Years ago, when I was a medical student and resident, I kept a list of all the patients I saw. I wrote down the name, diagnoses, and 1 medical thing I learned (the science of medicine) and 1 nonmedical thing I learned (the art of medicine). I encourage the students and residents I teach now to do the same thing. I always say, “You’re learning at the speed of light. If you review this list, at the end of a day, at the end of a week, at the end of a year, you’ll be amazed to see how much you have learned.”
I recently came upon the little notebook from my very first clinical rotation as a third-year medical student. It was a fascinating read. There, I found the young student I’d forgotten about: scared, naïve, full of false bravado, hopeful, excited to learn, unwilling to be belittled, amazed at the endless variations of the human condition, thrilled after years in the classroom to be actually seeing patients, trying to learn what it was to act professional.
Here, unedited, are the “art of medicine” comments I wrote that summer long ago, as I was finding my way in clinical medicine.
I learned a lot about Dr ______. He has an ego problem and takes it out on students, especially in the presence of others. I found out, much to my surprise, that I can keep very quiet and not talk back. I also didn’t like the fact that it was so easy for me to be subservient; I thought I had more spunk than that. I also rediscovered that I cry when I get mad. I need to work …