David Alex Stroh, BS
Requests for Single Reprints: David Alex Stroh, BS, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1620 McElderry Street, Baltimore, MD 21205; e-mail, DAStroh@gmail.com.
Stroh DA. Just Playing Doctor. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:421-422. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-150-6-200903170-00014
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(6):421-422.
The first thing I learned from the county hospital: Put on any color coat, and folks will call you “doc.” Every time they said it, I breathed a quick reminder that I wasn't a doctor, as of yet. Still it felt like a game—putting on my cloak of illusion and temporarily stepping into a different world. But, like many others, I was experiencing things that would be important in either helping me to actually get there or sending me running in the other direction. Both receiving and giving training, after all, is a big part of being a doctor. If you ever thought that career shadowing was a worthless exercise in babysitting, I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. I am a blank canvas, a dry sponge, the timeless tabula rasa. Paint me a picture, let me soak up your wisdom, and I'l understand. My perspective is a unique one: I'm not a doctor, but I'e worked under quite a few of them, and they speak openly with me. How many nonphysicians get unguarded insight into medicine? Yet, with each iteration, I got the same question: Why do you want to go into medicine? It used to hit like a cruel joke half of the time when I sensed that what they meant was: “Why would you?” The question doesn't bother me now—after dozens of such encounters I'e settled on an acceptable answer. But into the stunned silence of earlier trials, my hosts would often impart their responses. Concerned physicians stepped in to ask the incoming generations what we were thinking. Is there a reason to it all, or are we just playing doctor?
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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