Anon Question: Being ‘Good Enough’ for Medicine
The answer is complex.
To me, you can never give enough or be good enough for medicine. It wants all of you. There is a strong “Keeping Up with the Jones’” attitude that pervades many medical attitudes and minds. You can let that drive you crazy or find a way to be okay with that. It is unfortunately ‘normal’ that people doubt themselves or find themselves in endless competition with their peers. A little healthy competition is fine, but it shouldn’t drive anyone crazy. So I have a different way of thinking about it:
I have learned to see medicine as not a symbol of perfected self, but as a calling. You don’t asked to be called. Something happened to you that made you susceptible to hearing it. It’s better than comparing yourself to some idol or vision of perfection in a white coat that you will never, ever be. A calling is for people who have a story to tell, a mission in life. And I think that’s something we should all have.
When you think of medicine as a calling, all you can do is give it your best shot. Sometimes you screw up and you want to stop. Some days you win life’s jackpot and nothing brings you down. Some days you are brought to your knees, humbled by what you have seen or experienced. Some days you fall to the ground and you feel like you can’t get up.
I’m not good enough for a lot of things; I don’t know if I’m good enough for medicine. In that way, I can’t answer your question and I apologize for that.
But what I do know? Everything that has happened to me has led me to medicine. It gives meaning to my experiences and ignites my passion. It gives me the tools to help those who need help. If I can take away a little pain and replace it with something better? I’m enough for myself and maybe enough for medicine.
My answer is way off the beaten path, I know. Thank you for your question!
Anon Question: Location, location, location
I believe that what matters is where you end up. And the road is long: I’m talking where you ULTIMATELY end up as a professional and a person, which extends far beyond med school. School is not the end of the road; not even close! Internships? Your first job? Your last job? Everything is an end unto itself; not a means to an end. Everything matters.
So to me? Medical schools and residency programs’ prestige wax and wane. What matters is who you are, whether the programs you train under matter to you and enrich your professional and personal life, your work, and what you can do for your patients.
Thanks for the question! :)
Anon Question: Who deserves to be a doctor?
Of course I have met folks on the interview trail that just rubbed me the wrong way. It’s inevitable. :)
And yeah, I have definitely sat there while chatting to fellow interviewees and even classmates and wondered, “Are you for real?”
But I have never met anyone whom I think does not deserve to be here because in my mind, I’m not better than any of my classmates. I definitely rub some classmates the wrong way. I’m sure some people don’t think I deserve my place in my class. And that’s their opinion. But my opinion is that I don’t have a right to decide who does or doesn’t deserve to be in med school.
Because to me, one does not ‘deserve’ to go to med school. Your place is fought for, worked for, and earned. The true judges are time and their own decisions. If my peer makes poor decisions over time, then they will know their own worth. I don’t have to waste my time hang-wringing over their bad personalities and character development. Sooner or later, life, an attending, or their own mistakes will catch up to them. They will know their worth and what they deserve.
On a not-so-philosophical note, I would like to say that schools generally do a good job picking qualified, deserving people. And I have a theory!
Admissions offices and deans have seen thousands of students. They know when you’re lying. They know when you don’t care. They know when you’re being a pompous asshole or pretending that you’re not one. Don’t think you can trick them. They have seen every trick and they will see right through said tricks. So be yourself, be honest with yourself, and be honest with them. If you want to be there, they will know.
Hope that helps!
I’m thinking about going to med school but I feel like most med school students are just all around. Like I think I have the ability academically but I’m kind of shy and a bit more introverted. My people skills could use some work, you know? I’m hoping this is something I’ll just be able to get past with more practice but is that something that’s gonna hold me back in this field?
You have to remember that there are all kinds of doctors, and not all of them deal with live patients. Pathologists help patients immensely without directly interacting with them. Medical examiners also do a public service but have limited interaction with people. You could even be an anesthesiologist and only see people before you put them to sleep. That’s not even taking into consideration the non-clinical (i.e. administrative) jobs you could do as a doctor.
Doctors come in all shapes and flavors. Several of my classmates are introverts, as are many of the doctors I have worked with. The key will be overcoming that when you need to. If you deal with live patients they will need you to talk to them. They will need you to console them and to divulge the details of their diagnoses on a level that they can understand. You don’t have to be an extrovert, but you do have to be able to effectively communicate.
Being an introvert won’t prohibit you from going into medicine. It may help to work on your communication skills though. Medicine, regardless of field, is a team sport. That means even if you don’t deal with patients you will need to communicate with your colleagues. Luckily, it sounds like all you need is some practice.
Best of luck,
Excellent answer! Another great response from thenotquitedoctor!
Women are almost impossible to kill no matter what you do to them.”
— Dr. A, regarding the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative) interest in observing incidences of breast cancer in women on estrogen replacement therapy
Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive coccus that forms “grape-like” clusters of cells. It is also known for the “golden” appearance of its colonies, which is produced by a protective carotenoid pigment called Staphyloxanthin (Clanditz et al., 2006). S. aureus is an opportunistic pathogen with many toxins and virulence factors at its disposal.
The microbe I fear most, in a rather pretty photo
Personally, I would be honored to have this hanging in my living room. Van Gogh-esque, no?
There is something about pathology that always reminds me of art, too!
Although pathology clearly reminds pathologists of food (bread and butter pericarditis, red currant jelly, cheese-like caseating necrosis, etc.). I will just say…I’m not as imaginative as them. Not by a long shot.
19 gram adrenal gland with cortical adenoma.
“The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over his library, “The medicines of the soul.””
from Oliver Wendell Holmes (source)
I am all about this, bravo!