InMedicine (OUWB's Magazine)

Rachel Hunt, M.D., ’17, reflects on how homeschooling, an ICU, and OUWB helped her to become a neurosurgeon — and the importance of Taco Tuesday

Rachel Hunt, M.D., at OUWB’s Commencement in 2017.

When Rachel Hunt, M.D., was applying to medical school, it was OUWB’s longer-than-normal name that caught her eye — but it’s the experiences she had there that won over her heart.

Hunt, ’17, OUWB, learned how to work in teams, and how to effectively give and receive feedback.

The interactive approach to learning made it easier for her to tackle the foundational sciences needed for a career in medicine.

The clinical experiences at what is now Corewell Health helped her learn how to interact with, and evaluate, patients.

It all played a big role in helping her get where she is today, in her sixth year as a neuro surgery resident at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

“I never doubted that attending OUWB was the right decision,” she says. “It was a really great experience.”

‘Why, why, why?’

Hunt grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A love of learning was fostered by her parents, who homeschooled her. Homeschooling, Hunt says, helped prepare her for studying to become a doctor.

“People sometimes describe me as an outside-of-the-box thinker, to which I say I had no idea the box existed,” she says. “I come at things at a different angle because I didn’t have a classic traditional education.”

Hunt says her parents made sure she knew the basics, but stressed “the most important thing is to have children preserve the joy of learning, because that way they will want to learn their whole lives.”

Such freedoms paved the way for Hunt to be a self-directed learner, which she fully embraced.

“I had to have that curiosity within myself,” she says. “There were nine kids in my family and my mother didn’t have time to sit down and teach me everything…I had to take a little more responsibility from an earlier age for my own education.”

Her first experience in a more traditional school setting was at Oral Roberts University, a private evangelical university in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

With a desire to help other people, she studied nursing and completed her undergrad at Oral Roberts. She soon landed a job at an intensive care unit in New Mexico.
But, she says, she knew nursing wasn’t for her.

“Nursing is a wonderful field of service, but there’s a limit to how much you understand what’s going on,” she says. “There’s a lot of memorizing, a lot of routines, but there were things like having to remember the list of drugs that were calcium channel blockers without having any clue about what a calcium channel was.”

“I was constantly asking why, why, why?” she adds.

Hunt says it took her about 18 months to begin the process of preparing for medical school.

At the age of 26, OUWB came into her life.

(Only partial stories are posted here with hopes to provide a brief overview and introduction to my most recent work. The full version of this story may be found on the OUWB InMedicine site here.)

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