As an early physician, I rather naively assumed that this would be the pattern of my career as well. Upon graduating, I would put on my blue tights and red cape and proceed to save lives at the speed of lightning. Little did I know that my education had only begun. School laid the foundation, but personal life events have helped me to be the medical provider that I am today.
Empathy can't be taught...........It must be cultivated. Life's journey, no matter how pristine or harsh, provides a framework for our care provided. We can "relate" better once we've been there before. A patient's exuberant joy from the birth of a child or conquering of a diagnosis becomes my own because I've been there before. I understand the helplessness of a parent awaiting a child's prognosis or utter shock when a love one is lost all too soon.
What drives a person to do what we do? For me it is the opportunity to help others in a time of need and provide medical care and life saving therapy along with empathy and compassion when needed most. A patient or family member may forget the titrated IV drip, analgesia or broad-spectrum antibiotic. What they will never forget is your compassion and empathy in a time of need. Sometimes the "little things” have more power than you will ever realize. My education is only beginning.