Sunday, February 21, 2016

Life as a medical student #17 Be A Different Doctor

When I was in Taiwan, I went to Shifen train station to release a sky lantern, inspired by the movie 《那些年,我们一起追的女孩》(You are the apple of my eyes). I first prayed for health for my family and friends. Then without hesitation, next on my list was: I want to be a different doctor.

Can you imagine that? In less than two years, I am going to be a doctor. I want to know, what kind of doctor am I going to be? I have seen both the incredibly passionate ways some of the doctors in the hospital treat their patients, and the behaviours of the others that I will never emulate in my own practice in the future. I've seen medicine serve some of its patients well and completely change their lives, while failing others. I had the chance to work on extremely effective teams and surprisingly dysfunctional ones, too. I've shared intimate moments with patients who placed their confidence in me - rather than the other senior doctors of the team - to treat them well.

Therefore I know, without a doubt, what kind of doctor I want to be.

But the truth is, I am scared. I don't know what future lies. I am afraid that one day, after committing my life to this profession, the sparks won't be there.

What if, one day I gradually become the kind of doctor I hated the most?

I believe most doctors went into medicine to help people. We want to practice medicine the right way, but too many forces today are causing us to have diminished enthusiasm for medicine. While taking care of people in their most vulnerable states, we make ourselves somewhat vulnerable in the process, too. It is hard, to stay motivated.

Therefore, I write. Ten years from now I am going to read what I have written today as a student. I want to replay the image of that female doctor, in the small consultation room of HKL, who would bend down on her knees just to adjust the footrest of the wheelchair for an elderly patient. Or the one who would put his pen down just to listen to what the anxious-looking old man was trying to tell him, and acknowledged the worry in his eyes.

Don't you ever forget that.

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