I come from a family of repeaters. We repeat the questions that had unsatisfactory answers, the jokes that got particularly good receptions, the requests willfully ignored, but most of all, we repeat the stories.
“This wine is growing on me,” Emily remarked as she tipped her head back and took another long sip from the now oxblood stained glass, “It’s a lot more nuanced than I originally thought.”
Many students in the health professions find little support for the passions that drove them into health careers. In May 2016, a group of 20 health professions students, clinicians, and organizers assembled on the lower level of a Chicago hotel during the Lown Institute’s annual conference to talk about new pathways.
“Be a duck,” became my mantra throughout medical school, so much so that my mother had it printed onto a canvas and has it hanging on a wall at home in my honor. As a medical student you might think I would be more interested in having the prowess of a lioness, the elegance of an eagle, the speed of a cheetah or the energy of a dolphin. A duck, as most envision it, does not have much appeal; except, however, when swimming. The quote that led me to emulate the duck is Michael Caine’s, “Be a duck, remain calm on the surface and paddle like the dickens underneath.”
This summer, Illinois passed a law set to take effect in the beginning of this year that stipulated that any doctors who cite conscience-based objection to abortion must have a system in place to give information about or provide referrals to providers who will perform abortions.
After a day of screams and sorrow and blood, / Every drop of my compassion leached from me. / Racing home to beat the dawn…
I recently attended a panel entitled “Women in Surgery,” where medical students had the opportunity to ask female surgery residents how they navigate what is still a mostly male-dominated field and hear their take on that ever-elusive “work-life balance.”
One thing I’ve always associated the holiday season with (besides lots of yummy food) is singing — anything and everything from Christmas caroling to hymns at church. I’ve never had a very good voice, but one thing I always noticed was that I enjoyed myself every time I sang. However, I always chalked it up to the situation rather than the act of singing itself.
“I know that this is quite upsetting for you, especially since you have been worried about your exam for several weeks.” I took a deep breath and continued hesitantly. I allowed the silence to settle as I racked my brain, trying to remember the SPIKES protocol.
At Albany Medical College, upon our orientation to gross anatomy, we are asked to draw our feelings on blank index cards prior to entering the cadaver laboratory. As we progress through the year, our sentiments regarding anatomy may remain the same, or may change, and these drawings allow us to look back at this milestone we crossed as budding medical students.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects in the culture of medical school is the integrative class of students that survive together through the obstacles in this metamorphosis. Individually and as a collective whole, we trudge through the same curricular rigors, learning to balance life, work, and all that in between. Many of us form significant bonds with our fellow classmates, whether through celebration or suffering. Through our mutual bonding, what quickly becomes apparent to us is the diverse background and hidden talents that make each big family unique and multifaceted. Beyond our scientific acumen, some of us juggle side-hobbies as musicians, some as chefs, some as craftspersons, others as comedians — and the torrent of talent runs abundant.
When you look at their white coats / Do you see what I see? / Do you see future doctors / Who are struggling to be