Our Quest for Perfection: The End is Just a New Beginning
Perfection is a very fluid concept. We haven’t seen it, we can’t describe it, and we can’t realize it; of this we are all aware. And yet, ‘achieving perfection’ is an aspiration above all others, a bright inspiration, a burning ambition.For some, choosing the medical profession could be attributed to pure chance; one option among many. For others, more personal reasons came into play, like fulfilling parents’ dreams of their children belonging to this noble profession. But for most, it was a life-long aim; a journey that began in childhood with hard work at school and a persistent voice in their head, telling them that they needed to be the very best, in order to qualify for medical school. Hence, the endless hours pouring over books and learning lessons by heart.
While other children played and frolicked, they would care about those precious minutes which they could spend better by doing their homework, or studying for their tests. All in order to achieve that ‘perfection’, that would lead them into medical school!
The majority of doctors would admit that money not so much as privilege, were perks, but the major appeal to this profession, whether of their own choosing or not, was that it seemed to be the most efficient and effective way of helping humanity. Another feather in the cap on the road to perfection!
And then began the seemingly endless years of living out the dream and studying to be a doctor. At moments, the dream would seem to be a nightmare rather! Perfection would continually evade us and seem even more intangible, elusive, and impossible. Covering the syllabus, attending classes and wards, and retaining all that knowledge would be no easy task. We would look up to our seniors in awe. They had accomplished what we were still struggling with. But then that voice in our heads would make itself heard. ‘If they did it, then so can I.’ and guess what, we’d be back where we started from, indeed, our quest for perfection.
To us, it would seem like we had landed on a different planet, where we would witness human life in its most primitive form. We would see the sorrow and the pain on patients’ faces, their suffering and their helplessness. We would appreciate the untiring efforts of, and compassionate gestures from, doctors and paramedics alike, the way we could never have before. Life before and outside the vicinity of the hospital premises would seem like a butterfly’s cocoon; colorful and removed from reality, and we would learn to be more grateful for it. And the biggest awareness, the blaringly obvious truth and realization for each of us would be that a patient would invest in his doctor the highest amount of trust humanely possible.
Graduation ceremony: We will take our oaths. But it will not be the end, and we know it. There is no such thing as ‘perfection attained’. But there is a passion for excellence, giving our best, and always moving forward in the thirst for knowledge. The road to perfection is actually just the journey of discovering our true potential and challenging ourselves to do better. It doesn’t matter what part of the world we are in or how old or senior we are. To apply what we have learnt, and are learning each day, to benefit our patients with what is in their best interest, is what is going to make us better doctors. This journey has absolutely no end, only perfect beginnings and aspirations.
About the author: Madiha Viqar Usmani is a medical student from Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan. Her career interests are neurology and oncology. She can be contacted at: [email protected]
About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2012 for the theme: Becoming Better Doctors
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