Posts tagged reflection

Work Life Balance

  • Physician: I think it is great that you are coming to talk to students about work life balance.
  • Life Coach: Thanks! I think it is so important in this profession.
  • Physician: I could not agree more. I look at these students working day in and day out without really taking the time to spend time with their families.
  • Life Coach: Absolutely.
  • Physician: I mean, just look at me. Every month, I have one sit down dinner with my family and I could not be happier.
  • Life Coach: Um...Right...
There is no possibility for teaching without learning. As well as there is no possibility of learning without teaching.
Paulo Freire
New Chapter. New Roles.
These months have all been about change and adjusting to it:
I have to be adjust to being a resident. I have to adjust to being a doctor. I have to adjust to being a husband. And we can add another item to the list.
Now, I also have to adjust to being an uncle.

New Chapter. New Roles.

These months have all been about change and adjusting to it:

I have to be adjust to being a resident. I have to adjust to being a doctor. I have to adjust to being a husband. And we can add another item to the list.

Now, I also have to adjust to being an uncle.

Today…

…is my last clinical day of medical school.

…is my last day seeing patients before residency.

…is my last day introducing myself to patients as a medical student.

Though I still have a month plus change of classes before school is officially over, I am both excited and terrified of what is to come.

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Post-CaRMS Sentiments.
I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of my classmates while on rotation. We discussed not just our match results but also how our respective electives were going. With the anxiety and tension of CaRMS gone, the sentiment has been universal: boredom.
To be fair the learning on service is impeccable and the opportunities great. But having reached the climactic finish we have worked towards for the better part of year, there is now the slow creep of impatience. The effect is only compounded if one is not on a service they have matched to.
"Are we there yet?"
74 days until graduation.

Post-CaRMS Sentiments.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of my classmates while on rotation. We discussed not just our match results but also how our respective electives were going. With the anxiety and tension of CaRMS gone, the sentiment has been universal: boredom.

To be fair the learning on service is impeccable and the opportunities great. But having reached the climactic finish we have worked towards for the better part of year, there is now the slow creep of impatience. The effect is only compounded if one is not on a service they have matched to.

"Are we there yet?"

74 days until graduation.

Pre-Match Jitters

Sitting in the deafening silence of the call lounge with nothing but my thoughts to occupy me, I wait. My phone has yet to buzz with the tease of a new consult. My mind races about tomorrow’s match results.

Did I make the right choices? Will I match? What will happen if I do not?

Tonight will be the longest call shift of my life.

Regular Customer. 

I walked into the busy Starbucks within the hospital to make my order. It had been a rather sleepless night before. As I made eye contact with the barista at the counter, I had barely opened my mouth before she cut me short. 

"A tall Americano with room, Tom?" 

I was taken aback. Not only did she remember my name, she remembered my order. 

"Um…yes, that’s right," I said, surprised. She quickly had my order ready. The entire process was seamless. While slick, it highlighted something about my routines. 

There is no better gauge that I come to Starbucks too often than when orders happen before I even speak.

Regular Customer.

I walked into the busy Starbucks within the hospital to make my order. It had been a rather sleepless night before. As I made eye contact with the barista at the counter, I had barely opened my mouth before she cut me short.

"A tall Americano with room, Tom?"

I was taken aback. Not only did she remember my name, she remembered my order.

"Um…yes, that’s right," I said, surprised. She quickly had my order ready. The entire process was seamless. While slick, it highlighted something about my routines.

There is no better gauge that I come to Starbucks too often than when orders happen before I even speak.

What would you say are 3 of the biggest sacrifices you've made for your medical studies? — Asked by Anonymous

That is a very tough but excellent question. For the four years of medical school, I have sacrificed many things.

One sacrifice was time to explore. When people ask about applying to medical school, I never dissuade them from waiting, taking a year off, or worrying about being too old. Being a little late to the game never hurt anyone. In the time I have been in school, I have not taken the opportunity to travel or pursue my interests outside of medicine to the extent I would have hoped. A sizeable part of my twenties, a time typically dominated with a youthful exploration of the world feels cut short. While I am sure there will be a chance to do some of this in the future, it will never match the freedom of flexibility of these years allotted to medicine. In some ways, these “not-so-distant” opportunities always feels just out of reach.

Another sacrifice was family and friendships. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to send my regrets for a gathering with friends or family because of studies, exams, or a long/night shift. The impact of medicine can bleed into the home when your friends lose touch and your family support is strained in these circumstances. It can sometimes be very isolating.

Last but not least, I have sacrificed my health. It is not by nature that we were intended to work sleeplessly through the night, to eat irregularly by day, and to stress constantly. With the right practice and mindset, we can avoid some of these factors but we never really escape them entirely.

Everyone makes sacrifices and I have made mine for a higher calling. It is a passion for the practice that drives me forward. I truly believe that the rewards of this challenging yet fulfilling career are worth the time and dedication I have put into it. Having said that, every choice comes with a price and that should never be overlooked. 

Being a doctor was once a job with great purpose. Now it's just a business

The ‘free market’ approach to healthcare means seeing more patients in less time. We’ve lost the human connection in health reform.

This is a call to begin a spirited discussion centering on such real healthcare reform. I am not naive to the hard economic realities of healthcare delivery or how civil discussions on reforming healthcare payments need to continue. However, meaningful and lasting solutions will not be found in models that commoditize health and continue to be based on a foundation of reward and punishment alone. They will be found in models that bring back the joy of healthcare to professionals who deliver it – physicians such as me and countless others who seem to have lost the single most powerful driving force – purpose.

Olympic Gold.
When I started medical school four years ago, one of the highlights of that year was the Winter Olympics. I have always been in awe of their dedication, their passion, and their team spirit on this world-class stage. That year was no different. We saw amazing achievements from amazing athletes from around the world. Canada came out strong, ending with a stellar game of hockey.
Flash forward to this year and we once again proved a worthy force in winter sports. 
To start and end my medical school with Olympic gold in our home grown sport has been a wonderful way to bookend this small chapter of my life. I look forward to what the next four years will bring.
Congratulations to all the athletes who participated in the Olympics on their outstanding performance and to Canada for our recent victories abroad. Safe journey home.

Olympic Gold.

When I started medical school four years ago, one of the highlights of that year was the Winter Olympics. I have always been in awe of their dedication, their passion, and their team spirit on this world-class stage. That year was no different. We saw amazing achievements from amazing athletes from around the world. Canada came out strong, ending with a stellar game of hockey.

Flash forward to this year and we once again proved a worthy force in winter sports. 

To start and end my medical school with Olympic gold in our home grown sport has been a wonderful way to bookend this small chapter of my life. I look forward to what the next four years will bring.

Congratulations to all the athletes who participated in the Olympics on their outstanding performance and to Canada for our recent victories abroad. Safe journey home.