These shiny letters

Suddenly I’m a doctor. There’s not much to it, it took a signature of the preceptor of my last internship and that was it. On paper, I was a doctor. The decision was sealed by the Board of Examiners and then I had to take the Doctor’s Oath (modified and modernized version of the Hippocratic Oath). And THEN I became doctor for real. Or did I become a doctor when I registered myself in the national registry and got my personal identification number? Or maybe when I first introduced myself as ‘Doctor [Surname]’. Or maybe I’m not a doctor yet, because no patient has called me doctor yet since I graduated.

When DO you become a doctor?

I thought I would know by the time I finished medical school, but I’m still not really sure. Part of this has to do with the fact that I’m in clinical research now – of course, if I’d gone on to work in the clinic, a lot of people would have called me their doctor by now. Now I’m mostly the ‘researcher’ who tries to convince people to donate some extra blood.
On the other hand, the insecurity and the scariness of the fact that you’re responsible for someone’s health never goes away, not even when someone certified that you can now independently take a lot of clinical decisions.

It seems as though ‘being’ a doctor has a lot more to do with how you feel about it then any external factor or diploma. Interesting.

For the curious people: here in the Netherlands, there are two options, you can either start working in the clinic to gain relevant working experience, or you can do research (clinical, fundamental, any type counts). After a few years you’re in a position to apply for residency. I am blessed with a position where I can do both research and still do some clinical work as well. I don’t know yet what specialty I’d like to be in, so this is an excellent opportunity to do something I love while finally, finally being paid.

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3 Comments on “These shiny letters”

  1. Congratulations!!!! Such interesting timing for your post- I had just finished checking your blog to see if I had missed any posts during my blogging absence. Five minutes later your new post came to my mailbox. I am sure it feels strange to be “finished”. (If we ever are… ) Will you have time for harp now that your studies are over?

    • CT says:

      Thanks! I hoped I would have more time for the harp, but sadly, the working hours are almost the same. However, now I don’t need to study as much in the evenings, so I try in to squeeze some practice time as well… đŸ™‚

      • I suspect it will take some time to rebalance your life after being so focused on study. The lovely thing is that the harp will be there waiting for you!


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