Now Lakshman presents Part II of his advice and, again, wants it to be clear that he has made ALL of these mistakes. No one is perfect, he says, but being conscious of these mistakes – and this advice – helped him grow throughout the year. Take it away, Lakshman:
3. Be a Great Learner. As difficult as it is, don’t be solely focused on tests and grades. You will have a much better time if you try to learn what you need to know because you see it as your own responsibility, rather than trying to pick out the test questions. If you allow yourself to be geared toward that objective goal (the next test, the boards, etc.), you will cement that way of thinking for your entire career. There are two problems I see with this:
- You miss out on the depth of the information, and when atypical problems arise, you will be less equipped to deal with them.
- You’ll be miserable.
4. Be an Asset. Be dependable to your team. Run to get data for them and really try to know everything about your patients – just trying will pay off. As Eric Greitens said in his keynote address at the IHI National Forum last December, your strength can come from knowing others rely on you. You'll be amazed at your energy and capacity when you feel like you are an important part of the team. Relish the basic chores you have to do – don't consider them beneath you.
As a student, you’re often the first one to meet a patient and gather their story. Long after you present it, knowing those details can really come in handy and make you look fantastically on top of things. One example: Recently on call, the residents were handed a new patient with a surgery. We were walking to the patient and the residents blanked on some of the details of the case. I had done the H&P, knew everything about that patient, and saved them the hassle of logging into the EMR to get the details. Little things go a long way.
- Lakshman Swamy, MD/MBA Candidate, 2013, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University