Monday, September 26, 2011

Some words are worth more… by blogger of the month Chris Brown

Some words are worth more in life, like the phrase “I love you.”, or “I promise to…”. Last Thursday night we had the opportunity to make a promise to ourselves and our future patients with words that were worth a bit more. Thursday night we took the physician’s oath, a modern version of the Hippocratic Oath. It was a very meaningful experience and offered a moment to reflect on the seriousness of what it is we are beginning. The oath will help guide us to be physicians that patients both need and deserve. 

Students awaiting the start of the Physician's Oath ceremony

The ceremony
The ceremony was very nice; we had several guest speakers, each of which has played a central role in the development of the school and the program. We were even fortunate enough to have Dr. Lynne Quittell, head of the admissions for the program and pediatric pulmonologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, give a speech. The whole event was webcast for families back home. The speeches were very nice and centered on how we are at the beginning of a long journey, but a very important one. During the middle of our Physician’s Oath ceremony there was also a performance by a classical guitarist, which added a bit to the formality of the situation.

Part of the ceremony included a speech from Avi, the last blogger of the month. He introduced our class’ code of ethics, an additional pledge to compliment the Physician’s Oath taken earlier.  Part of Avi’s speech really brought perspective to the night and that how when undertaking the role of a physician it will be a matter of life and death. Ultimately we will become physicians and the information and skills that we are learning right now will eventually be used to improve the quality of life of others and in some cases save lives. To approach our education from this point of view can prove to be a rather stressful and daunting task, but in the end this is why we chose this path. And really who doesn’t need a little stress and a few grey hairs… it’ll make you look distinguished.  The ceremony continued with the reading of our code of ethics by several classmates and then with a nice buffet dinner outside in the courtyard of the Deichmann building.

Class skits
As part of the Physician’s Oath ceremony, each class puts on a skit or video after the dinner. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. We have many talented and creative people in this program. The quality of each skit was amazing and really touched on life here in medical school in Be’er Sheva. I’m not really sure whose skit was the funniest; they all had a different feel to them. I was given the opportunity to be an introvert in the first year class’ sketch, which really gave me the chance to let the inner introvert out. Well I guess “Letting the inner introvert out” is kind of a repetitive term used to describe an action that introverts wouldn’t normally partake in, but there are varying levels introverts, and I definitely up there(the fact that I’m having this conversation in my head right now probably says something about me or why I was cast the part. I wonder how this will impact my life here, I guess we’ll see. Well it was definitely good times.  Alright now I’m just getting off topic and why am I still writing this down? I need to stop.  Alright back to the blog…).

Dr. Clarfield and upperclassmen playing music after the
Physician's Oath ceremony.
Live music
After the skits were finished, we all had the opportunity to go outside and listen and dance to live music provided by fellow upperclassmen and one of the directors of our school Dr. Clarfield. It was great to see the head of our program here in Be’er Sheva celebrating with us and displaying a part of him many of us do not get the opportunity to see.

The after party
You would think that after a very long week that we would all be exhausted and call it a night, but no; exhausted, we pushed through and went out to an unusual discotheque The Draft. What’s special about The Draft, well by night it is a popular dance club, but by day it’s a fitness gym. Which makes sense, do things to improve your body and health during the day then balance it out with drinking and dancing in a smoke filled atmosphere at night, well maybe not too much sense, well maybe not at all, but it seems to be working as a business model so what can I say.

Looking back at the night
The Physician’s Oath ceremony was a moment for which I and, I hope, my classmates will take to heart and serve as something that we can use to reflect on as we develop into physicians. The oath can serve as a moment to mark the formal beginning of a journey in which we will always strive to do our best, remembering that only our best will make the most difference. I feel extremely fortunate to be in this program and with my fellow classmates.

Additional Highlights to the Week…
Transportation (Sort of)
On a less serious note I got a new bike, which is going to be great, though the brakes leave a little bit to be desired, so I haven’t been really able to ride it very often or very quickly for that matter. It will be a useful addition to getting to and from study sessions.

My new bike, or new to me. You may note wire jetting
of the handles (that's supposed to be attached to the
brakes, which are absent at the moment.

Communicating with Friends and Family
Technology is amazing, this past week I was also able to speak with the family I lived with while serving in the Peace Corps and friends via Skype in Senegal. It was amazing to be able to reconnect with them even though it was brief. It was great getting to see their faces, though they said I got fat, which is nice I guess, one of the many cultural differences…

My host Mom and brother with a good friend in my old hut
talking to me via Skype.

Last blog entry: Thanks for letting me share
One thing I learned while living in Africa was hope and being here, surrounded by so many people working towards helping others, I cannot help but be filled with even more hope. We all move forward towards a common goal of making the lives of others better. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share a bit about my life here for the past month.  - blogger of the month Chris Brown

Here is a picture of a painting I've been working on over the past
couple of weeks in my spare time.