So I am officially, 100% done with biochem for FOREVER. YAY!! Literally this was my least favorite class/material. Not only was Friday our last Biochem exam, but it was also the GWU PA school’s short white coat ceremony. For those of you who don’t know what a white coat ceremony is, its pretty simple. Basically its a celebration of your status as a student (this could be PA/MD) and your ability to start learning how to treat patients. A lot of schools do this ceremony in between didactic and clinical years, but GW likes to do it earlier. I personally liked this, as we start “treating” patients during our lab classes. And it was a wonderful motivator after the evil that was biochem.
What’s the difference between a short coat and a normal lab coat?
Basically, a short coat means that you’re a student! Its a symbol to other providers that you’re still learning and growing as a future provider (its also a neon sign for them to make you do some of the grunt work-lets be honest, it happens). Really I just feel damn cool with it on, not going to lie. Its a great symbol of how far I have come and a great reward for how hard I’ve worked.
My mom also came up this weekend, which was absolutely wonderful! In case y’all can’t tell, I’m very close to my mom and I do definitely miss her. We hung out, cleaned my apartment, went grocery shopping, and saw Independence Day: Resurgence (which I thought was pretty cool). Overall, she just did all of those great things that mothers do to take care of you.
But anyways, the real purpose of this post was to share somethings that really stood out to me during my ceremony. We had a speaker who was a graduate from GWU PA school talk about what he has learned during his time as a PA. And he told us:
“The main thing you put on when you put on your coat is compassion; without compassion, we can’t be good providers. And compassion is the most important thing we can have”
This really stood out to me! I know individuals who chose to get involved in health care for the wrong reasons: for glory or money or because someone else wanted them to. But the real reason you should get involved is because you CARE. Without compassion, you’re not going to enjoy your career. Sure, its nice to make good money and feel important; its great to get thanked by people and some enjoy feeling like God. But, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, we have to give up some of our lives to save theirs. This could be getting home later than we expected, or not being able to go to a dinner, or even not getting to spend time with out families. But for every sacrifice we make, we’re helping someone out. And that is the real point of healthcare.
Another thing that really stood out to me (and my mom who kept repeating it to me all weekend): My fellow students are going to become my family. We’re with each other from 9-5, five days a week. We can’t tear each other down, or compete, because without each other we lose part of our family. Not going to lie, this is how I grew up. My parents always taught me to support others and do onto them as I would want done onto me. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized this isn’t always the case. People are competitive by nature. How do you think I got in to PA school? By being ambitious and better than other applicant. However, now that we’re in school together, we need to come together and support.
I just think that this is very important to keep in mind, especially as many of you are going through the application process. You need to realize that while it is important to present yourselves competitively, its also important to stay true to the heart of healthcare: compassion. Be friendly, be kind, reach out to others. A simple kind word or smile can make someone’s day so much better. I once read an article about how giving one person a compliment a day makes the world into a better place. It makes that person happy, which makes you feel better, and hopefully, the person will go on to influence someone else in a positive way. We’re all so connected and we need to remember this.
In addition, we can apply this to when we actually work in healthcare. I have no qualms with MDs or NPs. I just didn’t have the desire to be one. I don’t think I’m as good as an MD, or better than a NP. I simply think that I will have a set of skills that will help me be a team member and help our patients. I don’t think we should compete amongst each other on who is a better provider. We’re all different in some way, and lets be honest, PAs were created as dependent practitioners to help MDs. Sure, we have evolved and I think our education is outstanding (based on how much I’m already learning in such a short period of time), but at the end of the day, an MD is still devoting more of their life to getting an education. And in reality, being a member of the health care profession means we are ever learning and growing. I think we need to just go back to the basics and remember what the most important thing to have when we put on our coat is: