The Next Generation of Care Providers

Every month that I post the latest update from “The Ladder” I smile at the amount of fun the kids are having. They are being introduced to physical exam and radiological tests I did not see until  I went to medical school.  They are smiling and I was terrified. I can only hope that some of the kids go on to become health care professionals. They are the future doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant or radiology technician. Medical schools are expensive in the United States. So a physician’s assistant (PA) or a nurse practitioner can be a rewarding career with less long-term student loan debt. The first hurdle is to stay in school. They need the encouragement to struggle through math and science and not get discouraged.
Recently I had an opportunity to refer one of my patients to a former resident. He has a sports medicine practice. I remember the first and last day of his residency and the joy I felt when he matched into his fellowship. Last week I had a patient with a serious problem that required hospitalization. The specialist called and gave a detailed overview of her findings. After she was finished, she asked me “are you Dr. Washington who taught Family Medicine at UMDNJ or I mean Rutgers.” I confirmed that I was indeed that Dr. Washington. The specialist said “I was your student. You were my doctor. Can you believe I am an attending now?” I can believe because she was a hardworking student.
In the doctor’s lounge, I ran into a new Geriatrician. She just finished her fellowship and she was my student. She too remarked “Can you believe I am an attending?” I had an anesthesiologist tell a colleague he was my student. I looked through all the letters I have written that are in a file marked “Student Letters.” They are all now Family physicians, OB/GYN’s and Internal Medicine specialist. They were all compassionate people before I met them. During their training, I helped build self-confidence and fine-tune an oral patient presentation. I edited a “Personal Statement” for a residency application and even wrote a “Letter of Recommendation.” I felt that was the least I could do to launch a new career. I listened as they struggled with which programs to rank. We weighed all the options and can up with a rank list. I wanted to make sure their choice was the best one. I listened as they struggled with personal and family crises. I was so careful to make sure I was of help. They all did well. I have seen poster presentations and been present to hear lectures that some of them have presented at national conferences.
I helped a student recently prepare for her interview for residency program the week before her first interview. She matched at the program she wanted. I hope to do the same for another young woman I have mentored who just finished her second year of medical school.
I don’t worry about who will take care of us in the near future. I just wish we could get more of them out there. That’s why I have a smile each month when I post the latest update from “The Ladder.” These kids are our future. We just have to keep them excited about their education and provide the “ladder” for success.

8 thoughts on “The Next Generation of Care Providers

  1. Reblogged this on hugmamma's MIND, BODY and SOUL and commented:
    Bless medical providers like Dr. Washington who are helping provide us with the next generation of physicians. Fortunate we are when they are not only taught the necessary skills, but also the compassion and concern to help their patients through the medical process. Hugs, Dr. Washington…for all you do.

  2. Beautiful article. Not only do you treat patients but you’re a mentor and inspiration for future health professionals that are needed. It’s admirable that you take the time and interest to encourage competnt students to enter the medical and related health care field.

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