“Spoken word” is a fancy term for saying what you mean as clearly and concisely as you can. Orientations tend to be the opposite: people talking at you in drawn-out sessions for three days straight, in desperate hope that “see one, do one, teach one” can be replaced by “tell them, tell them, tell them (and give them orange juice).” This was the first poem I wrote in medical school, in sympathy with the teachers trying to teach what can’t be taught, and for the students who were ready to start learning for themselves.
Listen to “Orientation Speaker” here or below.
Medical students’ place in the hierarchy of medicine means we are routinely restricted in what we can (or should) say. That taboo list includes our own transformation — despite being only one of thousands impacted by medical education, all too often we are left alone to process how it changes us. Review of Systems is a series of down-to-earth slam poems by Kate Bock, putting words to the unspoken process not just of learning medicine, but of becoming a doctor.