Emotion Opinion Poetry

A poem

With our white coats on we feel the aura of pressure.
Pressure to be professional, to act accordingly.
We walk through the hospital with our heads held high, knowing we have a duty.

Tossing our white coats aside, true personalities shine through.
Most are gleaming of kindness and enthusiasm to learn,
Others are tainted.
These souls strive to reach a level of professionalism behind their white cloak,
but fail to reach expectations while unhidden.

What I see frightens me,
because these individuals will one day be responsible for the lives of others.
They lie to professors to get what they want.
They come to mandatory sessions, only to depart minutes later.
They cheat.
They sell prescription drugs.
They abuse prescription drugs.
They get intimate in the study spaces.
They do it all with a cheerful face.

What I see frightens me,
because I never want to be like them.

What can be done?
I’ve tried to approach them,
it ended friendships.
Administration knows,
yet I see no change.

Perhaps most terrifying,
these individuals exist at all medical schools.
They hide amongst the rest of us,
polluting the image of our profession.

So here I stand, turning a blind eye,
but what can I do?
I can’t change the mindset of others.
I can’t change their actions.

I only hope they aren’t my doctor.

Featured image:
Rainbow pollution by gambler20


For Med17: Thank you.

I find a glimmer of light.
It is the shape of a keyhole
and wavers. I crawl
blindly in a sudden desperate desire
to find the lock
and the source of light that is behind it.
The keys in my pocket jangle.

When I am in the hospital I am a stranger
amongst other strangers. Only
because I am wearing a white coat
I am supposed to know where
to go. The hallways bustle with white noise.
I hug myself and move quickly so no one
can see me shaking.

There are several keys in my pocket.
Keys made to open to secure
to keep safe to rescue.
Keys that are purposeful and always always
come with a lock. But there
one key is still being formed
is new and raw
is lockless.

The streets are full of ice
and wherever I step
the dark glimmer cracks.
I feel that if I am not careful
I may miscalculate a step and then
the crystal surface of my confidence
will collapse, will bring me ankle-deep
in barely frozen water rushing unintuitively upwards
rising into my socks past my white coat
soaking my barely used scrubs
ice-water surging towards my knees
femur gasping in its acetabulum
thoracic spine shaking
like a suffocating fish.
I am drowning in the thought that
I am not enough.
The snowbanks drip in the sunlight
and sparkle.

I sit amidst all my past and present identities
and begin to make out a new one ahead.
It is mirrored in the M4s: knowledgeable mature
scruffy in a responsible doctor-like way.
Will I too become like them?
I am not afraid of how I might change but rather
what I will lose after a year in the hospital.
The lock to my growing key remains unknown.
And yet, I sense its existence—
a path of light filtering through the darkness
towards me…

…and you too. Your light
your key
your lock
our journey.

Med17: thank you
for the past two years
and for the years to come.
I have my key in one hand
and your hands in the other
as we search for our hidden locks together. We walk
and look and celebrate when one of us finds a lock that fits
that opens up a bright new world of excitement.
Where will you be?
Where will I? Only time and walking and sharing together will tell.
And the doors one day will open
leading to new rooms and new doors
and our keys will jangle
like the sound of clapping hands
like the sound of many smiles
breaking ice.


Featured image courtesy of Stephanie Wang Zuo