what not to be

my biggest fear right now is not failing my exams (that’s number 2 on the list), but becoming a dangerous doctor.

the kind that other doctors gossip about. the kind that misses an important part of history or is sloppy in examining patients. the sort that, after a month of a certain posting, still doesn’t know where the branulas are kept. a pedigree of carelessness and apathy.

whenever i hear stories of housemen who make mistakes-that-should-not-be-made (brisk reflexes = magnesium sulphate toxicity?!) or commit heinous boo-boos (giving paracetamol to a patient with paracetamol poisoning), i make a mental note to not follow in their footsteps. likewise when i hear patients complain about less than caring doctors who don’t tell them what their surgery was for, or whether they could see their babies, or whatever.

i am afraid that somewhere along the line, i will walk the path that many before me have trodden and lose the very reason (or rather, the standard reason) i chose medicine: to help people. or, in the very sarcastic words of one of my lecturers, to save the world!

the more i take notice of what goes on in the hospital, the more i am aware of the difference between a “normal” doctor and one that goes on to become a specialist or a consultant. it’s not just the higher level of education and longer years of training…most of them are in a class of their own. just watching them work, it’s obvious why they’ve pulled away from the usual breed of healthcare providers to be where they are now.

anyway, i thought of this today because it has only just really sunk in that spending most of my time fretting about not missing important details and arranging my history in an organised manner and giving a succinct summary and being able to offer a reasonable diagnosis and management plan is not entirely about making it through medical school…

…it the very process i need to go through in order to NOT become infamous as the doctor who is of little value to her colleagues and totally worthless to her patients.

i hope that with every nerve-wrecking exam i am an inch closer to becoming not a distinction student (that’s out of my reach already anyway) but an above average doctor. excellence can come in once i graduate. =)

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