Health Professions Seminar
The human side of medicine: Learning what it’s like to be a patient and what it’s like to be a physician. Laurence A. Savett, M.D. ~320pg. I recommend this book because it teaches how to compassionately interact with patients, highly valuing them as people with stories rather than as cases to be solved.
Gifted Hands. Ben Carson, M.D. ~200pg. I recommend this book because it inspired me to continue after medicine despite my lack of self-confidence in my ability to become a physician. Carson was not the most naturally intelligent person in his classes, but he became the most diligent student, and in med school, a very curious student about neuroscience, both of these qualities lead him to become a ground-breaking physician.
1. Describe your 2 best qualities?
One, I am skilled at getting to know people quickly. I have developed this skill by curiosity to get to know others as well as value them by hearing their story. I frequently try to learn how to do this even better by reflecting on my conversations with people. Usually this involves my journaling out something they shared with me about themself.
Two, I am skilled at confronting others. In my position as resident advisor at Gordon college confronting others about being too noisy, or about a conflict they have with another person on the floor was part of my responsibility. At the end of the semester anonymous comments in my resident advisor evaluation described me as skilled at confrontation.
2. Tell me about your 2 weakest points?
One, sometimes I have difficulty completing administrative tasks on time. Through college my professors met with me and told me that I am intelligent but need to be more diligent in handing things in on time. This is the biggest factor that has brought my grades down. I am working to improve this with a detailed approach to time management and meeting with an academic psychologist to schedule better.
Two, I can get spontaneously distracted from tasks I’m working on, such as a piece of homework writing, or when I’m walking somewhere on a schedule, but then become caught up in a conversation with someone. This is a good and a bad thing. It is bad because I end up late to certain appointments, but it is good because sometimes these spontaneous interactions prove important to support someone or help out in a moment of need.
3. What exposures have you had to the medical profession?
I have been regularly a patient at a family practice throughout my life. Two summers ago, I developed a bump on my forehead. Investigating what it was took trips all summer to various medical practitioners, from X-ray operators, to CAT scan operators, and back to my physician multiple times through that summer. The bump turned out to be a baby tooth sized osteoma – an extra bit of bone on my skull, a benign tumor. A plastic surgeon excised the osteoma and brought my forehead back to an appearance where I consistently felt comfortable putting my hair up. Previously, I occasionally wanted to keep bangs down to cover the bump. That summer I developed more familiarity with the medical profession due to my increased time with medical practitioners and my budding interest in medicine.
Also, I was trained to volunteer as a compassionate care giver at a hospital in a city nearby my home town. I am going to volunteer for this fifty hours over this winter break in the emergency center.
4. How would you describe the relationship between science and medicine? Why does “evidence-based medicine” sometimes cause controversy?
Science, which is physical, can be used to practice better medicine, which is physical and spiritual. Science often has a less human side to it, but it can be focused on humans in order to inform the practice of medicine. I see science as pushing medicine forward to become better.
Evidence-based medicine causes controversy because physicians rely on long used methods they have seen work to prescribe cures, but sometimes these cures might not be supported by primary research. Also, there may be conflicts between physicians as to how to treat a certain symptom. Also, Dr. David N. Mahooti, MD, a Massachusetts family doctor and one of the visiting speakers in my health seminars class at Gordon College, mentioned prescribing treatment that is placebic when patients come in without a substantial problem. He feels that he must give them something in return for their visit.
5. What aspects of working in the health professions do you think would most influence you personally, both in the directions of satisfaction and dissatisfaction?
The aspect of daily working with (really, living with) people who are suffering would influence me in such a way that I am satisfied in knowing that I am doing incredibly necessary work.
The aspect of routine, doing the same processes, and beginning to feel like the work is one patient after another, and never having variety could lead me to dissatisfaction. Laurence A. Savett, M.D. comforts me in The Human Side of Medicine though by saying that gathering the entirely unique stories of every different person leads to interesting, always changing days. Even though the treatment might often be the same, the story will always be different. I want to take this ideal viewpoint. I would miss not having research, figuring out new things, and letting my intense curiosity for how physical systems work discover.