So this is probably the best time to drop a word back in here. I finished my USMLE Step 1 test. I get my score back tomorrow. If I feel motivated, I might write a post or two about that experience. A quick summary on my second year of medical school and the end of preclerkships: I’m surprised how much I learned in so little time. But I’m even more impressed with what I don’t know because wow, you can really spend a lifetime learning medicine.
In two weeks, I will be hauling a pager, struggling with EPIC, furiously reading, and most scarily — taking care of patients. My first rotation is pediatrics. I am nervous for a few reasons. To start, it so happens that the hospital I am rotating at was exactly where I was hospitalized (and as a pediatric patient to boot!). I’m not quite sure how I will be handling that situation. Right now, I think I will be okay (by the way, my doctor is finally taking me off my last medication!), but who knows how I will feel when I see an equally sick child on the bed? And as excited as I am to finally “get to be a doctor” (not really as I am still a few years out from my MD), I can’t help but feel SO nervous. The immense responsibility of having someone else’s life in your hands… I mean, wow. One can say that at least I’m lucky to be starting on pediatrics since children are generally a more resistant folk (emphasis on generally), and the pediatricians are known to be incredibly supportive and great teachers. Our deans this week have been throwing at our face that from now on, our time is no longer our time, it is our patients’ time. And I’m okay with that. In fact, in a weird way I am looking forward to not having to think about myself and focus on someone else (that’s probably not psychologically healthy but I don’t care). I’m just worried… what if I can’t do enough? What if I mess up? What if I don’t know things? It’s a little funny to me because I wrote about this exactly in one of my secondary essays when I was applying to medical school. The prompt was something to do with asking us what we thought our biggest challenge would be, and I said it was learning to accept that patient outcomes and healthcare in general are not entirely in our hands. I said back then that I hoped my colleagues and teachers would prepare me for this struggle, and I think I am better, for sure, but it will be a battle I will have to keep fighting. I hope I am good enough for my patients.