So excited that surgery starts tomorrow, and nervous, too. I’ve been reading First Aid for the Wards this weekend, and everything I read makes me feel very unprepared. I know everyone else is in the same boat, though, so I’m not too worried. They can’t expect me to be competent on my first day… I hope *gulp.*
In any event, I have a lot to do to prepare for this week, so that’s all I’m really going to write today. Keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂
Orientation week is pretty much done. It was quite uneventful, although I did learn how to write a SOAP note, how to write prescriptions, intake and discharge forms, and how to place an IV. Today was alumni career day, and the office for alumni at my school invited doctors from different specialties to come talk about what their lives and professions are like. I went to talks about radiology, family medicine, emergency medicine, and pediatrics. Obviously, I have no idea what specialty I want to go into. I’m okay with that though–I plan on going into each rotation this year with an open mind so I can try to sort out in which specialty I see myself in the future. Of course, I’m horrible at making decisions, and right now everything I try I find really interesting, so I’ll have to be quite introspective to find my niche.
Although most of the doctors that came to chat with us students said their specialty was the best, and none really swayed me strongly toward their specialty, I think I gained some general pearls of wisdom for how I should approach the next few years of my medical career.
- Where I wind up is where I am meant to be. According to one doctor, it’s not so much what I do that matters, its how I do it and what attitude I have along the way. He said that whatever specialty I wind up in, I’ll be just as good as I would be (or just as horrible as I would be) in any other specialty. His point was that basically its how much work I put in and how I take the bad situations with the good that will determine my success and happiness. Although I do think there is more to it than this (I think that the differences between specialties can make a difference in my overall happiness depending on how compatible I am with that particular specialty), there is some wisdom in the idea that its how I deal with wherever I end up with all its pros and cons that can determine my real happiness. This is kind of a comforting thought as I approach applying for residency in the next year–that even if I can’t find a specialty choice I am completely sure I want, if I pick a specialty that I feel pretty good about I can be happy as long as I have a positive attitude.
- If I wind up in something that completely isn’t for me, I can always switch. Earlier this week, I was told the complete opposite, that its very difficult to change specialties once you are in residency, and especially once you are an established doctor. Still, one of the doctors I spoke with today made a good case for switching if what I’ve wound up in really isn’t for me. He said that if I find myself in my first year of residency hating what I am doing, I should do the best I can for that year, get good recommendations, and then switch to another program. I’ll probably have to start again as an intern at the beginning of my new residency, but its worth it if it will make me happy for the rest of my life.
- Don’t listen to what other people tell me–their ideas are not God’s commandments. Whether its about what specialty I should go into or whether I’ll get into a particular program, I shouldn’t listen to people discouraging me from doing what I want. Although I would also take this with a grain of salt (for example, if I decide I want to be a dermatologist and my board scores are abysmal, I probably shouldn’t put all of my eggs in the “derm” basket), I think its important not to limit myself. Even if I want to enter a specialty that’s very competitive and my board scores aren’t great, I should still try for what I want and stay positive. Realistically, I should have a back-up pan (read: apply to programs in a second choice specialty in which I have a better chance of getting a residency spot), but there’s no reason to limit myself because of the nay-sayers.
So although the actual point of exploring different specialties didn’t make me change my opinions of the specialties–I’m still interested in pretty much everything at this point–I think I left today with some good ideas of how to stay positive while I search for my future calling: I should listen to myself, I can always change later, and my success and happiness depends on my mindset and attitude. No pressure.
Hello to anyone reading this, and welcome to my blog! I just had the first day of my third year of medical school. It’s surreal that I’m already half way done with my journey towards getting my MD. In just a week, I’ll begin my first rotation–general surgery–which is supposed to be one of the most stressful and difficult rotations I’ll have. Still, I can’t wait to begin. Although I’m a bit nervous, and already overwhelmed by paperwork and poor planning my school administration (as I just received an email telling me I basically must see the HR department of one of the first hospitals I rotate through by tomorrow, even though I’m already scheduled to have an orientation lecture tomorrow at the same time), I am so excited to finally get out of the lecture hall and to be given the chance to do what I was called to do–work closely with patients.
I’m writing this blog to keep track of my thoughts as my year progresses, and to record my successes and struggles. I’ve been told third year is a time of growth and self-reflection, where you develop your professional identity. I always think best and most logically when I slow down my thoughts and write them down on paper, so I assume typing them in a blog should have the same effect, letting me reflect upon my own personal growth as I progress through the multitude of clinical situations this year will present.
So, if you want, you can join me on my journey via reading my blog!
Until next post,