The other day I was speaking to a resident in Son Espases hospital after a clinical session on Haematology.
The topic was complex, something to do with BMI in Lymphoma. If you thought, like me, that BMI stands for Body Mass Index then you are wrong because in this context it stands for Bone Marrow Involvement ( or inflitration), but that is another story; medical acronyms and specialities!
She was impressed that I had been able to follow the topic, for the topic is difficult for residents of haematology, and they have studied 6 years of medicine and another one, two, three or four years of specialist training depending on their year. Obviously I had found the topic extremely difficult but very interesting. Our short conversation went something like this:
Resident: ” It is incredible that you can keep up”
Me:” I do my best because it is very interesting”
R: ” You are very lucky because you have a great job, you learn a lot but you cannot kill anybody”
And I nodded in agreement because her comment had hit a nerve somewhere, and really brought home to me how privileged I am to be able to work in the field of medicine, in many different areas, with many different doctors and health professionals, and learn a little bit from all of them. Some of their knowledge can rub of on me!
When I start a new course on Medical English I always begin with the words – ” This is a two-way course: you learn from me and I learn from you”, and it has always been thus. Learning is at the core to everything, learning is the stimulator, the true motivational factor.
I remember an oncologist telling me that they were in a privileged position, because they saw people often at the end of their lives, and I thought that it was strange. But then I began to realise that what this meant was to be involved in somebody else’s story, to be an important part of soembody else’s life experience. This is what is important and this is a true privilege.
Sometimes, I believe that I am privileged but obviously in a different way. I am lucky because I am working within a field where people’s lives are continuously being touched, and am continuously learning from them and about this. This is a motivation; a continuous motiviation. A senior doctor many years ago told me that everyday he got up and look for things to motivate him to continue to give everything to his job. I thought that that was a great example. You must look for those moments, and for those learning experiences.
I sent the resident an e-mail telling her how much those words had meant, and she responded by saying
” Let’s hope that we continue to enjoy both our jobs”.
Let’s hope so and, as she so rightly says “at least I cannot kill anybody.”