Reason Number 27: Patience
My residency director described me as zealous. I was a bit taken back when he announced this at our graduation dinner. To me the term meant militant maybe even with terrorist tendencies – Yikes! Not exactly the touchy-feely pediatrician you would take your babies and children to, huh? On introspection with the help of Miriam – Webster, I’ve come to realize the postive aspects of being zealous – ardent, eager, passionate. That impetuous side works well in emergencies and in critical care settings, and knows how to prioritize information and tasks.
Yet most of pediatrics is not emergencies, and I have had to learn the fine art of patience. Parenthood has taught me to slow down and wait, but medicine, pediatrics, and patients – despite the breakneck speed of practice – has drilled lessons of composure into me, too.
Patience is waiting for a toilet-training two year old to return from the bathroom. It is letting a parent tell his or her reason for the appointment in more than 20 seconds before interrupting. Patience is knowing that Roseola takes a big fever before declaring itself with a rash. Patience is waiting for a phone call from a subspecialist. It is coaching a reluctant patient through an ear examine, throat swab, or suture removal. Being patient is embracing flexibility and letting the day flow. Patience is gentleness. presence and listening. I hope that’s how my patients remember me.