What does it mean to grind? Hip Hop culture has given us a mental image but is that all there is to it? As a young physician 4 years out of medical school, I can tell you that I’ve been on the mental grind for a long time now and I’m still on it!
Surviving in the medical field is no easy task. Usually when you think of doctors you think of 80 hour work weeks (and yes early in our training we really do have some 80 hour weeks) but oftentimes people forget about the mental commitment it takes. Years of studying, years of telling yourself you are good enough, years of fatigue, years of watching age mates making money in the work field, years of keeping yourself mentally focused!
Flash back 11 years. At that time I was a young student settling into college life. For various reasons, the path I chose was to pursue a career in medicine. That’s when my grind began. Hours of studying, declining party invites, skipping step shows; this is how I lived. Friends calling you lame, boring, and a hermit! Relax they say, just have a little fun! Oh how easy that little fun can turn into failing a major test and dropping your gpa. I had to keep focus and stay on the study grind! Four years later, not much changed. Then I was in med school waking up to an anatomy atlas and going to bed with a physiology book. The grind!
2010, I was a young resident physician with a chip on my shoulder. At that time had just finished medical school and thought I knew how to manage patients. In my head, I had been reading about all sorts of medical conditions and I was capable of diagnosing and treating any and all diseases. WRONG! The first year as a physician was a reality check to how little I really knew! So what did I do about this? I spent countless hours in the hospital learning about my patients, reading about their diseases, and for lack of a better term…grindin!
Today, I am a first year fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care. Had you asked me 4 months ago if I was any good at taking care of patients with pulmonary problems or in the Intensive Care Unit I would answered with a fairly confident yes. But now I can tell you that most certainly is not the case. There is also more to learn in Medicine!
The past 11 years of my life have been consumed by the field of medicine. I have dedicated an immense number of hours to becoming the best physician I can be. Just when I think I’m getting near my goal I typically encounter a challenging patient and realize I will never get there! But that’s ok because it’s in those times that I remember, “in all labor there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23). For that reason I labor to learn more and more about the field of medicine. I labor to profit, not just for myself, but so that my patients may profit from what little knowledge I have! I keep on pushing to be the best doctor I can be! I stay on my grind…my mental grind that is!