Friday, November 17, 2006

Doubtful Doctors - As Common as the Cold?

tidbits that tantalize


I'm The Doctor?

You're experiencing significant pain and it seems to have something to do with your stomach - or, your lower back area or, possibly, it's just the ache in your old knees traveling up and down your spine on a weekend joyride. No problem. You head on down to the teaching hospital, confident they are up on the latest aches and pains, tests and treatments for ailments both well defined and nebulous.

A bright, but weary, medical student pelts you with insightful questions, then slumps heavily in a chair and lets out a long sigh. Fearing for your life, you're stunned when she finally states, "I'm not really sure I want to be a doctor anymore."

It's true. Apparently the brutal hours, intense educational demands and overwhelming responsibilities leave many medical students questioning both their capabilities and their resolve. Worn down from two years of intense classroom education, medical students are thrown into the day-to-day fray of hands-on medicine. The days of comfortable theorizing crashing about their ears, they are suddenly faced with real patients with real diseases. Information is no longer gleaned from meticulous lecture notes, but quickly scribbled on the back of a three-by-five note card as they attempt to stay awake during rounds. They have completed three months of their clinical component - they have twenty-one months to go.

Should this season of doubt be a concern to patients? Probably not. Indications are the medical students uncross their red-streaked eyes as they approach residency and selection of a specialty. In the end, the experience they gain functioning under duress may actually contribute to their success as a doctor.

What should you to do if faced with a medical student who's ready to pawn their stethoscope? Try this. Place a hand gently on their shoulder, look them straight in the eye, and say, "It'll be OK. I felt the same way in kindergarten about dodge ball - by third grade I was a terror on the playground."


Blogger Griefcase said...

Hi Tim,
I just love reading your work. What a treat. I learn something AND I get to smile.


8:59 AM  

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