1. LEARN FROM EVERYONE
Never think your are too smart to learn from others. You can learn from your patients, colleagues, nurses, or even random people off the street. Everyone has different life experiences and perspectives that you can learn from. Learning from others successes and failures is essential for growth. Do not keep reinventing the wheel; the wheel has already been made, use it.
2. LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY
There will be times when you don’t want to study. There will be days where you feel like doing absolutely nothing, but, you should take the time to learn at least one thing every day. Make the commitment to yourself, and over time, this will add up, and you will be that much more equipped to care for your patients. You only have two years, so make sure they count!
3. ENJOY THE PROCESS
This is self explanatory. Do not stress over the hours, the exams, or your attendings. These things are going to be there whether you stress about them or not. Realize that what you are going through is necessary and temporary. The journey you have embarked upon is a privilege; treat it as such. Enjoy yourself.
4. STAY MENTALLY SOUND
Medicine can be very stressful at times. A lot of your patients will have depression and anxiety; you will be dealing with these two entities every single day. If you do not have a strong and sound mind, then you will start to emulate your patients behaviors. Your way of thinking will start to become similar to those of your patients, which will ultimately lead to burnout. So, how do we stay mentally sound? Do things like meditation, exercise, eat healthy, go out, socialize, etc. Find things that bring you peace, so that your life can have balance. The trick is to make this a part of your routine, so that when your are faced with depression after depression, you will not get bogged down to your patients state of emotions; instead, you can elevate your patients to your state.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID
Too many students are often afraid of doing new procedures, seeing different patients, making decisions, etc. for fear of making a mistake. Students are afraid of failure. What you have to realize is that failure is a part of the process, and if you aren’t making mistakes, then you aren’t improving. You will never be ready to start, and you will never know every detail before jumping in. Excuses as to why you should keep reading before doing will always be there, but the only way to learn is to take the initiative and just do it. Don’t be outcome dependent; instead, do as much as you can, whenever you can.
These five things are not easy by any means. They take practice, but, if you can adopt this mentality, you will be far ahead of your classmates come graduation. After two years (three for some), you are expected to care for patients independently. No longer will you have someone holding your hand who will see every patient prior to executing your treatment plan. Your safety net will essentially be stripped away; make sure you are as ready as you can possibly be.