the most reputable tutoring company filled with brilliant tutors and the kindest staff; I wanted to be part of that family so I took the chance and applied. In general, I love passing on the information that I’ve learned along the way so people can either follow suit with what worked or learn from my mistakes.

What is one piece of advice you would give to students as they are finishing interview season?

As I’m currently in this position, I think the advice I’m following is to enjoy my free time as much as possible for these next few months, so I’m planning a European vacation with my soon-to-be wife before residency starts.

What is the most embarrassing story from your intern year OR what is the most awkward patient encounter you have ever had?

I’ve got plenty of these, but one that stands out actually occurred during my Step 2 CS with a standardized patient. I was unusually nervous for this exam, which, if you’re reading this prior to taking CS don’t be nervous, (just go see 12 patients like you do any other day). So on my first patient, again extremely nervous, I lost track of time and just got to explaining my number one differential diagnosis to the patient: “Mr. Smith, your symptoms are most concerning for Alzheimer’s disease.” I planned to follow this up with multiple positive affirmations and other confirmatory tests we could run. He responded “Alzheimer’s?!?” with an agonizingly dejected face turning his eyes towards the ground. As I opened my mouth to respond with a well thought comforting statement I hear the intercom, “Your patient encounter is now over, please leave the room.” I was mortified. My mind was telling me this was all fake, but my gut felt as if I just ruined his life! He was fully committed to his role, and he crushed it. 

What is your favorite thing to eat?

Being that I’m Polish, I love Polish food; it’s so simple, delicious, and hearty. But, I am a sucker for Vietnamese sandwiches.

What is the most exciting place you have ever traveled?

I spent eight weeks volunteering in Honduras, and as rewarding as that was, after it finished I spent a few days with my colleagues in Roatán. We had a great time, and it was by far the best scuba diving ever! To add to all this, I flew home for two days before flying out again to Poland to travel with my brother and see my family-an amazing summer overall!

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If you weren’t a doctor, what would you do?

I think I underestimate how hard this would be, but I’d really enjoy studying astronomy or astrophysics.

What do you like to do outside of medicine?

I do a ton of different things including playing ultimate frisbee, running, and homebrewing beer.

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