Residency and Beyond

07 June 2012 / Impairment Rating Specialists / Comments Off on Residency and Beyond

Dr. John AlchemyUpon completion of residency I learned something very important. The kind of thing you can only learn looking back, after having completed the experience.


The lesson was this: In the early stages of exploring a specialty of medicine, even as a doctor, it is nearly impossible to separate our opinions of a specialty from the teachers who are teaching us. For example, a very enthusiastic instructor can make boring and dry topics come to life based on presentation and emphasis of the material.


By telling stories, making connections, and pointing out the recurring themes of practice that weaves the patient and the medicine together, it is very easy to confuse the subject with the instructor. It is kind of like clothing. Some colors and styles compliment people in very unique ways. Try that same clothing on yourself, take a look in the mirror, and you say.. “maybe not so much”, or if you are lucky you will say, “Yep, this is exactly my size. Time to go to checkout!” That is the summary of trying to pick your specialty in medicine.


It was 1997, when I finally found the suit that fit me in that mirror. I was taking an elective rotation in Occupational Medicine. I stumbled into the rotation when I was looking for a practice setting that had a combination of urgent care medicine, with continuity of care follow up visits. I still remember putting together my first two weeks of discovery on that rotation. Here I am, able to focus on a single set of problems, in an urgent care setting, with cases that had something I had never imagined existed….an administrative end!! How was this? It was amazing!


These occupational medicine cases actually had a beginning, a middle and an end. Then it got even more amazing (like the advertising for the set of steak knives that can cut through the hood of a 1957 Buick, then effortlessly cut a freshly baked loaf of bread with laser precision). There was the language. I was intrigued with the language, and the endless definitions.

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