Last week Wednesday, a fresh set of doctors from the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria was inducted into the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria. It was the immediate induction after mine and my first as a registered medical doctor.
It happened that I personally knew a lot of persons who were getting inducted. At a time I thought, “This feels like my own induction.” Having played a significant role in the success story of some persons, I revelled in their accomplishment like it was mine.
– A set of happy, newly-inducted doctors. Spot me in the middle.
As a medical student
The induction ceremony was an event I looked forward to. Whenever I watched the new doctors pledge to the Hippocratic oath, I was motivated to study harder; to push through and become a medical doctor. Being present was always inspiring for me.
I also noticed how loud or silent the ovation was for different persons when they were called up to the podium. The intensity of the ovation was a reflection of the impact they had on others during their stay in the university. I tried to identify some factors that may explain this. Giving back, in form of teaching the younger colleagues, being a student leader and being an active member of an association, usually CMDA or FECAMDS were the three top factors I identified.
Another highlight of the ceremony for me was when the best graduating doctors in various courses were called up to be recognized. I enjoyed listening to the class valedictorian read her speech.
On the induction before mine, I cried. It seemed weird to me and I remember teasing myself, “So, you are in the category of people that cry on their wedding day.” That made me blush. I also remember chuckling at how funny I’d look when I went up to be sworn in with a smeared face because I couldn’t hold in my emotions. I cried because I could relate to their struggle and also anticipate the joy that comes from triumph.
My induction as a medical doctor stands out as the best day of my life yet. When I was having my makeup done in the morning, it felt like my wedding day. A colleague of mine voiced a similar feeling, and I also heard of a doctor who said, after being married, that his induction was still the best day of his life.
The ovation when I was called up to be sworn in was not loud. It was easy to see why. I was not involved in teaching the younger colleagues, I did not run for any leadership position and was neither a part of CMDA nor FECAMDS. My impact was little or nothing, but that is changing.
I did not get any award either. I felt an infinitesimal amount of disappointment for my parents who might have been delighted at the event but I focused on this:
– Photo credit: @yourstudymate on Instagram
I was thankful for where I was and where I was headed; without God’s mercy and goodness I would not be where I was nor still hold dreams of where I was headed.
I didn’t cry. I was mostly excited, then sober and tried to pay attention to the words of advice given to us on the day. “Be focused. Know what you want and go for it,” one of the speakers admonished.
The day ended with me feeling ecstatic. I was overwhelmed with the love that was shown to me and found myself repeatedly saying aloud at night, “I am a doctor. I am now a doctor.” It was a surreal feeling.
As a medical doctor
It was beautiful seeing my friends pledge to the Hippocratic oath.
Indeed, everything that has a beginning has an end, and as the bible put it, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning.”
The highlight for the newly inducted doctors is usually when the provost of the College of Health Sciences addresses them as her colleagues, no longer students. That makes me realize that the difference between medical students and medical doctors is time.
Now, I see every medical student as a potential doctor. “Isn’t that what they are and what the training is about?” you may ask. It became more real to me in the past weeks and will positively influence my training of medical students. I will teach them with respect, love and understanding.
I observed at the last induction that some persons let the strain from medical school steal their joy. No doubt, the journey to becoming a doctor takes longer, can be more tortuous and harder for some, but I think it is all worth it in the end. NOTHING should steal your joy that day. You are a victor, don’t you see?
The dominant emotions, however, are happiness and pride, both on the part of the newly inducted doctors and their family and friends.
My dad often says that being a doctor is a calling. I’ll like to add that it is a higher calling. One of service and selflessness.
As you pledge to the Hippocratic oath, the sacredness of the oath should guide your conduct and practice.
I also noticed that the inductees were instructed to say, ” I, Dr. *insert doctor’s name,* hereby affirm the PLEDGE I have just taken. So help me God.” As opposed to saying OATH.
For whatever reason it was altered, it does not diminish the sacredness of the Hippocratic oath and goes to show that the medical profession is in a constant state of evolution and that in itself is impressive.