Doctors and doormen

There's a certain je ne sais quoi of a good doctor. You know, ask a hundred people about doctors, and they'll tell you a hundred different qualities, but there's something that everyone wants out of a doctor, and it's stuff that keeps people coming back for more. And really, I'd like to think that's all I've got going for me.

I went into a residency interview and I flat out said, "I'm not the smartest candidate you'll interview, not by a longshot. I'm not the sharpest or the most qualified, but I'll be just as good a doctor if not better because if all you were looking for were the smartest and the sharpest, you wouldn't be interviewing me right now." There's truth to that. I think about my med school class, and I know who I think the exceptional ones are, and they weren't the smartest. They were the ones that patients love, because medicine is more about relating to people than treating disease.

I was telling a friend of mine a truth to medicine. Even an incompetent doctor can be loved by his patients if he's willing to stand up and fight for them. And I'm living proof. I have patients all the time in the hospital, and my pitch to them to follow up with me in clinic is about as negative as possible. I'm a first year. I'm in training. There are better, more qualified doctors that abound. They're under no obligation to establish care with me. But still, I've had patients that turned down my attendings to follow with me. I'm not incompetent. I think really it's just that people want to know that their doctor is someone that cares about them. I don't talk down. I talk with.

The reason I like medicine, the reason why I wake up every morning and go to the hospital is because I like working with people. I like helping people out. I like talking to people and getting to know their problems and how I can help. Diseases, treatments, procedures, it's all a means to an end. If there were no patients to care for, I'd rather be a doorman. This is in complete opposition to one or two friends I have that don't want to care for patients at all. And I'll admit, I don't get it. If you don't want to take care of patients, why bother?

To me, being a doorman has the same luxuries and benefits of medicine. It's all about knowing someone who at the end of the day is looking out for you.

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