Becoming a doctor Essay

there is one particular moment from the tv show scrubs that has always fascinated me. jd bolts down the hallway as his intern code pager beeps. two seconds later he is seen vying for safe space in a supply closet with his co-intern. it was only during the recent icu rotation that i realized how legitimate these feelings were. i could finally relate to the despair the urge to bolt and yet being frozen to the ground in fear of failing. flashback to the pre-clinical years which now seems a lifetime ago. i remember sitting through an hhd-i cardiology small group meeting one afternoon. we were learning to recognize ecg patterns and come up with differentials. at one point when we came across a ventricular fibrillation pattern the resident asked what we would do. and i remembered the moment with jd and thought we could run the other way of course! with the clinical years eons away handling a hypothetical cardiac arrest situation seemed easy even funny enough. i laughed to myself. fast forward to the present these clinical years have been a lesson in humility. a reminder of our inadequacy in this long path to finally becoming a doctor. i have had my fair share of hiding in closets of course. i have often chosen simpler cases which would take minimal effort from my side. other times i have deferred opportunities to others who were more excited than me. i have struggled with a desire to impress versus an inherent fear of failing. and i have shamelessly exploited the privilege of my position in the larger scheme of things i am a student. let me ask the resident i have learned to give up on the extra half hour of early morning sleep to be able to pour over patient charts. ive learned to juggle a million things in a way that also ensures steady state learning. ive learned to give up on my frantic bolts and strut around with just the right amount of swagger to seem like an important team member. ive learned to dress so as to accommodate any and all medical paraphernalia on self at all times. but most of all i've learned to spend the last moments of a regular hospital shift saying goodbye to my patients for the day. i did not know back then as i do now that i would spend a whole year learning to depend on my patients for a glimmer of hope. i did not know that the constant grueling reminders of ones incapability and the long struggle that lies ahead would instantly wash away in the comfort i would find in their words. that i would find my safe zone in their presence soon enough. i have come a long way just like the rest of you. slowly piece by piece i learned to maneuver my way around with customary aplomb. overnight, almost spectacularly, i found myself in a new terrain where i was confidently admitting my own patients proposing plans that went largely unedited and discussing treatment choices with families at the bedside. almost overnight i found myself turning into the doctor and the person i have worked so hard to be. of course right now there are multiple layers of buffers in place to protect us from our own ignorant fervor. in two months however our pagers will beep. and we will have to answer. there will be times where i will be the first contact and i will feel the personal weight of my assessments in very intimate ways. there will be moments where i will not know what to do. i will be called upon to take decisions of unthinkable impacts. but i will do right. and that i imagine is the force that has sustained us all through these years and i hope will continue to sustain us for a lifetime as physicians. through the long hours and missed holidays through the times of indecision and misjudgments through petty resentments and frustration through lost relationships as we slowly watch our lives pass us by there has been this palpable certainty humming blithely underneath through it all. we are still standing with our heads held high because we believe we are here to do right by our patients. this is what inspires us grounds us. of course it has been frightening even blatantly miserable at times. weve witnessed tremendous suffering known vulnerability and helplessness and been privy to human frailty in its ugliest of forms. but we have chosen this journey for a reason. in a few months when we are asked a form of now what doctor, i hope we now have the foresight to make good calls, the wisdom to seek out others when we need them, and the fortitude to always do the right thing. i hope we can always sprint in the correct direction.

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