Tutor Spotlight: Nicholas Rowan – Med School Tutors

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Dr. Nicholas Rowan: ENT resident, tutor mentor, trainer, and USMLE and medical tutor extraordinaire.

    Nick is an unbelievable team player. He’s incredibly generous with his time and spirit, he cares deeply about his students, patients, the tutor team… pretty much everyone he interacts with. He has a hilarious sense of humor, loves good food and surfing, and is a huge part of the heart of our MST team.

    Always happy to share a story, Nick has even been a guest on the My First Cadaver podcast! (You can hear his amazing MD origin story as a surfer here and his first big mistake here.) Without further ado, meet Nick!

    Where did you go to medical school?

    I went to a medical school in New Jersey with the longest acronym in the country, now affectionately known as RUTGERS!

    Where are you doing your residency and in what specialty?

    I am an otolaryngology-head & neck surgery (Ear Nose & Throat) resident at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. I’m currently in my 4th year.

    What are your career plans after residency?

    I am in the midst of applying for a rhinology & skull base fellowship. I’m hoping to do an additional year of surgical training in advanced sinus surgery and skull base surgery (it’s like brain surgery through the nose). After that, I’d like to stay at a large academic institution and continue to have access to teaching and research.

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

    Without a question, being an otolaryngology resident at the University of Pittsburgh is my proudest accomplishment. It’s a privilege and an honor to work alongside my co-residents and be taught by the leaders in the field who I can also call my friends.

    Do you do any research? Any publications?

    Research is a mandatory part of otolaryngology residency. We have 5 months of protected research time here in Pittsburgh. Over the past year I’ve had 3 first authors papers, which has been really exciting. In fact, I’m in a hotel room in Miami currently at our Triological meeting right now!

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

    What brought me to MST and what kept me here are two separate things. I love to teach and help people, plain and simple. It’s why I became a physician and something that I personally derive a ton of satisfaction from. The camaraderie and my co-workers at MST have made it easy to continue to work at as a tutor and now as a mentor when I don’t necessarily have a lot of time to spare after my main job.

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

    Live it up. The last 6 months of medical school were some of the best of my life, hands down. I went to Australia with 2 of my best friends from medical school for 5 weeks on a surf bonanza and it’s something we’re still texting each other about on a near daily basis 4 years later. It was life changing. I’m a firm believer in rewarding yourself for hard work and with med school done it’s time for some fun!

    What is the most embarrassing story from your medical career thus far?

    My life sometimes seems to be a comedy of errors. From the residency interview day here at Pittsburgh when I mistook my program director as another medical student to some of the silly things I’ve written in notes while sleep deprived, there have been lots of things I have laughed about and it hasn’t changed now that I’m a senior resident. Probably one of the most uncomfortable thing that’s happened to me was when I was feeling someone’s neck muscles she started to moan and asked me to continue!

    What is your favorite thing to eat?

    Well that’s probably the most loaded question on here! What’s the context?!? If you’re asking about straight up favorite foods, apples and asparagus probably take the cake. If you’re asking about foods that make me happy AND more productive, I’d have to say jelly beans, sour gummy worms, or anything that is made of pure sugar. If you’re asking about thing that I’d like to have someone make, I’ve got a soft spot for gourmet hamburgers and perfectly done French fries. The food I love by and far above all else however has got to be the coffee bean!

    What is the most exciting place you have ever traveled?

    Our 5-week surf trip in Australia was pretty darn exciting. We didn’t know where we were going, how exactly we were going to afford it, who we were going to meet or what we were going to see. By the end of the trip though we had seen some of nature’s most impressive treasures, surfed some of the world’s most perfect waves, met a ton of new friends and ate a lot of meat pies!

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

    It’s hard to say, definitely something where there’s a lot of human interaction and some sort of service involved. The best and most fun I’ve ever had at another job was as a valet in Malibu, California. Leaving that job to go to med school was pretty tough and I was seriously intent on not getting into medical school for a while as I continued to do that!

    What do you like to do outside of medicine?

    Endurance sports are a big interest of mine. As a former collegiate runner, that’s what I find myself doing most often, but when I have enough time and the weather cooperates I’ll go for a long bike ride. I really love getting out into nature. Surfing is probably my favorite hobby, but the lack of an ocean in Pittsburgh is somewhat limiting. Of course, all of the above with friends and family takes the cake. Finally, since residency started, sleeping has moved up quite significantly on my hobbies list.