Before I started medical school I remember my mentor, the physician who inspired me to pursue this field tell me that I will one day meet a patient that will forever change the way I view medicine.
Last week I had the pleasure of taking care of a very sick but pleasant gentleman. Our patient had come in to the emergency room with unstable vitals, a very complicated medical history, and required yet another surgical procedure to alleviate his symptoms. As the surgery team we were called to consult on this patient and I was asked to conduct the history along with the physical exam.
After we admitted the patient and took him to the operating room, I following my attending into the waiting room to talk to the family and update them on his progress. We continued to round on this gentleman day after day and assess his health. On most days I would check back on him in the afternoons and encourage him to walk around the unit, eat his jello, and practice the breathing exercises to prevent fluid build up in his lungs after the operation.
The day finally came when my patient was ready for discharge and before he was ready to leave he said, “Thank you so much for all that you have done. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get out of here, but you gave me so much hope.” It was then that I realized even as a student I had an impact on patient care. My opinions were valued, my patients relied on my help, and I had the power to truly make a difference in someone else’s life.
So listen up future health care professionals! Never underestimate your role in a patient’s healthcare plan because you, yes you are an essential part of someone’s healing process.