Daily Routine

April 28, 2016

You know, going into third year rotations, you are constantly reminded that

this is the year. This is the year when you start practicing medicine. It’s also the year

you join the ranks of jaded healthcare professionals. Like the other students, I

shrugged it off—this would never be a part of me. The residents I’ve worked with

quickly became my idols. I wanted to interact with patients the way they did,

perform physical exams and obtain histories just as effectively. Sure enough, six

months in, I’ve been embroidering these characteristics into my fabric of



Along the way, I’ve been dismayed by acts of physicians and residents alike.

Often clandestine to their patients, these remarks would receive a nod but never a

smile. Vivid in my mind is an attending recounting the history of a patient about to

enter her office. This patient had a history of crying wolf—admitted for suicidality

countless times at the local hospitals. At the end of her description, my dignitary

remarked, “sometimes it would help us all if she actually did it.” Then the patient

was brought in.


I am now more than halfway through my clerkship year. Earlier this week, I

was making my way to the floor to start pre-rounding on my post-op patients. I

wasn’t running late by any means, but yet walking through the cancer ward with a

strut suggesting I was needed somewhere pressing, just like every day on this

surgery rotation. As I neared the end of the corridor lined with rooms of ailing

patients, I caught the glance of a resident bustling on his way out as well.

His pager beeped its familiar tone, catching his attention and divulging an

obscenity. “Must be post call,” I thought as he turned to slam the actuator for the

automatic doors. “Doctor!” I turned to see a petite Asian patient standing outside her

room, hand reaching out to the resident. I turned back to the resident, and again

caught his glance and again watched him turn around and scurry away—this time

shaking his head. I then started to do the same thing. I made eye contact with the

patient, turned away and focused on the silver plate on the wall. One stride in, I

stopped in my tracks. I realized what I had just done. I turned back to my new

patient, and asked her what I could do for her.


After closing her chart leaving a note asking for a medication refill on

discharge, I continued to my surgery ward. Eager to emulate my next idol.

Yashu Damija is a third year medical student at Northeast Ohio Medical University