Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Need to Become ‘Super human' Physicians

Yesterday, as I was running, an interesting thought crossed my mind. All super hero/villain powers are simply impossible exaggerations of normal human abilities. With regards to physical strength or physical abilities, humans are limited by the restrictions placed by their physiology. These restrictions cannot be overcome since we evolved in world, which shaped how much we can accomplish. Our perceptions, proprioception and outward reactions are limited by the laws of biology and physics. But, if exaggeration of any human ability to multiple standard deviations {SD} above the mean could make one a super human, then focusing on non-physical aspects of our beings makes it possible for one to become one.

The desire of knowledge, like the thirst for riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it. - Laurence Sterne (1713-1768)
 As a physician, we are uniquely placed in a position to make a difference to our patients directly and indirectly. Our actions, reactions and consequences of our actions affect the care and suffering of the ailing patient. There are some attributes that we inherit and other we develop as we mature through a life of constant training. These non-physical aspects must be expanded and amplified to rise above the mean, median and modes of our society. Patience, perseverance, resilience, compassion are some examples of abilities that we should attempt to strengthen. One may ask, how does this relate to a residency applicant or a medical student or even a practicing physician? Practicing to improve on attributes like patience, compassion etc do not just make you a good human and an excellent physician, they also help you buffer the adversities in life. Just as the famous quote “chance favors the prepared mind”, inculcating these qualities in preps one for facing misfortune. Given the unfeasible odds stacked against a student wanting to get into medical school, then into residency, followed by fellowship or a satisfying career, having a positive outlook on life helps you to get through unscathed.

There are many applicants who are applying for a residency, second or third time around. Some are new to this process and have had their hopes dispirited because they have not been invited to any interviews. To all those people, I recommend to expeditiously find a way to deal with the negative and shore up on qualities to help them get through successfully.

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