Perseverance: Our Pledge & My Challenge to Fellows
Guest Blogger Fidelis O. Mkparu, MD, FASNC, pens an encouraging article for our Fellows-in-Training.The Memory That Keeps Me Going
On a summer evening in 1993, four advanced cardiac imaging fellows set out for a walk by the banks of the Charles River in Boston. We were on a quest to discover our new city after a busy day. The allure of a river close to the hospital led us to a pedestrian path on the Boston side. On our mission to nowhere in particular, we followed the path, bantering with each other while admiring the lush greenery and prototypical boat houses. A carefree moment for us, until fatigue set in. Conversation dwindled, and our pace slowed. Giving in to the heat and humidity, we sat down. Our eyes on the ground, it must have appeared we had given up, defeated.
Soon cheers erupted from across the river. Looking up, I saw two rowing teams making extra efforts to compete. Coordinated exertion by dedicated but spent men in the quest to reach their goal. I saw determined teammates ignoring their fatigue and the humidity to persevere. Each was contributing to their success and none of them giving up. We stood and approached the river. Admiring their determination to complete the race, we joined in cheering for them. It felt natural. Our support for perseverance. For never quitting.
En route back to the hospital, we walked faster and occasionally sprinted with sudden, energetic passion. Our disposition was influenced by the determination of the rowing teams.
Never Give Up
At many times in ensuing 25 years, I have shared that experience with medical students, residents, fellows, and attending physicians as I encourage them never to abandon medicine if it is their passion—even if the challenges feel overwhelming. My charge is to muster the courage and determination to tackle the challenges we face, including resolving insurance preauthorization issues, learning electronic medical records software, and working longer hours for less money.
Our goal should be to never give up. We find solutions to problems by focusing on clinical competency to deliver quality care and achieve better outcomes for patients. Our commitment to persevere has resulted in immense advances in medicine. Newer pharmaceuticals, interventional techniques, better imaging modalities, improved medical devices, an expanded medical knowledge. All of these are, in general, the results of dedication and a commitment to excellence.
Fellows, make it your goal to practice kindness, embrace lifelong learning, accept the challenges of learning new skills, and commit to providing competent medical care—and to do all of these with fervor. Even with your busy clinical schedules, devote some time to the education of our future healthcare providers.
When challenges emerge in your work or life, avoid solutions that would be harmful to your patients. To avoid doing harm, embrace perseverance. Never forget, your commitment is to provide the best medical care to your patients, no matter what it takes. At all times, your purpose is to provide competent medical care. Quitting is not part of the commitment you have made.
Through perseverance, you will experience the profound joy of knowing that your patients are trusting you with their lives and that you are making every effort to improve the quality of their lives.
Fidelis O. Mkparu, MD, FASNC, is a cardiologist based in Canton, Ohio,
and an associate professor of medicine at NEOMED in Roostown.
He is the author of the award-winning novels,"Love's Affliction" and "Tears Before Exaltation."
He penned this challenge to cardiology fellows.