Before I started third year clinical rotations, I was eager to start seeing patients but I was also a little anxious. I was anxious because it is well known that physicians will ask medical students questions regarding a patient’s disorder and its etiology, symptoms, and management. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to answer all of these questions correctly on the spot.
Being in the hospital has been amazing. I can honestly say that this is my true calling. Even though I have to wake up every morning earlier than usual, I am eager to see patients, learn from the attending physicians and nurses, and try to help the patient in whatever way I can. I meet the most interesting people, both young and old.
All the patients have been very cooperative in regards to the awkwardness of having to use a large wheelchair. The elderly folks smile and tell me to keep pursuing my goals while the children love to play with my wheelchair.
It happens pretty often that a physician or nurse will tell me, “Watch out for that one,” or, “This patient is crazy,” before I go into a patient’s room to interview and examine them. I can confidently say that I have never seen what they’re talking about. Sure, I’ve had some unusual patients, but they have all been very kind and cooperative with me.
One attending physician told the nurses that I’m “the patient whisperer” because no matter how “crazy” or “out there” the medical staff says a patient is, they are completely normal around me and tell me things. Being called “the patient whisperer” may not seem like an accomplishment to some, but for me, it is. I love connecting with people.
Another attending physician was telling other medical students about an unusual patient we saw and added, “She said she was going to leave but Hammad talked her out of it. Hammad disarmed her... with his charm.” I loved hearing that.
As I said above, my main concern was being able to answer the random questions asked by the attending physicians. Whenever I am questioned, I freeze up. I usually answer slowly as if I’m unsure of myself. Surprisingly, however, I am correct most of the times.
I guess these past few years have made me unsure of myself. I thought I had gotten over being unsure, and I have for the most part, but I think being expected to instantly give an answer for something I haven’t studied in months or years makes me a little nervous.
During an evaluation, my attending physician seemed to pick up on these things. The physician told me, “I’ve noticed that you don’t try to prove yourself. But in doing so, you prove yourself,” thus acknowledging the fact that I’m not a gunner and always trying to show off. I’m not self-conscious about the wheelchair anymore, of course, but I seem to still be self-conscious about my current knowledge base even though it seems to be adequate.
There is a time to be confident and a time to be modest.
I just want what is best for my future patients. I know I need to start answering more confidently, but I will still question myself and make sure I look at other possibilities before being overzealous and jumping to conclusions.
I don’t need to impress anyone; I just want to be the best that I can be. As I stated here, that is all we can ask of ourselves.