As our medical school graduates move forward in their careers and in their practice, it’s great to hear of their accomplishments or see their names in journals or magazines.
A recent example was provided by Anne Knisely, MD, UVA School of Medicine Class of 2017. Now a resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, she recently wrote an essay entitled, “In Reflection: A shared experience of cancer and womanhood.”
Published in the Spring 2019 edition of Alpha Omega Alpha’s journal, The Pharos, Knisely’s essay draws thoughtful and important insights from a variety of memoirs, plays, and documentaries about patients with cancer. In these, she finds a level of humanity (and sometimes the bitter irony in treatments) that teaches the importance of paying attention to patients’ wishes.
“As I prepare to embark on a journey into obstetrics and gynecology residency, I begin to reflect and realize that being a great doctor is not just about knowing facts and scoring well on tests; it is about empathy, humanity, and navigating patient narratives.” …
She concludes by writing:
“… With this knowledge of my personal tendencies, coupled with the insights I have gained from these memoirs, I vow to myself that I will never measure my success in how many papers I publish or how low my surgical complication rate is; I will measure it in laughs, smiles, tears, and hugs. I will not just hear my patients’ concerns, but I will listen to them. I will make sure I know what my patients’ goals are, and what is most important to them. I will accept that these may change and it is important to re-ask during each clinic visit.”
As a physician, I agree with Knisely’s conclusions. As an educator, her words make me exceedingly proud. The continuous pursuit of being better, listening harder, and caring more is an admirable journey, upon which I wish her great success.
To read the essay, click here.
R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education
Filed Under: Education