Return Visit to Hometown Hospital Inspires MCW Student to Pursue Medicine

Return visit to hometown hospital inspires MCW student to pursue medicine

Josh Wiesner graduates this month from the vlog (MCW)-Green Bay, but his first experience with critical care was as a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Vincent Hospital.

“I stayed in the NICU for the first two weeks of my life,” Wiesner says.

Twenty years later as a sophomore at UW-Madison, he toured St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, visiting the room he stayed in and meeting four of the nurses that cared for him as an infant.

“That was such a profound experience for me,” says Wiesner. “That really set me on the path to pursue medicine.”

Today, he uses the experience as an icebreaker to explain his return to his hometown while he wraps up medical school at MCW.

Josh Wiesner and NICU nurses, St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay, WI

Finding Community at MCW-Green Bay

“It’s been exciting and interesting to practice my medical education in the community that I grew up in,” he says. “I had been a patient in many of the very same clinics and hospitals I trained in. Now I’ve experienced that same care from the provider side, not just as a patient. It has been really fulfilling in a lot of ways and, at the same time, has enhanced my awareness of the responsibility of the service I provide.”

Attending medical school in Green Bay helped Wiesner because he knows the people and the community and felt a genuine connection, he says. He’d even met with the dean, Matthew Hunsaker, MD, several times to discuss medicine once he decided on it as a career path.

Wiesner also says he is impressed by the caliber of the faculty at MCW-Green Bay. He feels the smaller, more intimate setting is an advantage.

“We’re fortunate that these professionals truly get to know you,” he says.” They know your strengths and your career ambitions and, in my personal experience, go out of their way to try to ensure your success.”

Wiesner says he has built genuine relationships with the faculty, administration and other students at MCW-Green Bay, and that they all support each other.

“I think that Green Bay really has a welcoming environment where faculty and the entire community want to see you succeed in the classroom and on rotations,” he says. “I think that’s something a lot of medical schools hope to accomplish, but I think MCW-Green Bay does a superior job of fulfilling it.”

Finding Inspiration and Mentorship

He also appreciates the many opportunities he has had outside of the classroom to get involved, including an initiative in which he and other MCW-Green Bay students created an active study space to share with students from adjoining St. Norbert College.

“Creating a space where students can exercise and decompress while still being able to study and be productive was a meaningful project. I think it will make a positive impact for years to come,” Wiesner says.

He also had the opportunity to talk to local high school students about careers in medicine and a life as a doctor.

“Who knows? We’re potentially inspiring a future physician and serving as a resource to answer questions and stay in contact in the future,” he says.

Josh Wiesner, MCW-Green Bay White Coat Ceremony

Another perk of going to medical school in his hometown, he says, is that he has a strong support system with his family. “I still sleep in my childhood bedroom,” Wiesner chuckles. Staying in the area also helped him maintain and build relationships with several mentors.

“It’s fantastic because some of my early mentors have helped me on my path to and through medical school. I’ve gotten to interact with them in a professional setting, whether it’s rotating with them or working on projects,” he says.

Wiesner credits a neonatologist at St. Vincent for taking a special interest in him and serving as a role model for the type of doctor he wants to become.

“He truly encapsulates what, in my eyes, is an outstanding physician,” he says. “I believe I possess a lot of the same skills and am motivated by many of the same things.”

Journey After Medical School

As he completes his final stretch at MCW-Green Bay, Wiesner is turning his focus to the future. He has been accepted at The Ohio State University for an internal medicine residency, after which he plans to apply for a three-year fellowship in hematology and oncology. He plans to return to the Green Bay area after completing his training.

“This place is home to me,” Wiesner says. “My goal is to go out and get the best training I can to become the best physician I can be, and then I will be happy to bring that skillset back to where it all started.”

Incredibly, it was his medical experience in the NICU that sparked it all.

“In the long run it led to my vocation,” he says. “It was very scary for my parents at the time and while, of course, I have no memory of my time in the NICU, it has had the most profound effect on my life.”

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