An inside look

Don’t be surprised if the next time you drop by your local pharmacy you see Alexander Reidel, Medicine Class of 2019 behind the counter providing advice to customers about their prescription. In addition to his medical studies Reidel works part time as a pharmacist.

For Reidel, it’s a unique experience to be able to represent two health care professions. He believes it’s helping him to appreciate the nuances of different roles and providing him with an inside look into how the various health related professions can work together to make health care better for the community.

Born and raised in Windsor, Reidel attended the University of Windsor for his undergraduate degree. He feels fortunate to have worked with Dr. Roman Maev, who opened his eyes to the various applications physics and science can have in medicine. From there he headed to the University of Toronto and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. An eye-opening experience for Reidel, his years studying pharmacy fueled his drive to push himself further.

That push led him to medical school.

Reidel was in his second year of undergraduate studies when the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry – Windsor Campus opened, and he witnessed the excitement in the community. So, when it came time to choose where he wanted to study medicine, Windsor was his first choice.

So far, his experience has been exactly what he had hoped for.

“It feels really good to train at home and contribute to the care of the community in which I grew up,” he said. “The support of all the people of Windsor and Essex is overwhelming. I cannot count the number of times I have been asked by patients where I am from, and when I say Windsor, they congratulate me and let me know how much they appreciate the doctors here; they always encourage me to stick around.”

Currently in his third year, Reidel says the positive experiences are too numerous to count. But if he had to pick one, he would say that he most enjoyed the time he spent in other regional communities. During his first year, he experienced Discovery Week in Owen Sound and most recently, he spent his rural family medicine rotation in Strathroy.

As many positives as there are, Reidel has to admit that medical school presents each individual with unique challenges. Questioning himself and trying to achieve perfection are just two he grapples with.

There are so many times when I feel the need to be perfect right now; to be able to take the perfect history, perform the perfect physical exam, understand every single diagnostic test and every single treatment at this very moment,” he said.

When these thoughts come to his mind, he heeds the advice of his professors who emphasize that medical education is a life-long experience. He also finds it beneficial to take a step back and recognize how far he has come and all the opportunities he will have in the coming years to progress even further.

As Reidel seeks to find balance and the perfect blend of academic and non-academically focused pursuits. He’s participated in intramural sports, taken part in the DINNER club and the health and fitness club and participated in advocacy initiatives.

His commitment to his community has led him to take on an unexpected role as a board member for the Windsor Family Health Team. Reidel explains that it’s an exciting new challenge for him and nothing like any of his previous experiences

“Learning about the unique health care needs of Windsor and Essex County is not a completely new experience, but to interpret these needs from a policy governance perspective is a whole new challenge,” he said. “And learning about health care finance, health care human resources, and provincial politics is a challenge that I am enjoying,” he added.

For Reidel maintaining balance and being healthy and happy involves having self-awareness and understanding his strengths, weaknesses and capabilities while having a good understanding of his responsibilities and setting appropriate goals.

“I’m still figuring out how to make this all work in my day to day life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Reidel is continuing on with his clerkship. He describes the year so far as fast-paced and ever changing. While he would like to feel as though he is becoming a master of more skills, he definitely appreciates the unique nature of clerkship and how it is the only time in his medical training when the goal is to be immersed in the entirety of the medical profession.