M.D. When I was accepted into USCSOM Greenville and committed to attending this school, my mom got me two decorative Scrabble letters – I love board games, and it was an exciting time. They also make a cute wall decoration. These letters still hang on my wall today. M.D.
As a third-year currently in the hectic process of applying for away rotations, I was thinking about where I will be in a little over a year from now. I will have completed my third year. Taken my Step 2 exams. Gotten married. Hopefully gone to a couple rotations away at other programs. Applied for residency. Gone on interviews. I will be anxiously awaiting match day. And in May of 2017, I will be given an M.D. At the end of 4 years of hard work, I will be awarded a medical degree and an additional two letters at the end of my name.
These two little letters make me feel excited, proud of my hard work, thankful, and more than anything else, anxious. With just two little letters, everything changes drastically. I will be directly responsible for the lives of others. I will have the power to give orders, prescribe medications, and I can no longer use my “I’m the medical student” excuse when I don’t know the answer to a particular question.
Frankly, I am terrified of what those two little letters will do for me as I continue on my path to a lifetime of medicine. At this point I’m still trying to decide what kind of M.D. I will be. Ultimately I just want to be a good one. I want to take care of my patients, save lives, and change lives for the better.
I will make an embarrassing confession here (and hopefully I’m not the only medical student who would admit to this)… There has been the occasional time when I’ve had to stop and think of what the M.D. means… Doctor of medicine? Doctorate of medicine? Medicine doctor? If you Google it, you can find that M.D. is originally an abbreviation of the latin term, Medicinae Doctor, which means “Teacher of medicine.” Wait, teacher of medicine? Interesting.
This perfectly describes what a physician should be, and what kind of doctor I aspire to be. Our clinicians have stressed to us the value of patient-centered care. We are taught how to motivate our patients to be involved in their own health care. Rather than ordering them to do what we say, we empower them to participate in the decision-making process. We teach our patients and supply them with the best options or solutions so that they can ultimately decide what is best. We encourage our patients to be accountable for their own health. We are teachers of medicine.
As we progress along the path of our training, we also begin to teach those learners who are working with us or beginning a career in medicine. One of my goals in the future is to be involved in academic medicine so that I can help medical students, residents, and colleagues learn to be better physicians. I want to assist in teaching those around me to be better health care providers. I need to continue to learn new things every day, as medicine is an ever-changing field, so I must teach myself. I was drawn to medicine because there is always something new to learn.
So as I continue to trudge through my third year, I’m again encouraged and inspired to be better and work harder. I am motivated to learn so that I can educate my colleagues and patients. In a short period of time, they will count on me to take care of them, save them, be a great teacher of medicine. They will count on me to be an M.D.
I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, but have lived in Greenville for the past 13 years. I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry in May 2013 at Virginia Tech, where I swam for the varsity team. My pursuit of a career in medicine began with my interest in biochemistry and physiology. I really enjoy reaching out to my community and interacting with people. I am excited to begin my medical career and make an impact at USC School of Medicine Greenville, where I can become a well-rounded, compassionate and successful physician, improving the lives of my patients.
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