Friday, August 10, 2007


Medical school is slowly draining me of patience. This concerns me as I believe that patience is a quality required of all physicians wishing to provide compassionate care. provides the following definitions (showing only the first three) for this virtue:
  1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
Pre-medical school, I was an extremely patient person. For instance, my job prior to medical school sometimes required me to go to the post office to mail documents to clients. DC postal workers move at a glacial pace, and there can only be one -- two at the most -- postal workers at the counter at any given time, no matter how long the line of customers. I did not mind. I would bring my iPod and listen to music until it was my turn to be served. It was a nice break, to be honest. Even on weekends, when I would buy stamps or send packages to friends and family, I did not mind the wait.

Today, I would never set foot inside the post office. Standing in line is no longer something I can do without becoming irritated. Instead I do everything online: buy stamps, ship packages, etc.

I am still a patient person. If you could ask some of my friends, they would tell you that I am probably one of the most composed people they know. However, as I look back at some of my previous posts (specifically,
Backpacks and "Question!") and reflect on my reactions to a couple of poor lecturers these past couple of weeks, it is clear to me that I am no longer as "willing to suppress restlessness or annoyance."

Time Lack of time is a major factor in this slow erosion. I constantly feel like I don't have time for anything but studying. I need to study to perform well, and I need to do well to have options when it comes time to choose a residency. Therefore, anything that is seen as taking time away from studying had better be important. Of course, friends, family, and eating always make the cut.

Becoming a good, competent physician is very important to me. I know for sure that it will require a lot of patience if I am to remain calm, cool, and collected through this education process and beyond. Finding myself an irritable person at the end of this journey would be a huge disappointment.


Anonymous said...

Dear DC Med Student,
I've always enjoyed homonyms and your blog has them -- patience and patients. As you continue your career journey in medical school you will encounter the need for both: the first you bring to the table; the second will be brought by others. Keep your eye on the prize here my friend. Oh, and by the way, remember, the person most in deserve of your patience is yourself -- be kinder and gentler on yourself in this regard, Hang in there kiddo. A friend from Takoma Park.

DC Med Student said...

Thanks, SC.