What is the recipe that makes an ideal medical student? Are each of us the summation of perfectly measured ingredients? Are we all weighed to the gram, set to proof until we rise just enough and gently set to bake?
Nita Chen, MD, movement disorders fellow at the Normal Fixel Institute for Neurological Disease, contributes this graphic medicine piece as a former in-Training writer, editor, columnist and featured artist for our print book in-Training: Stories from Tomorrow’s Physicians, Volume 2.
In early spring, amid the earlier quarantines, I watched dandelions grow outside my window. At first, subtly and hidden among the blades of grass. Then budding, bursting yellow amid green galaxies. These tiny suns danced in April’s wind and their scent carried morning’s dew and earth-like warmth into midday, until the smells of grills and barbecues took stage.
This drawing depicts the stark contrast of a woman who is both strong, yet visibly vulnerable as her tears pour off the page. This piece was inspired by a patient who was admitted after an incidental finding of a lab abnormality, which forced her to stay in the hospital for four weeks. When she initially learned of her lab results, she was overwhelmed.
This work is about vulnerability and the feeling of being vulnerable. There is a special exposure to vulnerability for everyone who is taking part in healthcare systems, be it of course as a patient who potentially suffers restrictions in their physical and/or psychic integrity trough illness or also the caregivers who are under pressure to be attentive, know the right things, act and speak properly all the time.
This painting, utilizing oil and acrylic paints, was made in the midst of studying for my ongoing classes and boards. There have been a couple diseases that have stuck with me throughout my studies. This disease is a deep-sea themed illustration of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as “Broken Heart Syndrome.”
This piece was created during Inktober 2021 for the prompt “Disgusting.” I believe that beauty can be found in even the most unexpected places, which is why I decided to contrast the beauty of the feminine form with organs spewing out of her body.
Medicine is beautiful and interesting, but it can also be challenging in many ways. As medical students, we are expected to work hard, test well, be professional and likeable. These expectations throughout medical school can foster emotions like guilt, stress and the feeling of never being enough.
I wanted to create this piece as a reminder to myself and all medical students: to take a breath, to breathe. Oftentimes we forget to find beauty in everyday life, since we are all so involved in our bustling workdays. We forget to take a pause during the day, to inhale and exhale with intention.
I created this piece for a friend who wanted to gift it to their friend. I find that art is able to connect people from all cultures and backgrounds, which is why I love creating my pieces and gifting them. We don’t often times need words to convey art, which is why I enjoy visual pieces as I myself am not great with words.
I created this piece as a donation to Female Tales Untold, a student-led event which raises money for SafeHouse Denver, an organization which serves women experiencing domestic violence in the Denver metropolitan area. This event is led my students from Rocky Vista University, the medical school I attend.
I created this piece as a gift to a dear friend of mine. It serves as a reminder to me to always be grateful for friendship and family. Yin and Yang describes how obviously contrary forces may in actuality have complementary effects on one another.