Let’s say you are on an airplane flying to your vacation. Suddenly, you hear “are there any doctors aboard this airplane?” As a medical student, you are faced with a conundrum: Do you speak up or simply remain silent? There are only two options, and no matter what you do, you’re making a choice. A fellow medical student and dear friend recently shared his experience when I asked him the question: What would you do?
He said, “Well, I actually I was faced with a situation like that early on in medical school.” His choice was to say he was a medical student and that was able to take vital signs and do very basic things with the patient on an airplane.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when asking yourself what you would do. What is your experience and level as a medical student? Are you just starting med school or are you in your last week?
The abilities you have widely vary depending on where you are in your career. The other issue is the tools you have to work with. Even if you are very capable of solving the problem, you might lack instruments, medications, and other necessary equipment.
Independently of these concerns, we are studying to become medical doctors. On a personal level, I think that we should do something to help. I mean that is what we are studying for, isn’t it? If you choose not to help, you will always have the thought “What if I had? What if?” If you are in an early stage in your career, maybe you should just let the people around you know that you can help but may be limited. Be sincere and state that you are willing to help.
Sometimes, this can go a long way. You might not be able to solve everything, but doing what is within your abilities is what is important.
Let me know what your thoughts on this are! Have you ever been in a situation like this? What did you do?