It’s human nature to want to be right, to be perfect, to be the best. I get it, trust me-medical student type A personality here and no shame about it.
But what I have learned these past few years is that making mistakes is actually a good thing. I remember a few months ago a patient came into the family medicine clinic I was rotating at with shoulder pain. My attending asked me to go and see this patient. I was just a month into my second year, and the musculoskeletal system block we had covered at the beginning of first-year was waaaaaay in the back of my brain. I went in, took a history and physical to the best of my ability. When I walked out, I presented to my attending but for some reason had forgotten to do some specific tests pertaining to shoulder pain that would specify what muscle was potentially causing the pain.
After that day, I made it my mission to review the musculoskeletal system and practice my physical exam for common complaints: shoulder, back, and knee pain. I asked my preceptor next week that I wanted to see all of her musculoskeletal complaints because I felt like I needed more practice. I kept making mistakes, patient after patient, complaint after complaint. Fast forward to the end of my second year where I presented my last patient of the year with back pain to my attending. When I was finished she smiled and said, “That was the best upper extremity exam I have ever seen from a medical student.”
You see, making mistakes is not always a bad thing. It allows for growth. It gives us opportunities to find where we can succeed because perfection is an imaginary concept ingrained in our minds from a young age. So go out there and make as many mistakes as you can. You will learn more about yourself than you can imagine. Trust me, I am living proof.