Thursday, January 04, 2007

Me and My Shadow, Part 3

As before [1] [2], when I have a medical student do a rotation with me, I ask them to give me a write-up about their experience working with me in my micropractice. Even though he doesn't mention anything about UCLA's defeat of USC in this year's annual football melee (which took place during the rotation), it still shows some insight and thoughtfulness. (Just kidding, Anto!)

Family medicine is a fertile haven where all questions and concerns are welcome. It has been a tremendous experience to be able to take part in such a setting where tremendous gratitude is extolled for alleviating symptoms affecting daily life and solving questions and offering solutions to medical problems that had perplexed patients for prolonged periods of time. I had a tremendous opportunity with Dr S to make an impact in my patients' lives. This opportunity not only allowed me to greatly supplement my medical knowledge but it also allowed me to appreciate the art of medicine.

We have always been told that a physician's words carry a remarkable amount of weight for a patient. I had not really understood what that meant until this rotation. Instead of ending my encounter by presenting to my preceptor and letting him take it from there, I was able to go back into the room and plan a course of treatment for my patient's problems. Most of the time this involved recommending a given medication, however there were times where counseling and caring was enough to alleviate the problem.

I have had a number of valuable experiences throughout my 3rd year. Each rotation made me feel more and more like a true physician. However during this rotation I did not feel like a physician, I was a physician. From GERD to cellulitis, I had a great amount of autonomy, more than I ever had before. Therefore, I was able to inject more of my personality and care into everything I did. To have a patient say: “I came in with a minor problem, but I would have felt comfortable with you if you were treating me with a more severe medical condition” is an indescribable feeling.

I am certain I had such a valuable experience because of the unparalleled patient care and warm atmosphere created by Dr S. It is a place where patients' concerns take precedent over any other matter. It is remarkable the amount of care and attention given to each patient. Prior to my rotating through the practice I was used to 15 minute interviews and physicals with cursory follow ups. There was no time for establishing rapport or treating the patient as a whole. After seeing what Dr S does, I have not seen a better way to practice medicine. To integrate the amount of knowledge he has with the care provided is something I will strive to emulate as I become a physician.

All in all, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. It not only allowed me to expand my knowledge base but it allowed me to appreciate the tremendous value of caring and listening which is often overlooked in providing medical care. I will be ever grateful for the patients I encountered and who impacted my life more then I ever could by recommending a NSAID or antibiotic to relieve their transient pain. During these four and a half weeks I grew more as a person, learning how compassion is just as effective as a given drug. I now have a better understanding of what is meant by the phrase: “the art of medicine.” I owe a great deal of what I learned to Dr S and his practice.

Anto Hindoyan, MS3

Thank you for your thoughts, Anto, and I wish you great success in your future. I wish all medical students, and physicians for that matter, could experience what it is like to have no time constraints and no hurried rushing when talking with a patient about whatever ails them.