Medical training and practice exposes us simultaneously to the beauty and tragedy of life. As a resident, you are thrown into a strange world in which death will often sit as an unwanted companion in the room with you and your patient.
The hospital is a stage and rounding is the show. It’s a daily performance, a dance of sorts, that takes place each morning on the floors. The performers congregate outside a patient room.
A page, an email, a text will request that you report to the program director’s office to have a conversation about a complaint against you. You are terrified, offended, maybe irritated. As you leave rounds to walk to the office, your adrenaline pumps.
Neurology resident physician Nita Chen, MD journals through her first year of residency in her graphic medicine column, Pocket Doodles: My First Year as a Physician.
He pulled his chair up to the desk and flipped open his laptop. The young doctor, with thirteen years of pre-collegiate preparatory schooling, four years of college work, and a final four additional years of relevant medical education underneath his belt, attempted to yawn away exhaustion and scrolled through the patient list for the day.
One evening, overwhelmed by burnout, I drafted a letter of resignation to my program director and saved it on my computer. The next morning, I deleted the email without sending it.
I dance with hula hoops as a form of self-expression and catharsis. I have been practicing this art form for over four years now, and it always amazes me how much more there is to learn.
At the beginning of my intern year, I bought a ukulele. I started intern year at a sprint, like anyone does, arms full of hope. This was quickly extinguished, lost in an atmosphere so devoid of hope that it all flew out of my arms to settle into places so far apart, it might as well have been floating in the vacuum of space.
Early in intern year, I reached out to residents in other departments who were part of my patients’ care in the hospital. In an effort to redirect my thought patterns, I asked them how and what drives their interaction styles and their medical decisions.
On Match Day, you are assigned to a new family for the next three to seven years. This will be the city where you might buy your first home, the city where you may meet the people who will speak at your wedding. An algorithm shuffles you into your assigned place in a new family tree.
Just as we have landmarks events that shape us in the adolescence of our personal lives, physicians also have landmark events that shape them in the adolescence of medical training — residency.
A graphic medicine comic on wellness and lessons learned in the first year of family medicine residency.