When I started on the path to become a physician, I never anticipated the joy it would bring or the passion it would elicit. Guess I understood that I would be “helping people” and I enjoyed the academics of learning and the intricacies of how the body worked, but really comprehending what it means to be a physician? Not sure that comes for many years.
The responsibility can be daunting. As many of my former students are now completing their first month of residency, I recall my own excitement and anguish. Looking up every drug before writing it, questioning my decisions, and relying on my fellow interns for moral support, internship and residency was a challenge.
One night, as I was admitting a rather large man, perhaps my 6th or 7th admission that day, I was in the middle of his mandatory rectal exam and saw myself with my gloved finger in his buttocks. “Hmm, and my mother is proud of me?” If she could only see what I do all day, her opinion might change.
Now, I walk in an exam room and I am excited about what the stories might be and how I am a part of the patients journey. It is not always a pleasant journey and sometimes the motivational interviewing is more for my own pep talk, but in each exam room lays opportunities to make a difference. Small at times, but what a great career for us all.
So for all of you starting off in residency, or anticipating starting medical school, all the agony, restless nights, self doubt, and cost, it is worth it. Best wishes for a successful career.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.