Most of you will never know
What doctors do to fully grow
It starts even right before college
Where we struggle for entry holding that knowledge
If we are lucky enough to get some prestige
There is much more work before we get any expertise
The constant pressure to study study study
Internally yearning to just hang with our buddy
While four years we spend in the library
Yearning only to spend our summers free
Instead we research, volunteer and observe
Just to stay ahead of the curve
Exam after exam we must excel
Until that final MCAT, the exam from hell
Four years of sacrifice tested in a day
Separating those who move ahead or face an alternate way
Many of us keep trudging along
Simply because you have to be that strong!
More classes! More tests! More pressure we face
That so many of you now think is a waste
Medical School used to mean respect
The work and altruism current systems now try to reject
If you’re lucky enough to pass step one
You begin hospital rotations for yet more exam fun
You face even further years of standardized tests
Under such severe scrutiny not everyone has success
Step 2: CK and of course CS!
Internally struggling not to show our stress
Finally earning that physician degree
We are far from finally being free!
Minimizing those thousands of hours
On day one as an intern don’t have superpowers!
We all must start sometime and learn in that way
Were you so perfect on your first day?
There is a strict system always in place
To standardize the knowledge many now think a disgrace
July 1 is not a death day
Where from hospitals you must stay away
There is an academic hierarchy always in place
Despite during your admission you think you see only one face
No, it is a celebration!
The markings of a new occasion!
That MD we finally earned
Yet only the beginnings of what is yet to be learned
Another minimum three full years
Many of which are filled with tears
The aching of our feet as we run and stand
The countless hours of reprimand
The pain in our pelvis as we yearn to pee,
Eat, sleep, be financially free
One “mistake” our superiors say
“Can easily take that precious life away”
There is no such thing as a terminal degree
When we raised our hands to take that decree
Our oath we take very seriously
To be selfless, sacrifice and retain humility
Many of us struggle with our internal demons
The stress to excel, the missing of freedom
The birthdays and holidays we miss as we work
Those milestones in life can drive some of us bezerk
Physician burnout and suicide is real
Yet none of us are allowed to reveal how we truly feel
So we continue on with this core in our hearts
It is to save YOUR life that we chose this path to start
And finally when we graduate and pass yet another board exam test
It is only the beginning of yet another journey still without rest
Fellowship, CME, conferences to attend
This work we endure truly never ends
Yet now those thousands of hours we served for you
Still with hundreds of thousands in loans now due
You want to replace with an online degree?
And shove in our face you are better than we?
That we were dumb to spend so many hours
That you are better, faster, smarter with your “holistic superpowers”
Never dissecting in anatomy
No idea of pathophysiology
Never laying eyes on histology
No clue of what it means to study pharmacology
No significance of the time spent in journal club or grand rounds
Spending M and M dissecting cases with your colleagues around
Time at the bedside holding your patient’s hand
Delivering a diagnosis so difficult to understand
Watching despite CPR as your patients pass
Struggling with that post traumatic stress
You don’t know what you don’t know until its too late
Yet as physicians we are here to change your patient’s fate
You so badly want to be called doctor
Well this is what it took to earn that honor.
So next time you are in a hospital or physician’s clinic
Please see our sacrifice before you unhurl your inner cynic
The honor of being physician is purely this true
That we are here for you and only you.
Sulana Misra, MD practices Internal Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and is pending medical aesthetics and medical pain in LA. She enjoys time with her doggies, krav maga and other martial arts, painting, singing, dancing, cooking, entrepreneuring, being.