On my PBS tour, I had lunch with health blogger James Clear, who is studying for his MCATs and wants to go to medical school. James and I have been talking about his desire to go to medical school for a while. As a successful entrepreneur with a strong sense of self and a calling to medicine, James once asked me whether I thought it was possible to go through medical training without getting your spirit broken. I told him I think it’s possible. It’s hard. But possible. As I wrote about here, it’s easy to wind up with PTSD after your medical training. But if anyone has the mettle to survive medical training unbroken, it’s James.
But I thought I’d call in the troops to help support James as he embarks upon this journey. To build a support team for James, I introduced James to my friend Aviva Romm, who I met about six years ago, right after I had left my conventional medical job. (Read this blog I wrote about Aviva here.) At the time, Aviva was midwife, a published author, and a faculty member of Dr. Andrew Weil’s integrative medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona who decided to leave behind her flourishing career in order to go to medical school. When we first met, Aviva was a medical student struggling to keep her soul at Yale Medical School. Having survived the journey, Aviva is now an amazing physician who works at Mark Hyman’s integrative medicine center.
When I asked Aviva if she had any words of wisdom for James, she wrote the following letter, and it’s so beautiful I wanted to share it in case there are any other aspiring medical students out there who want reassurance that it’s possible to become a doctor without getting your spirit broken.
Take it away Aviva!
A Love Letter To Aspiring Medical Students
I don’t know that you can avoid exposure to potentially traumatic experiences in medical training. But I think you can avoid being traumatized in a permanent way. In fact, I think feeling the trauma in the system actually helps us understand and transform it. Yes, there is a lot of potential for trauma. I embraced the experience and found very low levels of trauma for myself, but I witnessed a lot and certainly experienced some myself. Read More→