Advice for Students and New Practitioners
Written by Editor   
Friday, September 09, 2016 12:00 AM

Be prepared for the long haul with your profession.  Most have some idea of how long the journey to becoming a doctor is going to be.  Most know it will be a matter of years, but do not realize how much time it will take to effectively train to become an independent doctor. Also bear in mind that even though you have an idea now of what you want to do, it may very well change as you go through different experience. By the end, more than likely, your journey will be different than how you first envisioned it.

You don't know everything, and that's OK. As you go through your training you will come across incredibly intelligent people who will challenge you to go further in your knowledge. There is so much to learn and at times, it may be overwhelming. The more you learn along the way, the more you'll realize that you don't know, and that is OK. As you continue, you will realize that you are participating in what will be lifelong learning. New technologies will come along, old assumptions will change, and what you learn will be challenged for the better.

You're part of a team. As you get more exposure to patient care, you will realize that there are many people involved in the patient's care besides you. More than likely, you’ll be interacting with others and each person on the team plays an important role; try to learn their roles and also realize how your role fits into the care of the patient. At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust. They will be depending on you; learn also to depend on them, since you need them too.

It will be a challenging road. Taking care of patients is not easy at times, and it can be overwhelming. Also realize that at times, your time will not be your own. You may have to work long, demanding hours. All this can be physically draining at times, and it will be important to try to take care of yourself. 

Remember to remain human. At the end of the day, you're not a superhero. You are a human being, full of emotions, desires, hopes, dreams, and fears. Remember to maintain that humanity as you interact with patients, family members, and colleagues. Never think of yourself greater than you are, but don't doubt yourself more than you need to. At the end of the day, you are dealing with human beings always, not cases in a textbook. Come to your patients with humanity, and you will have more of a therapeutic impact than you realize. 

It may appear long, but this journey will come to an end sooner than you think. I wish you luck, and I look forward to hearing how the journey is going for you.