This collection marks the first anthology of essays and poems written by the medical students at the University of Minnesota Medical School on their journeys to becoming doctors. Most of the entries were written as part of a required medical school course, “Becoming a Doctor”. I am moved by the notion that reflecting and then capturing those reflections in prose or poetry is an integral part of what it means to “become a doctor” at the University of Minnesota.
I am even more moved by the stories themselves. I have had the privilege to read these essays over the past three years, and always come away with the same conclusions: 1) our students are impressive ethnographers-they are committed to observing to learn to that they may work to improve the human condition; 2) we are all fallible- how we deal with that fallibility makes all the difference; and 3) relationships are the key to healing-with our patients, each other, and ultimately, ourselves.
I am certain the poems and stories you are about to read will resonate in different ways with each of you. They may awaken feelings of joy, sorrow, or bitter sweetness. You might conjure images of a relative, friend, or yourself in the stories they tell. They may well evoke laughter, tears, or both. In each entry is an opportunity to read, listen, and grow. I am already excited for all of you for what lies ahead in these pages, and forever grateful to those who contributed. As I read these pages, I can only be optimistic for the future of medicine, and comforted in the knowledge that you will all be there to care for me in the years ahead.
With profound gratitude,
Bob Englander, MD
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education