In my professionalism small groups class this morning, we were talking about altruism and began discussing our reasons for becoming a doctor. I thought it would be nice to share why I did.
Ever since I was 5 years old, I wanted to be a doctor. My class today, however, got me thinking even more about why I choose this path. My first memory with a family member being sick is when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. My great-grandmother was ill at the time and was going to the bathroom. I was told to watch her while she was in the bathroom. I remember her falling and hitting her head on the corner of the sink. then I remember her being rushed away in the ambulance. My memories of her after that are of visiting her in a nursing home until she died. I also remember crying so much after we got the news of her death and wishing my mom had lied to me and didn’t tell me about it. The thought of it still bothers me to this day. I think it left such an impression on me, being so young and helpless and unable to do anything for my great-grandmother, that, subconsciously, I decided that I wanted to help others.
The next influence on me was my mother being diagnosed with cancer. Again, I felt helpless to do anything to help her. I had to leave her in the hands of the wonderful physicians who took very good care of her. Now, she’s healthy and well.
Lastly, I worked as a research assistant for a Congestive Heart Failure study where I experienced how an illness can affected the lives of those with an illness, as well as the lives of their families. I realized that I wanted to help people get their lives back by treating their disease.
I believe all these factors, and possibly others, played a role in my decision to become a physician.