Summer between MS1 and MS2 has been such a sweet time. Most students are working on some form of research, but even then, the pace is slower and less hectic than during the semesters. It’s given me time to catch up with friends, on sleep, with life in general. I’ve realized that in the midst of what seems to be non-stop studying, I’ve missed writing and having a space to collect my thoughts. MS1 was a lot — meeting new classmates, adjusting to the quick pace of school, continually rediscovering reasons to be in medicine, realizing how multi-faceted the field is. I’m constantly learning from all around me how to become a physician and what it means to be a physician. Throughout it all, I feel incredibly lucky to be here at all.
In this column, I hope to explore various qualities of a physician that we learn through medical school experiences — whether it be through class, shadowing, research or even interacting with peers — but also to introduce a patient’s perspective in each case. Midway through my junior year of college, I was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, a rare endocrine disorder that affected every aspect of my life. Throughout the next year and a half, I lived as a patient of my disease, while simultaneously trying to hold onto my plans and aspirations of becoming a physician.
Thankfully, my disease has been cured, and though I had planned on pursuing medicine even before this, my experiences as a patient have profoundly affected the way that I now perceive medicine and have shaped the type of physician I want to become. Through this column, I want to share these thoughts and hopefully inspire readers to more deeply consider the way their practices and behaviors as physicians will affect their patients. Each piece will center around a specific attribute and be twofold: I will include narrative on how I’m learning about it in medical school, as well as excerpts of personal anecdotes from my time as a patient to show how for me at least, the two roles are inextricably linked, and how one role has given me further insight into the other.
I’m excited to continue learning and growing as MS2 rapidly approaches, and even more excited to be on this journey alongside you all..
Lessons learned from both sides: A column exploring the qualities of a physician from the perspective of a physician in training, through the lens of a patient.