The road to becoming a physician is certainly a long and tedious one. Some might even consider it “soul sucking.” With just a year of medical school under my belt, I have already found that it can be very easy to lose track of why I started this journey in the first place. Studies have shown that people become significantly less empathetic as they go through medical school; particularly during 3rd and 4th year when students are out on clinical rotations learning the dirty truth of exactly what their work is going to entail.
As J. P. Morgan said, a person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one. The world can only become a better place if we appeal to the nobler motives – of ourselves, our patients, and our colleagues. The art of our work revolves around preserving human life. I believe this can only be done admirably if we preserve our own humanity as well.
So how can we remain compassionate and benevolent as we trudge through schooling and residency programs that are designed to push us to our limits? By sticking together and building relationships with the individuals that are going through the same thing. Not only do we need people to stay sane, but we have an amazing opportunity to experience a special type of camaraderie that can only be found in the walls of our classroom and hospitals. To treat humans, we first must be human. To me, that means taking the time to look at things through human eyes as well as through our scientist’s lens.