First, do no harm, but to harm not I must first see / With swift breath, I begin. / You, silent teacher, my new textbook
The entirety of the third year of medical school is an act. If you want to be a good medical student, you are what your team wants you to be. Amenable, pliant, easygoing — even when inside you are a bitter angry little thing who’s tired of being pushed around.
Staring at each high-yield line in First Aid, attempting to commit every word to memory, hour-upon-hour, is the life of a medical student. The stress, isolation and over-caffeination, amidst the constant influx of information, is overwhelming and can cause even the most compassionate student to forget why they are studying.
Is it just me? / Or does it seem / that my pride / will not let me be
With health care spending becoming an increasingly important topic, medical schools will have to find a way to integrate the fundamentals behind high value care earlier in the curriculum. Students should be familiar core economic principles and how they apply to health care before they are treating patients.
Earlier this month, I watched my younger sister begin her medical school journey as she walked on stage in front of family members and peers to be officially “white-coated.” I had never been to another white coat ceremony since my own years ago. It was fascinating to observe it from my now-more-seasoned fourth-year medical student eyes — especially at another institution.
When Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach, was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse, few could foresee that he was about to hurt thousands of students, future physicians and aspiring scientists across the nation.
Oh yes, I’m back without attack, like how I was before. / With growing strides and doubt that hides / away from breaking thoughts.
The day before I was asked to give this speech, sometime mid-May, I was speaking with a first year student. At the time, I was two weeks shy of completing my third year of medical school — the year of school that you spend the most time in the hospital.
Law, medicine, and dentistry — these were the careers that I was constantly exposed to at home. With my father as a practicing lawyer for over 25 years, two of my siblings already qualified as doctors, and the third on course to completing his medical journey, most of my relatives and friends thought medicine or law would be my choice naturally.
“From now on,” our deans told us at orientation, “society will see you as a doctor. Sometimes you may not feel like one, but that is what you are becoming. This week marks the beginning of that transition, which will continue in the months and years to come.”
Dear medical students, I’m sorry. You had just finished two years of didactic learning and couldn’t wait to feel like a “real” doctor. You were finally starting your clerkships, that is, finally working with patients and getting deep in the trenches.