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Jan 29, 2010

Warning To Those That Follow

Dear Future Katie!

By now, you are likely a highly successful and very important physician. Or perhaps you are a part-time physician who attends all her children’s extra-curriculars. Possibly, you are both. Regardless of where you are or what you decided to do with your life, I hope that you are pleased with your choices and that you can find your house in the daylight.

I’m writing to give you a warning. A reminder, if you will, from your past. I imagine that it will be difficult to remember all the little experiences that helped shape what kind of physician –and person – you became, so I would like to highlight a few from the last month or so in case you have forgotten.

Firstly, I really, really hope that you are not a jerk. I hate working with the jerks and I would be just devastated to learn that I became one of them. If you are a jerk, it is important to remember that you were not always one, that you were once liked and generally thought to be a caring and compassionate human being. You may not have always known what was going on with the patient or the surgery or the lecture, but you worked hard to be considerate and supportive of both your colleagues and patients. I hope you have kept that up, because it isn’t grades that are going to get you anywhere. (Especially not our grades.)

Second, and more specifically, I hope that you can remember what it was like to be a student. You may well be very busy and have entirely too much to do in too little time. But remember back to your third year of medical school when starting an IV was a highlight of the day? Or when you talked to a patient and uncovered some bit of history that no one else had found? Can you remember the thrill that ran through your body the first time you delivered a baby and how it took a half hour for you to catch your breath afterwards? The students just want to be included and helpful. Talk to them, walk with them, teach them. It won’t take that much extra time.

That brings up another seemingly insignificant point. Don’t walk three steps ahead of your students. Don’t make them call you “Doctor” when they are only a few years behind you. Don’t assign them work to do and then erase their findings to insert your own. These are things that jerks do. Hopefully you are not a jerk, but if you are, this would be a good place to start working toward being yourself again.

If you’ll remember, the higher up you are, the more influence you have. Be a positive influence. Be one of those physicians that the students want as their mentor. In short, and to refer to one of our favorite sayings, be the change you wish to see.

Also, if you could let me know what specialty you ended up doing, that would really help me out.

Keep reading about your patients,

All the best,
Katie! (2010 edition)

3 Readers rock!:

Alykat said...

I can't imagine sweet, wonderful, awesome, cool, girl-crush worthy Katie will ever become jerk Katie, but should it happen, this post will make you cry and repent.

Anonymous said...

If you never want to forget what it's like to be a medical student, make sure Future Katie! has a hand in teaching them. You don't necessarily have to be in an academic center to do this - plenty of private practices have students rotate through. You get to experience things through their eyes all over again. It drives you more to learn and drives them through their career.

Future Katie! will no doubt have a good head on her shoulders because the Present Katie! certainly does.

Dragonfly said...

SOO true. I never want to be one of those people who treat other people like dirt because they are so stressed. Not a good way to be.
And man I would love to know what I was going to be when I grow up..