graduating neurosurgeon makes history
A former University of Calgary medical school student has become the first woman to graduate as a neurosurgeon from the University of Alberta in its 50-year history of training neurosurgeons.
Dr. Jenny Souster, 33, recently completed her residency at the U of A and is now recognized by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada as a specialist in neurosurgery.
“The neurosurgery program has been here (at U of A) for 50 years and they’ve had a few women enter the program, but they didn’t make it through to the end, so I’m the first one to actually finish,” Souster said.
A neurosurgeon treats diseases and disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. They deal with head trauma, brain tumours, aneurysms, epilepsy, spinal problems and other related ailments. Her decision to pursue a medical career dates back from her days at Sundre High School, northwest of Calgary.
“I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a kid, but when I got into high school my biology teacher got me more interested in human anatomy and physiology and so I changed into wanting to do medicine,” she said.
After getting a bachelor of science degree at the U of C, she attended the U of C medical school. In 2004 she started her seven-year residency at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Asked why she chose to specialize in neurosurgery, she said, “I thought the brain was the most fascinating organ in the body.”
Dr. Souster said she hopes she can be an inspiration to other women considering going into medicine.
“If it is something you want to do and something you enjoy doing, then you are going to want to do it and want to sacrifice other things in life for it,” she said.