I know it's been a long time. I also recognize that what little I've posted in the past few months has not been, shall we say, 'deep.' My posts have reflected the amount of time I've really had to contemplate what rounding out med school means to me, which is to say: I have had very little time to reflect what it means to be in my final year of medical school and that is slightly terrifying.
I often comment to Jess, or she comments to me, that I should 'write about that.' Thankfully, I have continued to have amazing experiences in the big wide world of medicine--despite what my writing hiatus may suggest. I have continued to be amazed and humbled and curious about the field I have chosen. In the months of my absence, I have done a month in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, a month in the Intensive Care Unit, and now a month known fondly as a 'Sub-I', which is to say, another month in Internal Medicine. Prior to all this work, I was prepping for and taking Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam
It's been a whirlwind. And it's been a tough whirlwind. I hope to be able to write about some of the things that happened over the past few months, but that's not always a realistic hope. I have discovered that if I don't come RIGHT home and write the ENTIRE post, it just doesn't get done. (Proof positive: I have about ten 'drafts' sitting on the website right now that are the beginnings of some pretty great stories. Too bad I didn't have the oomph to finish them when I started them.) So today, I'll write about something I've been thinking about lately. Something positive and wonderful.
In health care, especially health care education, you have to work in teams. Constantly. There are at least five or six different professions working on each patient (at the least: an attending, an intern, a nurse, a tech, +/- social worker, +/- med student, +/- case manager, +/- various consulting physicians). I won't touch (today, at least) how confusing this can be for the patient. Instead, I want to talk about the importance of a great team.
A great team is generally a team with a sense of humor about itself. A great team is made of people with good attitudes and minimal arrogance. This month, I have a great team. For a med student, this also means that the vibe is low pressure and there are a lof of opportunities to learn. I am incredibly greatful that I have a solid team, it's more rare than I care to relate.
What I noticed yesterday, though, after a full week of being on my team, was that I am the sole white girl. There is also just one white dude. This isn't striking, really. In fact, I am often the minority on a team if I stop and think about it. But that's the thing, I rarely stop and think about it. When you work in medicine, you are constantly immersed in a melting pot (and yes, I mean melting pot, not a tossed salad as America is often described). For whatever reason, medicine attracts a truly ethnically and racially diverse group of people. There are, of course, notable absences: I've only rarely worked with Latino or Chicano folks, and there is almost always an absence of socioeconomic diversity. However, culturally, medicine is a pretty freaking happy rainbow love fest. And despite the fact that most people who go in to medicine aren't particularly psyched about diversity, it generally works out.
Even better, the diversity of medicine doesn't go un-editoralized. We talk about it quite frequently. We talk about it seriously, and we also joke about it. These conversations, serious and not, have done more to further my understanding of group function and acceptance than any of the classes I took on race and ethnicity (of which there were many). I can credit James Madison with my academic understanding and valuing of diversity, but I can credit medicine with being able to feel truly comfortable in a room where I am (technically) a minority.
Yesterday, we were talking about the cultural differences between different nationalities in the middle east. We have three folks on our team from various countries in the middle east. All of whom look and act quite differently. This is, of course, because they are different humans, but they were talking about some of the things that set their ethnicities apart. While none of the three of them are Persian (Iranian), my senior resident showed us this hilarious Maz Jobrani clip. You must watch.
Just really happy. More later. Maybe.