Let's be honest, sometimes we aspiring doctors need a little motivation. School work and the pressure of doing well in classes can create a lot of stress and at times we may lose focus of the goal. In my experience, many premed and med students today are too concentrated in the now, the current academic burdens, and they forget about why the actually started in this wonderful field in the first place.
Whether you are into medicine or not these are all great, inspiring, and moving movies to watch.
These movies remind us what it really means to be a doctor and why many of us decided to pursue this wonderful field. I highly encourage you to watch them and learn from them. (Below each movie is either a clip or the trailer of each.)
1. Patch Adams
This is a classic. Based on the true story of Dr. Patch Adams, Robin Williams stars as the doctor who was not afraid to engage with his patients in a way few people had done before. In this 1998 movie, Patch Adams reminds us of the beauty of a patient-doctor relationship, the importance of happiness and laughter during illness, and to never give up in pursuing your dream to be a doctor.
2. Gifted Hands
Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as Dr. Ben Carson in this 2009 film. The film is centered around one of Dr. Carson's most important and career-launching surgeries, the separation of conjoined twins, and also recounts the events in his life leading up to this moment. Despite the high risks associated with such a surgery, Dr. Carson successfully performed the surgery. This movie teaches us that no obstacle is too big to become a doctor, the importance of challenging ourselves, and that "Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them."
3. Something The Lord Made
This 2004 HBO film depicts the story of Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), an African-American aspiring doctor, and Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman), a white surgeon and how these men pioneered modern heart surgery. Set in 1930, when hospitals were still segregated and racial discrimination was very much alive, Dr. Blalock forms a partnership with Vivien Thomas that broke the rules of medicine and society at the time and resulted in one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine.
4. The Doctor
William Hurt stars as Dr. Jack McKee, a prominent heart surgeon who is apathetic toward his patients, sees patients as numbers, and even teaches his interns that feelings and emotions have no place in medicine or science. However, when he is diagnosed with throat cancer he must now be a patient. This changes his perspective completely and causes a change of heart toward his medical practice. The movie is based on the real life doctor and author of A Taste of My Own Medicine, Dr. Ed Rosenbaum. The Doctor reminds us that having empathy with our patients is very important; we must realize that they are also human beings who are scared, sick and have trusted their lives to us. As doctors we must treat them with equal empathy and respect.
In this 2015 movie based on a true story, Will Smith stars as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a physician, neuropathologist, and forensic pathologist. Dr. Omalu performed an autopsy on NFL football player Mike Webster and found what he termed chronic traumatic encephalopathy. After seeing many other football players with the same diagnosis, he goes against all odds to raise awareness and fight against this disorder. For us aspiring doctors, this movie based on Dr. Omalu's true story reminds us to go the extra mile for our patients and that as doctors we cannot conform to simply looking away.
Take some time to watch these amazing movies and take in as much as you can. As an aspiring doctor, these movies remind me of why I decided to pursue this beautiful career in the first place and I hope they do the same for you.