Becoming a doctor
Medical training cannot be equated with merely studying for a degree. It encompasses much more, challenging one's values, self perception and perspective on life itself. During five years at medical school, the individual irreversibly alters to become “a medic”, not just “a student of medicine”, no matter how much detachment from the course and its associated lifestyle the individual has endeavoured to preserve. In the following article, we intend to explore the different stages of training and discuss how each shapes the student. “Becoming a medic” intellectually, emotionally and spiritually is the inevitable consequence of spending five years at medical school, and the assumption of this role is indeed crucial to survival in medical practice. The importance of bringing our own individual qualities to the profession must, however, not be overlooked. Personal flair and abilities should be nurtured, not suppressed during medical school. A diversity of interests serves both to ease the pressures laid upon us at medical school, and to broaden our characters and deepen our understanding of humanity. Medical students, while necessarily adapting to the role of a doctor, should emerge from their training not as narrow “medics” but as enthusiastic, compassionate people equipped to treat patients to the best of their ability.
Sarah Elise Finlay and Monica Fawzey are medical students at The University of Bristol.