We've all heard the popular saying "It takes a village to raise a kid." I would say in our modern society that saying isn't really applicable. We have successful individuals who come from single-parent homes, as well as individuals who have family predicaments that prevent any sort of intervention from the outside and they grow up to be influential people as well.
However, over the past few years, I've come to think that whole statement over and I've felt the need to revive it. Although it doesn't really require a village to raise a child anymore, it does indeed take an entire metaphorical village to raise a doctor.
Now hold on. Wait, wait... I'm not saying that doctors don't come from single-parent homes or homes with special predicaments. I'm merely insinuating the idea that every situation and person that a doctor encounters in their early life has the ability to serve as that "village" that shapes them into what type of doctor they become in their later years. Hence, a pre-med's life revolves around volunteering, shadowing, research, as well as extracurricular activities.
I don't mind putting hours outside of school to dedicate time to these activities because the overall experience I have gained from them have already allowed me to save two people on different occasions. Also, I wouldn't have been able to if my pre-health advisor at Hunter College didn't present me with all these opportunities (Word of advice: the pre-health office sends out LIFE-SAVING emails. Do read them).
The advisors, the doctors, and patients you encounter, even some people you just happen to pass by, all have the capability to shape you into a better doctor; whether your experience with them was negative or positive has nothing to do with it. I've encountered many rude and challenging patients in the past few years I've been volunteering. I've also encountered some doctors who tell students that "being a doctor isn't worth it because hours are endless and patients are annoying."
But you know what? Even those situations have taught me to be patient and not take every single word that a doctor says to heart. Because if I really thought that patients "were annoying" and "hours were endless" I wouldn't be a pre-med student. You can't judge a patient because of who they are as a patient; first of all, they are humans. When hurt, every normal person lashes out, some more so than others. As a student, I've realized that a doctor's most important job is to transform a patient into the person they were before a disease struck them.
This article is first and foremost dedicated to Ms. Kemile Jackson and lastly to all the amazing people at NYPBMH.