rAdIoLoGy NoTeS 15: The 10 Things You Should Know Now That You're an MD 3/08/2009 02:35:00 PM

I have talked to a lot of young medical students, paramedical students, pgi's (interns) and interns (senior clerks) in the course of the few years of so that have passed since I got my medical degree on April afternoon in 2005. Here's some unsolicited advice I may have handed in these various conversations with people younger than me in one form or another.

1. Know yourself well enough to know where you want to go now. Graduation is not the beginning but the start of a life long career. I do know a few of my batchmates who have decided to do absolutely nothing (not practicing even as a general practitioner, not taking the board exam, not even reverting to practice what they took up as a pre-medicine bachelor's degree) just because they have forgotten to take a good look at their options, thus they ended up stagnating.

2. Stick to your principles. At least in this country (the Philippines), one is blessed to follow one's conscience with regards to ethical matters, and this is clearly spelled out in our medical jurisprudence text book. If you do not agree with doing a procedure as a matter of conscience, don't even think of compromising. Others may think you weird or backwards for doing so, you might even have to submit yourself to a sanction, but people will think more highly of you for doing so.

3. Patients are persons. Trust me, the many times I have forgotten so in the course of being tired, cranky, previously on duty, or pre-menstrual, I have gotten in trouble...

4. The other staff members in the hospital are human too. Likewise, as above, experience has taught me that one can get into so much trouble for forgetting this simple fact.

5. Nevermind what every one else is planning- do your own thing! To illustrate, one friend decided to forgo training, review for exams in a foreign country she has never even thought of going to and is now (hopefully!) a few weeks pregnant after deciding to resettle someplace else with her husband. And the bottomline is --- even if she just emailed me the news, I know that she is so happy with her decision.

6. You will be a student for the rest of your life. Medicine is an ever-changing field and somehow, new discoveries will always suplant the old. You have to keep yourself therefore updated.

7. Medicine isn't everything... Of course, it is your work, your vocation, what will bring food for the table, but there are several things that have to take priority-- your faith, family, friends...

8. Accept that you can make mistakes. We aren't gods. Mistakes may be costly at times at the expense of a life. Still, we have to learn from them and carry on.

9.Your colleagues are there to help you. The approach to treating a patient is multidisciplinary most of the time. Listen to your peers. They may have ideas that you will be surprised to know.

10. Gratitude has its rewards. Be grateful to those who have helped you in this path, be they family, mentors, friends, colleagues. This thankful attitude will make you happy.

Note: I apologize for missing some of the other opportunities to join the previous blog rounds editions. I guess the adjustments for the second year of my residency training just got to me (see previous rAdIoLoGy NoTeS ). I even missed my hosting chores (Yikes!) I will make up for it, somehow....

3 other thoughts:

Ligaya said...

This is good advice! Thanks. :-)

The Last Song Syndrome said...

Thank you JA. I couldn't agree more with the doing your own thing part. And gratitude too. Round-up is in!

myorthodoc said...

Another good advice from a recent grad and soon to be specialist...Pearls indeed