Do you know those people?
The ones who consistently stand out. The ones who get accolades from all angles. The ones who can do no wrong. The ones who you can’t even fault, because they are superb human beings as well as professional superheroes.
Trust me, I know those people. It’s hard not to feel a twinge of jealousy, especially since becoming a physician demands more than a tad of that “type A”, competitive edge personality.
I, as opposed to those people, fly under the radar. I’m a great doc, don’t get me wrong.
But I’m no superstar.
I’m no research junkie, or trauma superman, or critical care genius who knows how to use ECMO. Those MDs, they are amazing. I learn from them. I follow their lead. I appreciate that they are a few levels above me in terms of medical or academic know-how.
But I also appreciate my own skills.
I am that doctor who gives a shit. I am that doctor who will sit by the bedside in a crazy full ED and take one extra minute to hear my patient’s demented ramblings about who they were 50 years ago, and hold their hand while I do so.
I am the doctor that my support staff love to work with, because I am laid back (on the outside) but get it all done without anger or attitude.
I am the doctor that knows the nurses names, is friendly with the unit agents, smiles at the orderlies (who bring me soups and lunches and anything they think I need, because they like me).
But I am not the doctor who gets my face in the media photos, not the doctor who gives one liners to the press. I am not the doctor that my Chief sees as being an asset to the advancement of the department. I am not the doctor who gets high powered job offers. I am not the doctor who leads fellowships.
My husband said it best tonight, when I was tearful on the couch and trying to understand my role in my profession. He said, just as I am not the girl you date, I am the girl you marry, so am I not the doc who grabs the spotlight – rather I am the doc who is dependable and takes care of my patients well.
I am the doc you want when you come to the ED.
I have to learn to accept it.
I am not a superstar.
And maybe it’s better that way.