A man is only as good as what he loves.
Recently, I had the great pleasure of working with a specialist. While I found him to be an excellent doctor and teacher of his field, he impressed me more with his mastery of the art of medicine.
Watching him work reminded me of the heart it takes to work with patients.
After spending a morning with him, I can honestly say without hesitation: I have never been more inspired about medicine.
There was nothing complicated or mysterious about his interactions with patients. There was no parlour tricks or unnatural question structure. It was just him, his patient, and the problem. His language was simple, his examples relevant, and his explanations honest.
We often talk about empathy as a tool to help us connect to a patient. In my hands, it is an embarrassingly clunky, yet unrefined hammer of “it must be frustrating,” or that “I see you are upset.” His was the precision cut scalpel that sliced to the core issues and emotions.
Patients simply opened up to and connected with him. And I, sitting in my seat, even felt the transference of emotions at times as well. It was a powerful and beautiful display of the art of medicine at work.
To his patients, it was an overwhelming sense of feeling human in the eyes of a stranger, to not feel like a bag of meat at the mercy of a probe and a blade. To him, it was just the way medicine had always been and would continue to be.
For me, it was the revelation of what it is to truly practice great medicine.
Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.
After spending four weeks here, today marks the last day of my rural rotation. Through it all, I have seen patients with six different family physicians, done rounds with them in long-term care, and spent time with them at the hospital. It has been a month filled with experiences, stories, and memories.
Rural medicine truly is something different. It has given me a new lens through which to see how medicine can be practiced. The continuity of care, the increased responsibilities, and the increased competency needed to practice have all been demonstrated by the doctors I have come in contact with. They have wowed me with their versatility and their mastery of the art of medicine.
A lot of that comes from the environment they work in. Rural medicine is a demanding area, one where resources are limited and the dependence of a community bears down heavily on the health care profession. After all, family physicians are the point of first contact. With those kinds of pressures, one naturally grows into the role.
The past month has been a unique opportunity to see family medicine practiced in a more holistic way. It has been a privilege to work with these doctors who are as passionate about this form of medicine as they are dedicated to their craft. They have inspired me to do better and think bigger. This rural rotation is an experience that I shall carry with me for the rest of my career.
Now, it is time to say a long good bye as I depart this community for the metropolis, where new experiences await.
I am not sure if I should be saying “you are welcome” or “thank you for the compliment” here, br0sh. You have caught me in a tough spot! :)
In all honesty though my writing style, to my recollection, has always been along this line. When I first started this blog, I had no idea where it would take me. The overarching goal was to paint my story of medical school. Everything you see here happened in some way shape or form. Though details are for the most part changed for privacy and confidentiality reasons, the essence of what I post is real.
Of course, there is always a flip side to everything; at the moment I have chosen, perhaps consciously or subconsciously, to focus on this opposite side less.
The principles that guide my writing are: my desire to not lose sight of the idealism and positivity that drew me to medicine in the first place, to speak about and share my experiences with honesty and transparency, and to respect the moral, ethical, and professional codes of the faculty and of the profession.
This is the framework from which I write and though I do concede it has limitations in some respects, it also has untapped potential in others. I am glad that you have found my writing engaging and positive. Though I do not know if you will consider a path in medicine, I am happy to have shared an experience that allowed you to contemplate it.
All the best to you and your journey. Cheers.
I was inspired to do medicine from a young age. I was always kind of fascinated with the profession growing up. It appealed to my practical and problem solving nature; this grew as I became older. I had a deeper appreciation of patient care when I entered the pharmaceutical sciences. The biggest inspiration or rather driver was my father’s diagnosis of cancer and his passing. This was a significant event in my life and left me determined to pursue medicine both as a matter of personal interest but also as a promise to my father: to pursue the things that mattered to me the most and to live without regret.
Wow, those two medical students you know sound tremendous. I admire their determination and passion. Everyone in my class has an interesting background story: some used to be teachers, some are fathers, and some are juggling many things in their life while being a student. It is really hard for me to choose any particular person as I find many of my classmates inspirational in different ways.
I know a classmate who, besides studying, maintains her previous occupation as a professor and researcher. Studying by day, researching and lecturing in the evening. Similarly, another classmate has a family with three kids. Splitting time between studying and her family, she has somehow managed to keep that fine balance in her life. She even has time to take her daughter to ballet practice.
Others influence and inspire me as well. Suffice it to say, I find every person I have gotten to know in my class an amazing person in their own right.