In the not too distant past, I had the good fortune of having a really great student with me for an "Office Ob/Gyn" elective. When I say "really great student," I mean exactly that. She arrived early and stayed late. She was professional and comforting to the patients. She asked appropriate questions and wrote really great notes. She had a good knowledge base, and she did it all with a smile and no 'tude. Truly, an awesome student. Unfortunately for her, we spent more time in the hospital doing surgery and deliveries than we did in the office. (I think that Whooville is having a serious baby boom. They just. keep. coming.) I do think that I was able to give her a taste of what being an Ob/Gyn is like, at least as far as being a solo practitioner, any way. She is trying to decide between Ob and a couple of other more "lifestyle friendly" specialties.
During the rotation, I really tried to let her form her own opinions about the life that she saw me living. I found myself, several times having to refrain from trying to talk her out of being an Ob/Gyn. A student that any Ob residency would be lucky to have, and I kept wanting to, I don't know, *protect* her or something. Maybe it was her sweet, un-cynical self, not yet marred by years of being beaten down by the establishment. Maybe it was because I wanted her to have a chance at a less stressful life, before it was too late to look back. Or maybe I was just trying to warn her not to make the same mistake that I made when I chose my first job out of residency (an essentially solo practice). I would like to think that it was the latter, because I truly love what I do, I just don't want to do it so, um, *often.*
I want to be able to feel confident in inspiring the best students to follow in my footsteps in a field that desperately needs good physicians. I worry that my first instinct is to tell my students to run, run, run, because I know that I wouldn't have. Even if the attending told me to run, I would have made the same choice. So at the end of the rotation, after we went over her evaluation, she asked for a letter of recommendation (which I will gladly write). When I asked whether she wanted one geared toward an Ob residency, or one for more general purposes, she chose the "more general" category. She's still making up her mind. Perhaps my feelings were telegraphed more than I had realized. I do feel hopeful, though, to know that the such bright rising stars in the future of medicine exist out there. So, to all you bright med students and would-be med students...don't let the disillusioned attendings get you down, y'all. We need you more than you know.