Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Third Year Desiderata

o placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there was in second year.
As far as possible, be on good terms with all persons,
until you get their notes. 
Give your excuses quickly and clearly;
and listen to your patients,
even to the opinionated and the loquacious;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive surgeons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become discouraged or lazy,
for always there will be both gunners and muppets.
Enjoy your coffee as well as your cake.
Keep interested in your own "career", however humble;
it is a pleasing fantasy to dwell on in the early morning darkness.
Always document everything,
for the world is full of bullshit artists.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high standards,
and they may be able to help you, come swot-vac.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign incompetence,
everybody is sick of your shit.
Neither be cynical about psychosocial histories,
for in the face of all PCRs and MRIs, 
they are as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth,
excepting perhaps certain tactical wargames and the odd bit of Scrabble.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you when pimped on the ward.
But do not distress yourself with paranoid delusions,
most consultants don't know you from a bar of soap.
Beyond a vigorous handwashing before lunch,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a student of the university
no less than the midwives and nurses;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the year is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with your Supervisor,
whatever you perceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of Medicine,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still interesting from time to time. 
Don't be a freak. Strive to be normal.


Anonymous said...

Wow - can I buy that on a tea-towel?

Or better yet, on a set of green scrubs?

PTR said...

Wisdom like that can't be bought.
It can only be blobbed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the third years medical student lament, pure poetry, you should be getting a call from the Nobel committee, you get my vote!