An average day for a physician consists of hospital rounds, meetings, and interaction and examination of new patients. Although every day is different for a physician, usually physicians see about thirty patients daily and each patient that come in are all different people who will have different diagnoses. And sadly there will be at least one patient that the physician will not be able to cure their illness and will have to stop providing medical care. From my interactions with physicians I learned that it is extremely difficult for physicians to be able to come to this decision of stopping medical attention. Physicians have explained to me that it is hard to be the one to “label” a patient as uncurable because these people come and depend on you by putting their life in your hands only to be turned away. However, physicians have informed me that although making the decision to stop providing medical care is heart wrenching, physicians are able to inform patients of hospice, a place where they will receive compassionate care.
Usually, physicians recommend hospice to patients who are suffering from a terminal illness and/or patients whose days are numbered. When I first learned about hospice, I was in shock that this type of facility existed because I could not understand how a physician could come to the decision to stop providing medical attention to a patient and how a patient could come to the decision to go to a place to wait to die. However, as I read more about hospices and interacted with hospice nurses, I’ve learned that although it is sad that the patients that are admitted cannot be cured of their illness, it is still possible for them to enjoy the last moments they have left because of the care they will receive and this to me is life saving. At first the patients that come in are fearful of dying and they admit to being depressed because they worry about their loved ones they are leaving behind. Sometimes there are patients who would have drastic mood swings at least once a day; one moment they are calm and the next they are uncontrollably sobbing because of the fear they feel towards death. These patients that came were at first very scared at what lies ahead of them, knowing that their days were numbered and knowing that their death is coming sooner than they had expected sent them into a spiral of emotions. However, during their stay, they are able to accept death rather than fear it because of the nurses and the volunteers who constantly provide compassion, companionship, and most of all, joy. These hospice patients, all they needed was a friend who would be there to take care of them, provide them company, and most of all listen to them.
Working in the medical field is a true blessing for anyone who decides to walk down this path. It is truly rewarding to be able to save patients from their illnesses and provide them with the care and attention they need in order to allow them to live a better quality life. However, like any other job, working in the medical field also has its downs and that is why it is necessary to be prepared. Through my experience I learned that it is important for those wishing to enter the medical field to prepare themselves physically and most importantly, mentally. Although the expected performance of a physician is to save every patient’s lives, this is sadly not the reality. While working as a physician, one will be able to treat patients and cure them of their illness, however not every patient can be cured and therefore, a physician must come to the decision to stop medical treatment. In order to be able to come to the decision to stop providing medical treatment to a patient, a physician must be mentally strong. As a pre-med student, medical student, or a high school student hoping to enter the medical field, it is important to understand and accept that although it is the duty of a physician to provide medical attention and care to every patient, it is sadly not possible to cure every patient of their illness. However, through my experience volunteering, I’ve learned even though not every patient can be cured, every patient can still be helped and cared for. Therefore, I believe that although it is depressing that not every patient can be cured, it is possible for every patient to be saved from their suffering which is truly life saving.