ODE to the Future MD – Welcome to the Profession!
I remember precisely the moment I found out I was accepted into medical school. It was my second and last attempt at applying. I had just completed my BSc and, as I was not inclined to do research, I applied to medical school one last time. I was already accepted to teacher’s college as a back-up. My ‘real’ summer job was to start in June for a government department so in May, I was working for a few weeks at a downtown ‘greasy spoon’ as a cashier. Anything to make a bit more money to get me through school. The phone rang in the kitchen (a rotary phone-the only phone in the restaurant- this was before the days of the cell phone!) and the cook was very annoyed that it was for me, the brand new cashier. I had to leave my post to be passed the receiver. My mom on the other end said, “It is from the university -do you want me to open it?” I froze. Yes, I said, barely able to get the words out. She read it out loud: We are pleased to inform you….I screamed and jumped up and down for joy. The restaurant staff thought I was crazy. My boss could not care less, and told me to get back to work to serve the customers. Although my life did not change at that precise moment I did not really appreciate until later that this would be the most transformative moment in my professional life. As I do, I know that many of you remember the details of your admission moment like it was yesterday.
For those of you who lived that moment this year, congratulations and welcome to the profession. You will likely still be dazed by your transition with the often sleepless state caused by a recent move and the Orientation Week as well as actually starting classes. You may also have friends who are frantically getting their applications together and seeking your advice. To help answer these questions, the AFMC is proud to present a new tool for anyone who is thinking of a career in medicine: Future MD Canada is a fountain of information on everything you may want to know about studying medicine or entering a residency in Canada. Take a look at www.afmc.ca/faq.
This year, I had the privilege of attending the Hippocratic Oath Ceremony for Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine Meds 2019 which occurred on the Sunday before the first day of school in August. The excitement in the auditorium was palpable, and that was even before the students arrived! The families were so proud. Dean Anderson reminded the new students that they are now vowing, by taking the Oath, to consider the needs of their patients, and of society, before their own. Many of you will have a ‘White Coat Ceremony’ at your school. This will also serve to remind you of your several roles as a physician: a medical expert, a professional, a communicator, a collaborator, an advocate, a scholar, a leader and person. You will need to grow in all of these roles to become a competent physician. Also, you will need to determine how you will be accountable to society. Last week I facilitated a forum at uOttawa that challenged students on day five of medical school to also start thinking about how they will not only provide care to the patients in their practice but also to consider how they will engage to improve the health and health care in their community as well as the health systems in Canada and beyond.
During my interactions with my new future physician colleagues I was filled with inspiration. The young women and men from a variety of backgrounds I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with are very bright, ask excellent questions and are engaged. I know that these future leaders of our health and health system will ensure that we are all in good hands.