Match Day, the third Friday of every March, is undoubtedly a highlight in the life of every medical student. It’s a day when graduating medical students find out where they will complete the next phase of their medical training. For Megan Bunnell, the envelope containing her match this past March was particularly special. In mid-June, Megan will enroll in the Integrated Residency Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital – the same residency program where her mother, Mari-Kim, completed her training in the late 1980s.
Medicine and health care have become career traditions of sorts in the Bunnell family. Megan’s father, Bruce, is a pediatrician at Centre Pediatric Associates, an affiliate of Mass General for Children (MGfC). Mari-Kim, is in private practice as an OB-GYN at New England OBGYN, a private practice affiliate of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and her brother works as a ski-patroller in Colorado.
Megan, who graduates from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in June, shared her experience growing up with parents in the medical field in an article published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, a journal from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“In my second year of medical school, I was talking to a classmate who recounted how glad he was that his mother retired from medicine when he was young so she was always around at the holidays,” said Megan. “I didn’t feel that way about my parents’ careers. When I was younger, of course, I was sad that they had to work some holidays or birthdays, but as I got older, I became really grateful for that experience. I think I had a unique window into seeing how satisfying my parents’ careers have been.”
A career in health care was always something Megan had on her mind growing up, but not specifically in medicine. An undergraduate course in anthropology was the catalyst for her love of genetics and Megan went onto become a certified genetic counselor before entering medical school. The long hours and unpredictable schedules she witnessed through her parents were never a deterrent.
“As a medical student, it can be hard to hear practicing doctors share their frustrations about the hours they put in, the electronic medical records and the tasks that take away from time spent face-to-face with patients. It is easy to be disillusioned by that,” said Megan. “I think it’s a real honor to follow in my mom’s footsteps for my residency and to carry on that love for medicine that we all have as a family.”
For Bruce and Mari-Kim, seeing Megan follow her dreams has been a great source of pride. “This is her affirmation of her hopes and dreams,” said Bruce. “When you have kids, all you want is for them to be happy and to serve as a role model for them, which is what we tried to do. It was Megan’s own choice to go into medicine and I hope it’s as richly rewarding for her as it has been for my wife and me.”