The Best Medicine

Rachel - Burnsville, North Carolina
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Last summer I was accepted into the East Tennessee Rural High School Medical Camp. At the end of the week we were all assigned different doctors to shadow for a day, and as it just so happens that I cannot stand the sight of feet, I was assigned a podiatrist by the name of Dr. Riley. When I entered the surgery wing where Dr. Riley’s office was located I was completely prepared to be disgusted, but after three hours with Dr. Riley of watching ingrown toenails disappear, shots getting injected into ankles, and X-rays of feet, I almost wanted to become a podiatrist myself. Dr. Riley told me that many times he sees patients that come in complaining about their feet and the only thing wrong with them is that their toenails are too long. He said, “Sometimes you find yourself becoming a psychiatrist and a doctor, sometimes I receive patients that only come in to talk.” It is my desire to go into the medical field, and I learned from Dr. Riley that sometimes the best medicine is to listen to what other people have to say.

After medical camp I was inspired to become the first Junior Volunteer at the Blue Ridge Community Hospital. I was stationed in the ER which gave me the opportunity to talk, visit, and aid the patients in many ways. I realized that many people who came to the ER alone needed someone there for them, a listening ear to distract them from their pain. By volunteering I understood that just by taking a little time out of your day to talk to someone could make a huge difference. One of the doctors allowed me to communicate with her patients and shadow her as she went about her work. One patient came in with a laceration that had been bleeding for the past three hours. He spoke to me for two hours while waiting to get his finger stitched; he told me that he had had many previous medical ailments, he had a heart attack, and during his treatments his doctors were not willing to take the time to get to know him as a person and to talk to him. He told me that many times he felt as though his doctors didn’t really care about him as a person, but simply as another patient. When he finally was finished with his stitches, and was walking out the door he turned to me and said, “Young lady, good luck in becoming a doctor, you’d make a good one.” It surprised me that by simply talking to someone can not only leave a good impression but also make you feel better about yourself.

I believe that the best medicine is listening to others. Through simply listening, and not just hearing, by understanding and caring for other people one can gain personal happiness as well as helping someone else in need. I believe that taking time to listen to others is a key element to success.