Protocol Snow

All the world’s a stage

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I spent the better part of yesterday shadowing a pediatric nephrologist (doctor of the kidney). It was interesting, but throughout the day I tried unsuccessfully to shake off an unsettling feeling. About two years ago, I was in a shadowing program where I followed around a bunch of doctors with an assortment of specialties to get a taste of what their jobs entailed. The goal was to observe the patient-physician relationship at work, and the experience was a reason (among many) why I was excited to apply for medical school.

You don’t actually do much when you’re shadowing; you just stand there and watch what’s going on, and the doctor discusses the case with you afterwards. But I was struck by how virtually identical that college experience was compared to yesterday. Back then I was an engineering major, months away from applying to med school. I am now a medical student and wear all the gear that identifies me as such: white coat with tie, medical center ID badge, stethoscope draped around my neck. Yet I didn’t feel any more doctor-y yesterday than I did two years ago.

In fact, I had an awkward sensation that I was an actor wearing a doctor costume. Perhaps doing some research for an upcoming audition by walking around the hospital and observing doctors in their natural habitat so that I can imitate them appropriately later. It was pretty unnerving. In two years I’ll be entering the clinics and will have the M.D. degree in four years. I still have a LOT of training ahead of me that will hopefully adequately prepare me for the real world. Because, christ, if I don’t feel like a real doctor after four years…

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Written by Protocol Snow

October 18th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Posted in School