One fine day when I had not much to do and think about, I went back into my memory lanes (age regression) and thought of all the events in my life from the childhood that made me who I am today personally and professionally. It has been a long and fun journey. I remember I scored 100% in my final exam in 2nd grade. Nobody in the school or the town ever had such kind of excellence. My parents were very proud that day.
Over the years, I continued studying hard to make sure I keep my parents happy as I had seen that day. I was never able to get 100%, but did excel in each class.
It was the second great moment in my life when I got admission in the medical school, as the competition to get in is really challenging. I continued to have the same philosophy to excel even in the medical school and tried my best to grab the aspect of medicine in every way I could.
A career that affects peoples’ lives, allows one to act as a catalyst for positive change in them and learn about the marvels of the human body, is rare. Medicine is a field that encompasses medicine, community service, and the ability to change people in a positive way, thus, giving both professional and personal satisfaction. The other beauty of medicine lies in the commitment to lifelong learning. A physician who is 20 years out of medical school is still expected to be familiar with the latest medical developments. It is essential to assimilate up-to-date scientific information and medical knowledge to come up with a single diagnosis. These characteristics of the field make it the only career choice for me.
Physicians not only make diagnoses, but also manage diseases in the long-term, while also attempting to instill health practices in their patients to prevent or delay bad outcomes. In fact, physicians are intimately involved with the most prevalent and preventive diseases these days, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and AIDS/HIV. As a result, they have to consistently follow the medical literature for up-to-date recommendations and management practices. Evidence based medicine, whether for diagnosis, long-term management, or prevention, is mentally fulfilling for me not only because of my interest in medicine itself, but also because of my commitment to lifelong learning.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the human body in medical school lectures, but what I appreciated the most were my rotations in the hospital which allowed direct contact with the patient. The teachers did a tremendous job of explaining the pathophysiology behind every medical case and helped me expand both my fund of knowledge and clinical skills. But teachers during the internal medicine rotation also made me aware of the face behind the science, the patient. I realized that the responsibility for long-term medical care was only possible through trust and a solid physician-patient relationship. Internal medicine strengthens this trust as patients bare their heart to their internist and the internist regards the dignity, feelings, tenderness and the privacy of their sentiments and body parts.
My internal medicine rotation also made me aware that medicine is a constant social responsibility. Our patient population consisted of mostly poor and illiterate people who could not even afford basic health care. After this rotation, I along with few of my classmates arranged free medical camps for the underprivileged in surrounding rural areas. These camps included vaccination drives, free physical exams and arranging follow-up care to the best of our abilities. The gratitude and respect we received in return for doing something that was merely our responsibility, was overwhelming.
I was still in my 3rd year of medical school, when my cousin came from USA to India. He was also getting trained in medicine in USA. He has always been a very good friend and mentor and asked me to consider coming to USA for further training once I finish the medical school. And all of a sudden, I could not relate to medicine back home and always wondered how medicine would be in USA. I started on preparing for USMLE exams. My friends were envious of me because I knew what I planned to do in my future, as most of them were clueless about themselves.
One bright Sunday morning, as I was having a cup of hot tea and going through the newspaper, an advertisement caught my attention. It was for a Personality development workshop. I had never thought of something like that and ended up going for the free first session. To my surprise, it was an eye-opener on how a few simple things can change your perception and life. I finished that 1 week course and all my family and friends could notice a new me. I was more confident than I ever was. I was more happy and satisfied.
As time passed by, I continued sharing the thoughts I learned in the Personality development class with my friends. Some of them were significantly affected by that. They suggested that I should start conducting workshops for Motivation and Personality development myself. I started of with school kids and conducted a full 1 week of course which turned out to be a big hit.To my surprise, this program eventually spread to every part of the community including doctors, teachers, colleges and many other social institutions. The camaraderie and support fostered by these workshops inspired confidence and achievement of goals. This experience confirmed my belief that I, as a physician, could make a difference. Each time I conducted lectures or worked in camps, I felt my competence, responsibility, and commitment both towards medicine and social service. From there on, it was a non stop journey of multiple workshops which included bankers, businessmen, housewives, college students, NGO and many more.
Throughout all this, I knew of the bigger goal that I had to achieve, which was getting further medical education in USA. I still remember the day when I got my visa for USA. That was my 3rd most happy moment, not to mention that I never saw my parents that happy before. The goal that I set has brought me far off from my homeland and I am proud to be here today.
It was again a proud moment for me when I got an offer from the first program I interviewed with for my residency. I was really excited as I loved the program. The tough part started after few months when it was the day to start the residency. I can still feel what I felt that day. I was happy and scared at the same time. Happy because I got what I strived for and scared as I was unfamiliar with the American medical system. With every day that passed by, my comfort and confidence increased.
Probably because of my leadership skills, I went on to be the Chief resident of my program. I have always been fascinated by Leaders and have always taken up roles of a leader from my school days.
Just few months into practicing medicine, I realized medicine is just not about treating people, it has a business aspect to it, which I never had an opportunity to learn much about. When I realized that the organization I worked for has poor leadership and management skills, I wanted to go ahead and expand my learning horizon to manage medical institutions. The best possible path to go on was an MBA in Healthcare. It has been great experience learning aspects of business administration.
Being an Internist, I see all kinds of patients with all kinds of problems. The fact that most of us do not know is that over 75% of the medical problems are Stress Induced. To get to the root cause of issues and fix that, I studied Hypnotherapy. It was fascinating what human mind can perceive and do. I helped a lot of patients with Stress disorders, addictions, Cancer, dietary disorders, Chronic pains and many more. The results have been fantastic.
I hope to continue progressive ideology in medicine and learn as much I can in my lifetime.