Hello everybody, seeing as this is my first post I’d like to quickly introduce myself. I grew up in Michigan about 30 miles from the lake, loved playing with Legos as a kid, and participated in several sports. I am currently conducting research between my second and third year of medical school.
PIMP-ed [verb] – Put In My Place, a term used to describe the feeling when an attending physician asks the lowly medical student a seemingly impossible question for which the student replies, “ughhhhhh, hmmmmm.” The student proceeds to scratch their head and wait for even the most dim of light bulbs to flicker on. An eternity of time might pass before the professor replies; “blah, blah, blah, blah… didn’t they teach you anything in medical school?”
Being pimped is pretty much one of the most humbling things a medical student can experience. Sadly, with so much knowledge to learn, it is easy to feel like a deer lost in the headlights much of the time. Getting used to thinking on your feet, while acquiring seemingly vast amounts of material is definitely a daily challenge. As an academic research tract student, temporarily removed from the clinical aspects of medicine, I somehow managed to escape this tradition. That was until two days ago. This week I fell prey to a hungry attending, while recruiting patients for a research study.
30 minutes before lunch the attending physician turns to me and says; “I think it’s about time I start torturing you with questions…” He pulls up an MRI of the brain and asks me to find the insula. Feeling slightly confident, I scroll through the MRI and point it out. Easy enough – wrong. From there we begin discussing the venous drainage system in the CNS, “Tell me where to find the Great Vein of Galen, what drains into it.” By this point I was literally shaking in my boots and much less confident about anything that came out of my mouth. Now here was the killer, “What drains into the Internal Cerebral Vein?” My response, “ughhhhhhhh, hmmmmm.” It felt like almost 5 minutes of silence had passed before the attending replied, “either you know or you don’t.” Now, beaming with a smile, he turns to the resident, who strongly answers; “Thalamostriate.” Duhn Duhn Duhn.
In that brief moment, after two years of medical school and having studied the entire human body, I realized that my journey has only just begun. Sometimes we need these reality checks along the way to solidify knowledge and accurately assess our level of competence. Without attending physicians or tests, etc., we will never know what we don’t know.
So, for the moral of the story: Find somebody in your life that is willing to tell you the truth. Someone who can help you grow by giving you honest feedback. I think we get too comfortable with where we are, and this hinders us from moving forward. Who plays this role in your life? Are you moving forward? If you don’t know where to start, you can learn more at the conference.