The Alumni Interview: Nils Kehler, MD

Every month, SUMAA contacts a former student for The Alumni Interview series and asks a few questions about what they are currently up to! For December, we contacted Nils Kehler, MD, class of 2011, who specializes in Hematology, Oncology and Internal Medicine.

Tell us about yourself,

Well, I’m 28 years old and grew up in a lovely town in northern Germany, quite close to Hamburg, but enough with the boring details: before studying in Szeged and Budapest later on, I spent one year abroad in the United States, where my initial interest in natural sciences sparked. The devoted high school teachers there and back at home nourished my interest in understanding the world around me further, creating the drive to understand “the human machine”.

Unsure, whether my grades would be sufficient enough to attend German medical school right away, I applied to universities in Hungary, especially due to their good reputation in medical education. The stress-free accreditation of my Hungarian degree back in Germany or any other member of the European Union closed the deal, eventually.

Do what interests you most, and work where you feel happy.
Nils Kehler

Where do you currently work?

Right now, I’m a resident at the Department of Internal Medicine of the Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, Germany. While a physician’s work is time consuming, leading up to a lot of overtime on the clock and one’s salary barely makes up for the loss of free time, it’s a lot of fun working with young professionals, great professors and teaching future doctors-to-be.

While university hospitals tend to attract young doctors more than other clinics, I feel the lack of qualified coworkers even at my clinic, resulting in longer working hours. Alas, I can’t stress this problem enough. Over time, you realize what’s most important in your life: it’s your personal time, which becomes continuously less and less.

How well did your university studies prepare you?

The first two years studying in the German program at the University of Szeged laid a solid foundation for my further studies at Semmelweis University in Budapest, where I spent 3rd to 6th year. While the numerous classes in both cities prepared me for taking anamnesis and conducting physical examinations, dealing with the huge amount of bureaucracy and patient documentation was rather unexpected.

What skills were most critical in your success?

Performing patient examination and analyzing medical findings, next to talking, reading and writing. However, people skills are most important.

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for students trying to decide where to work and which area to specialize in?

Do what interests you most, and work where you feel happy. Work hard, but don’t wreck yourself. After all, you only live once.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. We hope to see you again in Szeged at the 30th anniversary in September 2015.

The Alumni Team