At Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, first-year learners enroll in a longitudinal course called “Disruptions in Development.” The class examines health and illness at different stages of life, but delves deeper beyond medical pathologies. Health is discussed holistically — as something affected by life story, community, society, patient-physician relationships. We listened and learned as patients, physicians, and others spoke on effective, thoughtful care or the lack thereof in their lives.
As we progressed through our other coursework simultaneously, this course seemed to synthesize it all, impressing upon us the weighty responsibility of becoming a future health provider. This piece, entitled “The Practice of My Art,” is a collage of illustrations I drew throughout the year reflecting on different courses, organ systems, or learning experiences from my first year of medical school.
A patient and former health provider living with terminal illness was a guest in the class. She spoke on guiding her own patients through their health challenges, but how she is now navigating that same system for herself. She said “the profession of being a doctor is intimate and deeply existential.” This resounded with me, especially as she also mentioned how creating art helps her reflect and heal.
My piece is overlaid with the Hippocratic Oath, traditionally taken by entering medical students. The Oath refers to medicine as “the practice of my art.” This piece is borne from my own thoughts and experiences while on my own journey in medicine as it intertwines with the life journeys of others.