I love having students. I’ve had all kinds. High schoolers considering a career in medicine. Premed students applying for medical school. PA students. Medical students on a family medicine rotation.
My partner recently asked me if I get paid to have all these students.
Yeah, sometimes, depends on the school, but I don’t take it.
His mouth dropped. They take so much time, they make you fall behind, you should take the money!
It’s like 500 bucks -tops. I don’t do it for the money. I just really like it. They don’t take that much time. I don’t fall that much behind.
I have found in life that if you get paid for what you love, it ends up sucking the ever-loving life out of it. Like being a doctor. I truly have no idea about what I get paid. Well, maybe I have a rough idea. If I counted every penny, calculated how much I could make over every illness, I would be reduced to a sorry SOB who took the joy out of helping others for the love of money. That’s what the corporations are doing (like the one I work for), but I won’t. They can’t make me get paid to teach.
I am hanging onto this profession by the tips of my fingernails. You see, I’m just old enough to know what it was like to have my own practice. The good old days. I also made shit money, but it was on my terms. Teaching somehow transports me back to that time. I get a little giddy. I look forward to going to work to share my patients with this eager mind. I am reminded again about all the incredible saves, finds, close calls. About the incredible journeys of my patients. I get to share that with someone who doesn’t know the pitfalls of this career yet. They are still wide-eyed and eager. And I remember being like that.
“No where else can you see an 88 year old woman and a 7 year old boy back to back!” my student exclaimed.
It catches my attention. He is becoming enlightened. My wax-on/wax-off training method is paying off. Daniel-son, now I, Mr. Miyagi, will teach you the crane move on a canoe in a lake.
“You get to think on your feet, always changing gears, always something different!”
You have mastered the move, now we will go to the tournament. Your opponents will cheat and play dirty, but you will be victorious.
“It’s about the relationships. Family medicine is about the relationships. I love it. I want to do what you do!”
That’s when the heavens open up, the angels sing, a dove lands softly on my shoulder, and a rainbow shoots out of my ass. Yes! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
It’s a beautiful career. It’s a beautiful profession. I just wish it wasn’t driven by profit-hungry asshats.
Daniel-son, my work here is done. I shall retire to my bonsai trees now (not really -my husband says financially I can retire in 14 years -what does he know…). Carry on without me. Make a difference. Fight the good fight. Go into family medicine.
photo credit: movie trailer for Karate Kid and m s