Who do I admire?

During my first EMS clinicals way back in '94/'95, I had the opportunity to work with an ED attending in my hometown who I believe ignited my (until now) slow-burning desire for a career in medicine. He answered my every question in as much excruciating detail as I desired without even a hint of annoyance. He would often go out of his way to grab me whenever he was going to do something he thought I would be interested in seeing (which was everthing, really). In one night, that doc went from looking as though he were bored out of his skull to demonstrating a passion for teaching that few of the ED nurses had seen in a while. I didn’t even know what shadowing was back then, but, in retrospect, that was what I had been doing. I actually got in a bit of trouble because I ended up working about 12 hrs. that night (20:00~08:00) when the EMS Ed. Dept.'s rules limited EMT-B students to something like 4 or 6 hr. blocks. I received a warning letter in my “permanent record”, and a stern talking-to from the director of the program, but it was worth it. I can’t even remember that doctor’s name anymore, but the passion he showed for his work in the ED that night (and it was a VERY busy night for our relatively small community) has stayed with me ever since.

Now, I work relief at an UCC that generally sees much lower acuity patients than I was trained to deal with in an ambulance or ED. However, there is an exceptional doctor that works there who inspires me similarly to that hometown ED doc. Dr. L is a Harvard grad. who speaks at least 5 languages fluently, and who could probably be making a whole lot more money somewhere else. Still, he is one of the most humble and compassionate persons I have met. Somehow, he is fast and efficient, but still manages to make his patients feel like they have been heard. If I could be 10% the doctor that he is, I would still be a better doctor than most with whom I have worked. Dr. C went to medical school in Cuba, and has the left-leaning political views to show for it. He also has a huge heart, and a great sense of humor. He’s another one of those physicians who seems to get fired up by teaching.

My job isn’t anything special, and a couple of the RNs don’t seem to appreciate me very much . The job has allowed me enough access to a population of people who want and need help for me to know, with some certainty, what I want to do. Aspiring to the same goals as the people I admire makes me feel like I can make a real difference in my little corner of the world. That is just enough to make the job tolerable enough for the moment. It is also just intolerable enough to remind me that my ultimate goals lie yet ahead.