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August/September 2013 | EM Resident 9

The darkest year?
recent article in Slate
magazine describes the
transition from preclinical
to clinical medical education as
the “darkest” year of medical
school. It is a year in which the
disorientation of rapidly changing
clinical environments prevents the
formation of lasting relationships,
us we sIuIße Irom cIerksIIp Lo
cIerksIIp; u yeur In wIIcI u ßurry
of emotions goes largely unack-
now ledged; a year in which the
altruistic and empathetic qualities
of medical students are threatened
with destruction.
Many, but not all, medical students
are negatively affected by the
unguided plunge into clinical
medIcIne. Some sLudenLs hnd greuL
longitudinal mentors which helps
with this transition period. Several
schools are also now investigating
LIe benehLs oI InLegruLed,
structured curricular for students
to digest their experiences and
ßourIsI In LIese LrunsILIons.
Finding a mentor
For those of us interested in
emergency medicine, there are a
number of sources available for
hndIng menLorsIIp. ¡I your scIooI
Is uIhIIuLed wILI un emergency
medicine residency program, don’t
Zach Jarou, MSIV
Michigan State University
College of Human Medicine
Lansing, MI
overlook the core academic faculty. Their
considerable experience can help guide
you on your way to the residency program
of your dreams. You may have met these
potential mentors through your emergency
medicine interest group (EMIG) or during
your home emergency medicine rotation.
Even II your scIooI-uIhIIuLed progrum Isn`L
your top pick, don’t be shy in seeking advice
from these folks on how to land the most
competitive position you can.
If you’re looking for a mentor who has
been in your shoes more recently, I’d also
highly recommend applying to EMRA’s
Student-Resident Mentorship Program
( Residents
from all walks of life are completing their
training in top-notch programs across
the country and are eager to share their
knowledge and experiences with you.
Building these types of longitudinal
rela tionships can help provide some
continuity to your otherwise disjointed
medical school experience.
Loving your patients
I have been lucky enough to meet Dr. Patch
Adams twice during my medical school
career. Both times he greeted me with an
enormous hug. For those who aren’t aware
that he is a real person or only know of him
from the popular Robin Williams movie,
there’s a fantastic video of him on YouTube
speaking at the Mayo Clinic that will paint
a much more accurate picture of his world
vIew. ¡or LIose wIo hnd LIe enLIreLy oI
his ideas too radical to implement in the
real world, I hope the one aspect of his
philosophy that we can all embrace is
his thrill of loving people.
Anyone can be taught to take a history,
perform a physical, generate a differential
diagnosis, or formulate a treatment plan,
buL IL Iur more dIIhcuIL Lo Ieurn Iow Lo LruIy be compassionate. It has been very
rewarding to apply my clinical knowledge, but
when I look back over the myriad of patients I
encountered through my third year of medical
school, the most memorable experiences
were those in which I was able to make a
connection with someone during their time
of need. I remember the heartfelt thanks of a
woman whose hand I held as a blur of more
experienced care providers rushed about to
treat her contrast-induced anaphylaxis. I
remember the gratitude of a sleepless mother
wIose cryIng cIIId hnuIIy dozed oII us ¡
massaged his aching ear. Moments like these
are what I will treasure.
The importance of self-reflection
With all that we are forced to endure as
physicians-in-training, some days it
cun be diIñcolt to remember why
we emburked opon on this diIñcolt
journey at all. My challenge to those of you
IurborIng LIese LIougILs Is Lo reßecL upon
your own most meaningful patient encounters
and build a library of these memories
to help fuel you through these periods
of doubt. While cynicism is an expedient
response to our daily challenges and may
appear to be the path of least resistance, this
uLLILude Is noL compuLIbIe wILI u IuIhIIIng
career dedicated to serving others. Take the
time to acknowledge your emotions and
remember what a privilege it is to serve others
during their times of greatest need.
Dr. Hunter Dohertç ¨Pctch¨ Adcms is jcmous
jor his humor cnd compcssioncte cpprocch to
patient care.