July 1st is the new year in medicine. Medical students step into their first clinical role as “Doctor,” interns matriculate as residents, and residents become attendings – many realizing lifelong dreams.
It is a day of excitement and nervousness – coupled feelings, often separated only by the tone in which we hear our thoughts…
“This is my first day as a doctor”
There is no skipping this step. For physicians seeking clinical practice in this country, intern year is a do-not-pass-go situation.
“I have to do this.”
It can be daunting to don a badge stating “physician” with one hour of experience to support the mountains of responsibility and expectation that word can bear.
“Will they trust me? Should they trust me? Do I trust me?”
Moments before part of the sea of students, offering answers, listening to responses, every word approved. Now treading in different water, holding the pager, wielding power to sign orders and bearing duty to answer calls.
“I am in charge of these patients. I am in charge of myself.”
Introducing yourself as doctor, listening with new awareness, learning how to know when you need help and when you are fully capable.
“I know what to do. How will I know that I don’t know what to do? Is it ok not to?”
Presenting your first case to the team, hoping you haven’t missed anything.
“Will they think this is good enough? Will they think I am good enough? Do I think I am?”
Realizing “good enough” isn’t tied to the presentation or even the outcome but comes from your thoughts.
“Good enough is showing up. Good enough is being open to learn. Good enough is up to me.”
Straining to hear those thoughts as the volume of cases, tasks, responsibilities rises. Listening with new awareness extends beyond encounters with patients.
“I am here with me now.”
Realizing that post-graduate training validates the progress and process expected between medical school and practice.
“I am here to learn, not to know all. I will always be learning.”
Deciding how to show up as guide for the medical students – standing where you were only moments before.
“I get to be the teacher I want for me.”
Trusting each day unfolds exactly as it should. Continuing to step forward along the path.
“I get the result I want or the lesson I need.”
Feeling excitement and nervousness alternate with calm and confidence, fear and panic, allowing each to be present, listening for what they are telling you.
“I am doing this. I’ll never do this. I have the support I need. I’m all alone. I’m caring for these patients. These patients are depending on me.”
Gaining through each encounter experience – priceless currency that can never be withdrawn, compounding interest and paying dividends for the rest of your career.
“Practice makes physician.”
May we recognize the power of thoughts and realize our power to choose them, honoring the experience of learning and thinking our way through any situation to create the results of our dreams.