Saturday, April 16, 2011
I just finished a week on the teaching service in internal medicine. I have now been in practice a little over 2 years. During the week, there were a number of times when I caught myself thinking "wait... I sound like the attending I had as a third year medical student!" It wasn't a bad thought. But it felt like looking in the mirror and seeing your first grey hair or catching yourself thinking 'I sound like my mom or like my dad!'. I guess as one goes through the medical education process -- from the third year medical student doing his or her first clerkship to the time when you are the attending physician, one changes. I felt comfortable in my role. I supervized procedures, stepped in when the resident or student could not get it, and led patient care decisions. I thank God for all my mentors and teachers through the years that have enabled me to step into this position prepared. I pray I will impart and train the next generation of physicians as I was trained.
I suppose that if you practice long enough, you will have this experience. My appointment scheduler came to tell me that one of my patients -- a 2 month old was switching providers. I may have lost patients before, but been blissfully unaware. This time, I knew. Strangely enough, just a week before I had answered a phone call from her mother, weeping on the phone that the baby was not doing well. I lost no time getting in touch with a specialist to weigh in on the problem and called her right back. I thought we had things settled. Apparently not. While I do not resent this mother wanting to take her baby to another doctor elsewhere, it does leave me wonder what I did wrong. I cannot think of anything (that's scary too, no?). Well, I hope the mother and baby do well, and receive the care they merit. I will miss not seeing little one grow up in my practice.