The emergency department is my favorite place in the world.

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 in Life of a Medical Student, Life, the Universe, and Everything | 2 comments

Sometime last week a link was passed around my medical school class on Facebook entitled “Why You Should Not Go To Medical School” written by a guy (correction) girl who graduated from medical school, evidently decided medicine wasn’t for her, and is now (very successfully) writing books about dating.

And I do agree with her, relatively wholeheartedly. I don’t think all of her points are necessarily accurate, but it does touch on the key frustrations that make medical students one of the most depressed populations in the nation. The reality is that medical students put in long hours, sacrifice their personal relationships and their own well-being, and spend an unfathomable amount of money doing it.

But at the same time she ends her article with the following line:
And the one reason why you should go into medicine:
You have only ever envisioned yourself as a doctor and can only derive professional fulfillment in life by taking care of sick people.”

And that’s where I stand. I’m not going to lie, the first year and a half of medical school have not been very much fun. As a person who has never found it easy to sit down and study for extended periods of time, I find it painful to meet the expectations of these first two years. Nevertheless, I am doing fine, passing my classes, learning a lot, and really shouldn’t complain.

And the reason I haven’t dropped out yet: I am absolutely in love with the Emergency Department. Lately I’ve been working part time in the ED at UPMC Presby, in a position that involves assigning rooms to patients coming in by ambulance and entails no patient care at all. But I love my job. And sitting there in the Emergency Department, doing a job that is generally considered undesirable, I feel at home. I feel like this is where I belong.

And it’s true that I have never imagined doing anything else. When I became an apprentice at an EMS agency at the age of 14, I fell in love with the place and have never gone back. I came to medical school not to become a doctor, but specifically to become an emergency physician. And while I’m looking with a curious eye at other specialties that are available to me, somehow I can’t get away from the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment I derive from emergency medicine.

I consider myself unquestionably lucky to be in such a position. While my friends struggle to figure out what they want to do with their lives, I have the privilege of being in love with a profession and, moreover, I have been given the opportunity to pursue it.


  1. More power to you, sister! Thanks for the mention, and know that the world needs more doctors like you.
    Forge on

  2. You go girl! It is so great to hear from the future of EM. :)
    There is so much negative about medicine: that we forget about all the little good things there are, even in the smallest of things.
    Every little good deed in the EM often doesn’t get rewarded, but someone appreciates it, you’ll just never know (and that is OK!).
    (As a recipient of your assigning the patient I brought in, thanks it made my day easier & it was great I felt that I got VIP service! no waiting)
    You are going to be a great EM physician someday very soon! :)

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