Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To be a better doctor

I am so close to the end, I think I can taste it. 7 years of training since medical school. I have a contract from one place and will have another in the next week or so.  Then it is decision time.  I get to choose for once.  Not a computer.

(If you don't know the system that tells medical students and fellows where they go for training, it is a computer program.  Trainees rank where they want to go, and institutions rank who they want.  Then some program tries to create the best match.  And you get an email telling you were you go. And then there are the years that the program malfunctions - like my final year of medical school.  Urology has an earlier match, and the program messed up.  The match had to be redone.  Talk about devastating a lot of people - they think they got their 1st choice and then they didn't.)

So yes, I get a loud say in where we go.  We haven't decided yet.  But I can tell you it will not be where I am currently.

Every time a medical person nears the end of a training period, there is usually a freak out period.  You realize how under prepared you are to take the next step.  But you are not really under prepared.  Again it has been 7 years in my case.  But now all those decisions are finitely mine (well not really all).  A bit overwhelming.

And here is where you all help me.  I have had a long standing goal of asking families that were in the NICU, what can we do better.  Yes there are surveys and this and that with information that tells us how we can be better.  But I mean, how can I be better a doctor.  Better than what you have experienced.  Better at informing you of what is going on.  Better at telling you bad things.  Better at telling you good things.  Better at preparing you for life beyond the NICU.  I may have never taken care of your baby, or maybe I have.  Maybe there are things that other doctors did great.  Maybe there are things that other doctors didn't do so great.

We do this all for you and your family.  And in the end, I want to know that I gave it my all.  That I listened when needed.  That I spoke when needed.  That I cried when needed.  That I pushed on chests, placed lines/ needles/ tubes when needed.  That I recommended dangerous surgeries/procedures when needed.  And the rare times when the only thing I had to offer was for you to hold your child during the last breaths of life.

So please help me.  Tell me what makes a great doctor in your mind.  I would love for you to post directly on this blog so I can keep them all in one place (instead of FB).  I have made it so all comments have to be reviewed by me before being posted so that you can be honest and real.  Tell me if you want the comment published or not.  Either way, I still get to see your thoughts (you can leave them anonymously).

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