What Type of Healing Do We Seek?

“Why are you a history major? Don’t you want to be a doctor?”

This line of questioning is all too familiar. Earlier in my college career, I lacked the confidence to reply the way I actually feel. Truthfully, this question drastically misses the point of why I want to practice medicine.

To me, medicine is a fundamentally human endeavor. The scientific knowledge and training that underlies and advances it is unquestionably essential. Yet, medicine without the desire to understand human needs seems empty to me.

It took me a long time to understand this fundamental principle about myself. I was often left confused in a similar way to the people who asked me about my studies of choice. How could I be a doctor if the coursework that leads to it leaves me struggling and I gravitate towards the humanities?

Practicing Restorative Practices immensely clarified that picture for me. Explicitly focusing on connections to others exposed my underlying motivation for becoming a physician: people.

I now anticipate my career in medicine by thinking of how I can incorporate restorative principles to bridge my desire for interpersonal investment with my career choice. In essence, I want to bring an intentionality towards the healing process. While my job as a physician will necessarily focus on physical ailments, I see a responsibility to pay attention to the needs of a patient as well as others in their lives impacted by their illness or injury.

I often wonder how much better an individual’s health needs could be met with simple questions like, “What do you need?” I imagine that allowing people to be heard would let us know what they need to heal better.

Chris is a junior from Rome, GA. He is a history major and chemistry minor following the pre-health track. He is interested in the ways that the humanities can be included in spaces they are traditionally not addressed, such as medicine. He already uses restorative justice for community building in his organizations, and looks forward to exploring ways it can be introduced into student groups’ policy for addressing harms caused by members.

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