Stay Humble: Advice from a third year student

By Brian Bush, COM 2019

Brian Bush PhotoHi, my name is Brian Bush, and I’m a third-year medical student from Touro University. Having just finished my first clinical rotation in pediatrics, I can safely say that the third year of medical school is quite different from the first two. Instead of going to lectures or labs in the morning, I am going to the clinic or the hospital. Instead of my laptop, pens, and papers, I am now armed with my white coat, stethoscope and reflex hammer. I have a real hospital ID badge that says ‘Administration’ on it—which is a nice change of pace from the volunteer badges I am used to wearing.

Best of all, third year is when we finally get a taste for what our careers will be like. In one month, I’ve already seen so many patients and have taken so many histories and physicals that it’s beginning to feel like second nature. I spend time with my preceptor discussing each patient and building a differential and treatment plan. One thing that nobody told me was how much free food to expect once you’re out in the hospital. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have been attending the hospital’s CME (Continuing Medical Education) events. These events have been super interesting, and better yet, always come with a free meal. But really, it’s fun watching how physicians and other hospital staff interact with each other without patients around.

I finally feel like all of my hard work is starting to pay off. My friends and I don’t refer to rotations as school anymore, we call it ‘work’. Which makes me laugh because I always thought that real work would be accompanied by a paycheck. But in all seriousness, it is much more similar to a job than school. You’re not stuck in front of a computer all day trying to cram in as much information as possible. Instead, you’re with your preceptor, trying to vigorously scribble down everything that he or she says. Or you’re on your cell phone, frantically trying to look up a treatment for an infection you ran across. It’s a very different type of learning. I can’t even begin to tell you how many patients I have seen—and they are all different! Each with their own set of interactions and ailments. I have learned from all of them; from the baby who is just a pleasant ball of giggles to the screaming toddler who is freaked out by your stethoscope, each one of them has provided me with an opportunity to learn.

Every day is an adventure with new patients to see and new diagnoses to screw up. I find it funny that, because of the white coat, people commonly mistake me for an actual doctor. Sometimes I correct them and sometimes I just let it slide. It’s nice to be confused for somebody who knows what they’re doing every once in a while. I am just thankful that, for now, I still have my preceptor by my side.

If I had to give a word of advice, it would be to stay humble. As a 3rd year medical student, you are the lowest on the totem pole. It is amazing how much I still have to learn after finishing up my preclinical work.

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