Two Must Reads for the Aspiring Medical Professional

There are many reasons why people choose certain careers they hope will provide meaning, challenges, and joy. It can be a parent, sibling, best friend, film, or story that spoke to them and said, “yes, this is what you should do for the rest of your life.” Regardless of how fulfilled we are in our work, there will be times when we doubt, not just the choice, but ourselves.

Reading stories about physicians who have faced their own challenges, both personal and professional, offers a perspective that may motivate someone even more to excel in the field they have chosen, even when faith and hope grow dim.

  When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is one example.

The true beauty behind this memoir, is not just showing the amount of drive and heart it can take to become a doctor, but how the story itself will inspire us to live every day way above the average, even when mortality is pulling us down.

 Complications; A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande is another book full of essays worth the turn of every page.

Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as well as a staff writer at the New Yorker. This book of essays, which was also a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, captures the mystery of the science behind medicine. His honest words offer us some comfort with our own insecurities and fallibility. He reveals the frustration and heartache for both doctor and patient when answers escape us, but also the joy of wonder when we are happily surprised.

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