One afternoon in clinic, I held a sick man’s hand and told him, “Sir, I do not know about anything else, but here, you can rest your voice and weariness. I took an oath and it commands that your life matters.” And in that intervention, both of us sensed peace after a long time.
in medical terminology: a state of awareness
Many of us young physicians in our formative years of training share an identity crisis — after years of hard work, we finally feel truly able and we are looking to serve a greater good, but we are suddenly expected to be super-human behind a white-coat/cape. Arguably more so than policymakers, we tend to keenly understand the communication gaps and cultural differences that lead to poor health outcomes for some populations over others. But simply understanding this without knowing what to do about it is contributing to our collective burnout.
The only way to turn a positive light to this struggle is to start reflecting on it, discussing it, understanding it, and maintaining awareness of these topics. We have created this column for that very purpose — with hope to help each other, and with some distant dreams of where else this could go.
All physicians are taught to communicate with a fundamental language of healing and justice. This column is a collection of reflections on how I learned this fundamental language and an homage to the teachers who taught me.