My best advice for physicians in 3 minutes

Last week I spoke at a residency retreat. A surgery resident asked for my big take-home message. Here it is (and this applies to everyone on the planet not just medical students and physicians).

Remember the dreams you had as a young adult. If you’re a medical student or physician, please dig out your personal statement that you wrote on the way into medical school. Read it again. Remember why it is that you’re doing all of this. They say that if you know the why you can survive almost any how (meaning you can survive almost any terrible day in the hospital or clinic if you’re fueled by your passion).

What fuels us is the image that we all had before we entered our chosen profession. When you entered surgery residency, you had a certain passion, a certain image of what you would eventually be doing. If that is serving poor people in Arkansas, please start planning how you will get to Arkansas and serve your chosen patients. If you want to do international health, start planning that now. Don’t wait until you graduate. Don’t think someone is going to come present you with your dream on a silver platter. You have to manifest your dream yourself and you’re the only one who can do it. Your residency program can’t do this for you.

Residency programs (and graduate schools of all kinds) can encourage you at intervals simply by asking, “what’s your dream?” Your advisor should ask you, “how are we doing on getting you to your goal of being a rural surgeon in Nebraska (like you said when you came in)?” I don’t think programs do this. Yet it’s so easy. And it costs nothing. 

Best Advice

My take-home message for everyone is don’t let your dreams die.

First find your own dream and start asking your colleagues, “what’s your dream?” That’s something anyone can do. Each day make it a habit to ask at least one of your colleagues, “Hey, if you could have anything when you graduate tell me what’s your dream? Tell me about your ideal practice. These conversations help us remember who we are and where we’re going in life. Plus the more people you share your dream with, the more expansive your dream will become. Need help? Contact me.

Please read “7 strategies to live your dream.” Attend our upcoming Live Your Dream Retreat for medical students and physicians. Contact Dr. Wible for scholarships.

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4 comments on “My best advice for physicians in 3 minutes

    This is how I keep myself moving forward. I take out my dreams and polish them every day. Every time the process of getting there gets painful, or someone changes the rules in the middle of the game, or I find out that I have even less power over my life during training than my already meager expectation…

    I take my dream out of the place where I keep it safe, and I shine it up bright. I make it big and warm and hopeful, and it heals me and keeps me climbing. Whatever they do to me, they can’t touch my dream. Only I can let it fade, and I will not.

    Thank you for sharing this wisdom with others who need to hear it. It really is the best advice.

    Much love!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Yes, it is the best advice for anyone on the planet. Essentially, don’t forget why you were born. We all have a unique purpose and a legacy to leave . . .

  2. Gail Olson says:

    Thank you!!

  3. Parker John says:

    The blog encourages individuals, particularly medical students and physicians, to reflect on their initial dreams and motivations for entering the medical profession. It emphasizes the importance of remembering the “why” behind their chosen path, suggesting that this sense of purpose can help them endure the challenges they might face in their careers.
    I appreciate you for imparting this valuable wisdom to those who may benefit from it. It truly constitutes excellent advice.
    “Curious about the unsung heroes of healthcare? Dive into our blog on our website to uncover the fascinating world of virtual medical scribes and their vital role in patient care.”

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