This week, I had the heartwarming opportunity to speak with pre-health students at Florida Southern College. It was so inspiring to hear their enthusiasm for pursuing a career spent helping others. Their questions were insightful and their curiosity, refreshing. As usual, I painted an accurate picture of what medicine is like in 2019 while imparting hope.
While sharing with them about my 25 years in medicine, I remembered the section I titled, “What We Do” in Recapturing Joy in Medicine (p.25). I hope you enjoy reading this excerpt as much as I enjoyed writing it:
What we do as physicians is amazing. Astonishing, really! Strangers trust us with their deepest secrets and the most distressing realities of their lives. They come to us when they are hurt, sick, fearful, suffering, and when they lose hope. We support them during their worst and scariest moments. We get to hold their hand, encourage them, and walk beside them to the other side.
We help people heal and become healthier. Our interventions and care prolong life and enhance quality of life. We deliver babies and hear their first cries. At times, ours is the first face they ever see and our hands the first to comfort them. Some of us (especially family physicians and pediatricians) get to watch them grow up along with their siblings. We journey with families as they transition through the loss of a loved one and as they adapt to the joys and trials of a new life.
Sometimes we even save lives. I mean … someone’s mom or dad, a little girl’s brother or sister lives on … because we were there, we cared, and we knew what to do.
What we do is amazing. We get to love people for a living by serving them when they need it most, and we get to share in their joys too. Not many people can say that.
Despite all the challenges we face, our profession remains a sacred and special privilege. If we find ways to remember this on a daily basis, our capacity for joy will expand. Try it now, and get in the habit of recalling your awesome vocation more often, and always giving thanks.
Photo credit: Natanael Melchor on Unsplash
Follow the link to learn more about my latest book, Recapturing Joy in Medicine: A Coaching Manual for Physicians to Live Well & Lead Effectively. You will see endorsements from physician leaders working tirelessly to improve healthcare at the national level. Thank you for spreading the word by telling your peers and site leadership about this unique resource that’s been called “chicken soup for the physician’s soul!” (Thank you, Dr. Barton!) My goal is nothing less than to help change the culture of medicine while inspiring and empowering our colleagues!