I’m still having those doubts, though. I can’t get rid of the thought that I can do something else, something that I’m sure I’ll enjoy. How can one come into terms with these doubts? And furthermore, what inspires you? :D
I wanted to turn this question into a post, just because I think it’s a really important question—I hope you don’t mind!
When I started my clinical placement, I was suddenly surrounded by all these doctors that knew everything and seemed to do so effortlessly. The consultants knew every intricacy of the human body, both with regards to and outside of their specialty. The surgeons could multi-task: cut, stitch, teach and be friendly all at once. The interns could make time for needy, insecure med students like myself, have time to compose case presentations, sustain their own mental health and their relationships, and win the respect of the registrars.
I couldn’t see myself ever being a doctor, and I think that’s what creates the most amount of doubt for med students.
I can’t see myself prescribing medications and doing admissions for new patients after I graduate (which, admittedly, is coming closer and closer every day). I can’t see myself being able to skillfully detect heart murmurs and remembering every systems review there ever was. And of course, this self-doubt is compounded by the fact that every single med student around us apparently knows everything. They somehow fit in time to study, socialise, eat, and they keep their lives under control while we convince ourselves that we’re the only ones struggling and the only ones who consider giving up.
Here’s the secret: all pre-med students, all med students, and I’d go so far as to say most junior doctors feel this way. Very few people can see themselves as a doctor, but most can see themselves doing anything else—at the end of the day, it comes down to what you want to do. No, I can’t see myself as a doctor or as a surgeon, but I know this is what I want. The human body fascinates me. Patient interactions, though sometimes tricky, have been some of the most rewarding conversations that I will ever have. I’ve been lucky enough in my journeys in hospital to meet the most inspirational doctors and nurses and seen traits that I hope to some day emulate.
So, in summary, there are two ways to come to terms with your doubts: don’t expect to transform into a doctor straightaway, because it’s okay to feel doubtful and unsure, and don’t let medicine be your everything—if there’s something else in life you enjoy doing, never give that up. I love writing and the arts, and I make sure to find some time during the week to dedicate to that. Honestly, a break from medicine occasionally makes medicine more enjoyable.
As for inspiration, books, museums, people and music. I could spend days lost in museums. Or on Broadway. If anyone is willing to fly me to New York, I’d really appreciate it. (: