Gabrielle McNary always knew she wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
“When I was about eight years old, my dad took me to the Museum of Health Sciences in Houston,” McNary said. “I was just so amazed by it. At the end, my dad said, ‘well, you could do this.’”
McNary kept that in mind as she left the museum with a children’s anatomy book in hand. Now years later, she is studying from some more advanced medical books and getting ready to graduate from Indiana University School of Medicine in May 2019. In the summer, she’ll move to Durham, North Carolina to begin a six-year residency in urology at Duke University School of Medicine.
“I’m very excited,” McNary said. “It was my top choice.”
McNary grew up outside of Houston, Texas. Her father was an engineer and her mother a teacher. She earned her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University, then completed a master’s program at the University of North Texas. When it was time to look at medical schools, IU School of Medicine was an easy choice.
“I wanted something different and to be in a different state,” McNary said. At the time, one of her two older brothers, Josh McNary, was playing football for the Indianapolis Colts. She had spent some time in the city visiting him and knew IU School of Medicine would be a great fit.
“I did my first two years in Bloomington, and I was able to really get to know a lot of my professors,” McNary said. “They knew me on a first name basis. I had no problem going to their office after class with questions, so that was really important for me and my education.”
McNary then spent the second half of her medical school career at the Indianapolis campus, where she first developed an interest in urology while learning about testicular cancer with Lawrence Einhorn, MD.
“It was a great experience. He was a great teacher.”
She then did a rotation with the Department of Urology and spent time working with Timothy Masterson, MD to learn about urologic oncology. She also worked on research projects with Charles Powell, MD.
“I told them, ‘I’m interested in this,’ and they were really helpful,” McNary said. “I really enjoyed the rotation. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the start of my third year, but once I did have that exposure, I just thought it was extremely gratifying to be able to see a problem and then go in and fix it and have that almost instant gratification of treating the patient quickly.”
McNary said she also enjoyed getting to spend time in the clinic learning to talk to patients about their conditions.
“In a lot of instances, people aren’t going to feel comfortable talking about things like leakage, but I really enjoyed having these open and honest conversations with patients. I thought that was pretty special.”
McNary said she also enjoyed getting to know the urology faculty and residents, and added that part of the reason she is so excited to go to Duke is because their residents reminded her of the residents she has gotten to know here at IU School of Medicine Department of Urology.
“These are people who clearly go home and study and do a lot of work, but at the same time, they know when and how to sit back and have a laugh.”
Spending the next six years at Duke isn’t the only major step in her career she’s looking forward to. McNary received a U.S. Army scholarship that paid for all four years of medical school. After she completes residency and possibly a fellowship, McNary will spend six years assigned to an Army hospital where she will work as a urologist. She could also be deployed at any point. Choosing the Army scholarship program was also an easy decision for McNary, mostly because of her family ties to the military.
“My brother Joshua went to West Point. He was in the Army for two years. My dad was a captain in the Marines for a few years. My grandpa was a Korean War veteran. My uncle did a couple tours overseas in Afghanistan, also in the Army, so I come from a pretty heavy military family,” said McNary. “I really like the values that accompany the military soldier. For instance, my family was pretty big on ‘God, Family, Country.’ Plus, I think med school is pretty mentally taxing, so it has been nice to also push myself physically to meet the demands of the Army. It’s nice to have a change of focus sometimes and some balance.”
McNary said the only downside to moving to North Carolina will be that she is farther away from her family back in Houston. But she said what excites her most about residency is learning more about a medical specialty she has developed a strong passion for throughout her time in medical school.
“I know I have a lot to learn. I’m really excited to get there and start learning and practicing being the physician I’ve always wanted to become.”
The specialty of urology has its own program to match senior medical students to residency positions, which takes place earlier in the year. For the rest of the specialties, Match Day is Friday, March 15. Follow us on Facebook for a live stream of the event, starting at 11:30 am EST, and share your photos and experiences using the hashtags #MatchDay and #IUSM2019.