I don’t really have a specific moment or story that made me want to become a doctor. My interest in medicine was one that developed gradually over the last few years. In the summer of my junior year in high school, I shadowed at a prosthetics and orthotics clinic for four weeks. I was matched with the position through the Career and Technical Education program at my high school. My experience that summer engaged my interest in medicine, and I have been exploring it ever since. Over the last three years, shadowing, conversation with physicians, and much reflection has steadily drawn me to a career as a physician.
In terms of a specialty, I have no idea what kind of doctor I’d like to be. In more general terms, I’d like to be the kind of doctor that treats the patient and not just the disease. I would like to be the doctor that makes a patient feel heard and cared for and not just feeling better. The section from the Marty Evans’ piece that stood out to me the most was his section on literature. Literature, especially analyzing it, has never been my strong suit. In elementary and middle school, I loved math and science because the answers were black and white. They were either right or wrong. With literature, I didn’t understand how one answer could be just as valid as another. I didn’t like how everyone was expected to come up with different answers than their classmates. Yet I think that this is the complexity that makes literature relevant to medicine.
The literature perspective presents the patient as the character and author of their own story. Thus, the doctor plays the role of the reader. During our class discussion, Jose asked what the job of the reader was. I was thinking that their job would be to understand the patient’s story as best they could, but one of my peers responded with the word “interpret.” As the reader, part of the doctor’s job would be to interpret the patient’s story. This made me consider the difference between interpreting and understanding. Can the doctor ever fully and objectively understand a patient without imposing their own interpretation on the story? I don’t think so. Every reader interprets the same story differently and subjectively. Everyone sees a story through their own perspectives, biases, and experiences. If the patient is considered as a character, then the same must be true for medicine. I believe that who we are as doctors will impact who we believe our patients are and how we care for them.