Obviously I haven’t posted in quite awhile. I’ll do a catch-up post soon, but I wanted to share this quick story before I forget.
I’m currently on my Neuro rotation and my attending and I walked in to see one of our patients. Before we could start talking, the patient told my attending he wants to apologize. Apparently the day before, the patient had said “thanks, man” to my attending as we were exiting the room. Now the patient was so apologetic that he hadn’t shown proper respect and called him “doctor” instead of “treating you like one of my poker buddies.” I was curious to hear my attending’s response.
“There’s no need to apologize. I’m just an ordinary guy who happens to be a doctor.“
I already had a lot of respect for my attending, but that response made me respect him all the more. I think everyone is aware that there’s a lot of big egos in medicine. Of course, you need to be confident as a physician, but there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. And that line is often crossed. Arrogance drives me nuts. Humility is extremely refreshing. And I think my attending’s response was spot on.
No doctor is a super hero. Yes, there’s a lot of hard work and training involved in the process of becoming a doctor. But no one is above reproach. No one is above making a mistake. At the end of the day, we’re all human. Even the best doctors can’t stop death–they can only prolong life. I realize that may sound very morbid. But it’s true, isn’t it? I think it’s important we remember that at the end of the day, we’re just human. At the end of the day, we’re just ordinary people who happen to be doctors (err…med students). Sometimes there’s this pressure to be perfect. And I absolutely believe you should strive for perfection in all you do–you’re dealing with people’s lives, so this is not a place to be careless. But don’t let the striving become suffocating. And don’t let the approval lead to arrogance. Do your best, but stay humble.
Just be ordinary guy (or girl) who happens to be a doctor (or med student).