This is very common question that I would get ask upon meeting new people, to which I would reply jokingly, “a good one of course!”
Kidding aside, I never fully understood the qualities that make up a “great physician” until the Telluride Patient Safety roundtable.
When I first entered medical school I thought that I knew what qualities made up a great physician. Some of the most important ones that I wanted to emulate were being compassionate, dedicated, hard-working, and a leader in my community. However, as first, second, and third year of medical school passed me by, my focus was geared towards getting top grades, doing as many USMLE questions to do well on the boards, and showing up early and staying late to impresses my residents and attendings so that I would get awesome clinical evaluations. Most of it, I am ashamed to admit it, was for a selfish reason, to be as competitive as possible for residency. I definitely had visors on.
The past two days of the Patient Safety Roundtable conference not only have re-framed why I truly entered medical school; to make a difference in my patient’s lives to the best of my capabilities, but it has also taught me what a great physician should be like.
He or she should be compassionate and take the time to communicate in an open, honest, and sincere fashion with patients and fellow healthcare workers.
He or she should be dedicated to always speak up in the interest of patient no matter how difficult it may be, to disclose errors when it is the difficult decision to make, and to make the right choice the easy choice.
He or she should be leaders in creating a collegiate patient center team that has the same goal in mind, the well-being of the patient.
Finally, He or she should always remind themselves that no matter how much we strive to perfect our clinical skills, to err is human. I want to try to remind myself of this as often as possible so that I do not become my own worst enemy and harm my patient in the process.
Thanks for helping me re-frame why I entered medical school, for my fellow patient, not for myself.
I hope to take these lessons through the remainder of my fourth year, through my residency training, and as a future physician. I hope to pass on that knowledge to others in all available outlets. I hope to become a great clinician.