Everyone in the world has heard the cliché statement that patience is a virtue. It is the bread and butter of all desirable traits, of all admired characteristics, of all necessary and pertinent qualities that are essential for us as aspiring physicians. It is, simply, an essential attribute that rewards us with persistence. This persistence is vital in helping us continue on the journey toward becoming a medical doctor- life-saver and friend.
How can I describe it, obtain it, keep it, and use it as fuel for growth? Is it the art of being silent, contemplative, thankful, and joyous in the moment? Why is it so difficult?
As future health care providers dealing with patients from diverse backgrounds that are going to be involved in endless unpredictable scenarios, patience is something that we must exhibit. It is something that we must showcase not only to them, but also owe to ourselves as we embark on the path toward treating, caring, and loving those around us. As aspiring physicians, we need to learn the art of appreciating time – it is in these little moments that beautiful relationships are built and life breathes. Look at the flowers in the field and the trees in the forest – they don’t rush to grow…they simply grow. They are at peace and accomplish their goals simply by being still- by being and truly radiating the concept of patience.
Ironically, as I wonder why I’m sitting at my computer in the middle of the night writing this post, knowing that I have to wake up in just a few meager hours, the answer shines clear – impatience.
Impatience is a driving force, but it is the dark side of the iceberg that rests deceptively underneath a vast ocean. It won’t accomplish the best, more fruitful desires of the heart. It won’t treat patients with the utmost respect that they desire and deserve.
If not now, then when?
If I dare to make claims that I will be a doctor one day, that I will strive to provide the best quality care, that I will pursue the principle of people first, I must first extend to myself the patience. I must be patient with myself on this voyage and be patient to all around me if I one day I hope to be patient with my patients. At the very least, they deserve that.
We all must learn to be patient with ourselves – giving ourselves enough time to learn volumes of information, to embrace change, to embark and invest in new friendships that are at times difficult and exhausting to pursue. We must learn to live without haste and a desire to be constantly moving without break. It feels engrained within our nature and emphasized by society that we should constantly strive to accomplish anything and everything, being not only our best, but the best overall. In this pursuit, we rush and run the race that we never signed up for willingly, craving to feel that instant gratification that is fleeting. It is through this that we end up getting hurt and hurting others. When we aren’t patient, we fail not only ourselves, but also our future patients.
So patience – this difficult trait, this elusive butterfly that always seems to be within grasp but is further away than I realize, this endurance race that dares taunt me…how can I achieve it?
By simply being still and living in the moment.
I need to take time to treasure the world, to value everyone around me, and to realize that sometimes the best things in life are worth being patient for.
My patients deserve patience.
Be still, my soul, be still.
Ethnically, 100% Romanian, and nationally, 100% American, I was born in Seneca, South Carolina and have lived in the Clemson/Easley area my whole life. I graduated with a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering, Materials Emphasis, from Clemson University. Athlete, scholar and former competitive pianist, I try to maintain a balanced mind, body and soul. I am ecstatic and blessed to be attending USCSOMG and to be part of the wonderful Class of 2020, beginning the journey that propelled me into medicine: pursuing the principle of people first.
Copyright 2014 USC School of Medicine Greenville