Select Page

“What’s on your mind today?”

A knock is heard from outside the room. Dr. M enters the room smiling and introducing himself. Z rises up in greeting and as he does so, “have a seat”.

Within these brief moments, I am scribbling down comments. It seems strange to think that so much thought can go into planning these daily patient encounters. From opening the interview, to conducting the interview, responding the patient, educating and collaborating with the patient, and closing the interview, even statement is carefully scrutinized to optimize the patient experience and history. Only by learning a little do I truly realize the extent of how much I still do not know.

The patient animatedly explains his medical history, which reads much like a story or dramatic performance. He is able to recount detailed observations such as the weather the day he felt ill, what he was thinking as he was entering the emergency room, and the small pint of chicken noodle soup and bagel he ate for breakfast. As a student, I observe with awe the dexterity at which the faculty physician navigates the conversation. Before the patient comes into the room, we wonder if it will be a standard patient (a medical actor), but the patient tells his story with such vivid detail, I know it must be real. It is very different looking at the patient from a doctor’s point of view rather than a patient’s view. I want to never forget the feeling of either.

I always find it interesting relating my morning science curriculum with my doctoring courses, which focus on developing clinical and interpersonal skills. Each alone seems to be sufficiently complex such that it almost feels like I could spend a lifetime studying basic science or clinical skills alone. Yet by combining the two, it is in some ways what makes medicine so unique among professions. Medicine is a scientific art that combines cool logic with impassioned humanism.

When I look back at my day, I feel appreciation with how full it is. It is easy to forget that my life outside of medical school occurs. During the week, I hope to work hard such that I can do all the other important things in my life on weekends.

“What’s on your mind today?” Dr. M asks the patient as he begins his medical history taking. This statement seems simple enough, but opens a flood of comments from this particular patient. Perhaps the main point of this statement is that listening is one of the most important skills one can develop.

The Beginning of a Very Special Journey

It feels like just yesterday we were white coated, but I, along with another 169 M1s, have completed one week of M1 Launch (more traditionally called “orientation”). Within this past week during the launch, I have experienced a plethora of emotions, ranging from anxious, touched, humbled, inspired, nervous, challenged, welcomed, and curious.

On the first day of the M1 Launch, we became acquainted with our M-Homes, with whom we went on scavenger hunts all over Ann Arbor. It was a lot of fun; people came up with some pretty creative poses and locations.

The Block “M” on the Diag has new meaning

Doctoring group bonding: Exercising on campus

We then traveled to Cornman Farms in Dexter for Zingerman’s ZingTrain leadership training. Not only did we eat delicious food, but we bonded with our doctoring groups through teambuilding events and activities. We also heard a panel of patients and their families discussing their experiences with the healthcare system. As I listened to the panel and participated in discussions, I couldn’t help but to be humbled by the personal strength of the patients and their families. It also highlighted the need for compassionate care and that here at UMMS we aim to not only be doctors, but to be the very best. I think it is experiences like these that remind me of both the type of physician I would like to be and why being part of patients’ lives is such a privilege.

Outside of the launch, I have been impressed with how welcoming everyone has been. Several M1s have already hosted the class at their homes and social events are continuously posted on our class Facebook page. Despite our sizable class (170), our class has managed to bond!

Saturday morning, originally only a few of us went to the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market in Kerrytown. But as we meandered through the market (which has been a pretty cool selection of both flowers and produce), we ran into several of our classmates completely unplanned! Afterwards, we visited Teahaus and snacked on delicious macaroons and tea. There, we met a few other med students, again, coincidentally.

Alongside with many social events going on, we drove out to the Dexter Blueberry Farm and picked only a tiny amount of blueberries though not from a lack of trying. It gave us a newfound appreciation for the blueberries sold at grocery.

If this week has been anything like the upcoming four years, then I am in for an amazing ride. I can’t imagine being in a better place or with any better people.