The words by now flow off my tongue. “I’m Sarab, the fourth year medical student” comes off in a rhythmic flow without a second thought. My position is comfortable, even simple. I am expected to be there, participate to some degree and occasionally know the right answer- I am after all, a medical student. So, I zone out during rounds, disappear for hours at a time and do my own thing- it’s not like anyone is depending on me. Gotta love play time.
I’ve been playing doctor for quite awhile. The thrill of wearing a white coat has subsided as the white coat has become progressively less white. I’ve been seeing patients, examining them, making plans and presenting for almost two years now and it’s all second nature. I look, think, plan and suggest. Other people watch over it and agree. The scary part is that in 70 days I’ll graduate medical school, and I won’t be able to play at being a doctor anymore. In 126 days, I’ll be a resident in Emergency Medicine.
The complacency and comfort of my current position only adds fear to the change that is to come. In a few short months, I’ll be putting an MD after my name. In a few short months, I won’t be the ignorant medical student- I’ll be the ignorant physician.
My future (hopefully) program chair said it best- the only person who should call you doctor after you graduate medical school is your mother. You learn the basics of medicine in medical school. You learn to practice it in residency. For the first few months of your residency, you’re watched like a hawk as like a newborn foal you start to find your feet, wobbling and falling a few times. You’re watched for your safety and your sanity- the sudden onslaught of responsibility and consequence to your actions can be terrifying. More importantly, you’re watched for the safety of your patients. I’ve been told that until your second year of an EM residency, you’re not really a doctor. I guess my playing days aren’t done yet.