What Is it About? Reflections for My Residents
By Hector Michelena, M.D., Minnesota Medicine, November 2010, copyright Minnesota Medical Association. Reprinted by permission.
It is not about what you want in life,
It is about how much you want it
It is not about great potential,
Potential means you have done nothing yet
It is not about where you train,
It is about your desire to become exceptional
It is not about your specialty,
There are no second-rate specialties,
But beware: There are many second-rate specialists
It is not about the institution where you work
It is about the talents you bring to that institution,
You are not defined by the reputation of your institution,
You are defined by the beauty of what you do and the grace with which you do it.
It is not about attentiveness,
It is about developing a subclinical obsessive-compulsive disorder, where no mistakes are tolerated
It is not about memorizing the algorithm,
It is about understanding disease and human nature
It is not about pity,
It is about truthful concern and responsible compassion
It is not about always having the last word,
It is about always having a kind word.
It is not about taking,
It is about giving back
It is not about winning a day’s battle,
It is about enduring the lengthy war with resilience and a gentle heart
It is not about battling people or the system,
The battle is within: against lassitude and effortlessness
It is not about comfort,
Once pain ceases, learning ceases as well
It is not about recognition, money, or social standing,
It is about living honestly and with decency,
It is about keeping your essence pure, uncorrupted
It is not about you,
It is about your patients and the sacred institution of medicine.
Hector Michelena is a staff cardiologist at Mayo Clinic and an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.