Being a medical student means doing a great deal of listening. I listen to medical podcasts in the car. I listen to lectures and speakers and youtube videos explaining various aspects of medicine. And most importantly, I listen to the older and wiser clinicians that take precious time out of their day to have me in their clinic and to teach me.
It means a great deal when someone tells me something they think will equip me to be a better doctor. Or when someone tells me about a mistake they made, so I don’t make the same one. I appreciate it. I really do.
I’d like to that think that I embrace the concept that everyone we meet has something to teach us. But there comes a time for us to be heard too—it just seems like that time never comes.
Medical students have to be encouraged to speak, to share their ideas and to not be torn down and met with opposition every time they do so. We have to feel like we have a place at the hard fought medicine table. Especially true for women and minority students who have not long been part of the medical community. We need all of our voices to help make our health care system better. And to help train better doctors, we need to include medical students in the conversation from the start of their training.
I am grateful for the information and ideas others share with me. But I would be amiss not to want to talk too, to share what I care about. And the frustration of feeling like because we are med students we are somehow less aware, less woke, less interested may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So next time you have a med student on your service do me a favor, ask them what they think, listen to what they say, help them feel heard.