School of Medicine graduates ready to make positive impactMay. 15, 2014, 9:33 AM
At last week’s Commencement, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Class of 2014 was charged with focusing on developing relationships with their patients and stepping up as leaders in their profession while making a positive impact in health care.
“The relationships that you form with your patients as they respond to your efforts to cure disease will be among your greatest joys,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
“The clinician-patient relationship is all about two human beings coming together in a profoundly meaningful way. In that relationship I believe our role is to provide comfort, whatever form that takes.
“Use everything we have taught you and everything you have experienced here to begin the journey — one patient at a time — building your approach and transforming our health care system.”
It is exactly what the class promised when they recited their Oath.
As customary for the graduating class, the students personalize the Hippocratic Oath to fit their social, ethical, spiritual and professional goals.
“In every challenge,” the oath reads, “I will see opportunity and diligently strive to advance medical science and improve health care systems to keep my patients safe and healthy,” the students recited.
Shannon Skinner, M.D., a Texas native, will continue at Vanderbilt in the Internal Medicine residency program.
“I have thought a lot about what makes a good doctor,” said Skinner. “No two doctors are the same. I want to be a good doctor, but I also don’t have to follow a particular mold to be like somebody else. I get to find my own version of a good doctor.
“I find myself going back to a mantra my mother uses — confident, competent and compassionate. All of those are equally important in my journey as a doctor.”
Andrew Medvecz, M.D., who came to Vanderbilt just three weeks prior to the start of the academic year as a wait-list student, is looking forward to continuing on at Vanderbilt as a General Surgery resident.
“I struggle to find something more valuable than a person’s life,” Medvecz said. “Being a physician allows me to be in service and
help people who are hurting. I can have a role in helping patients and families through a potentially difficult time.”
Balser assured the newest class of physicians that they are well prepared to lead.
“As your professional careers unfold, whatever the situation and whatever the odds, we are counting on you to do what you can,” Balser said.
“Others will watch you…even when you are unaware, they will model their behavior after yours. As you do this — lead in the difficult, sometimes gut-wrenching, cases where outcome depends not on your medical knowledge, but on a question of conscience — you will change the world.”
Founder’s Medalist Sarah Scott, M.D., cannot recall the point in time when she decided medicine was in her future, but said as she thought about her strengths and interests her career path always came back to being a doctor.
She hopes to become a dual hospitalist once she completes her Medicine-Pediatrics residency at Vanderbilt.
“I want to take it one step at a time,” said Scott of her transition into residency. “And in five to 10 years my priority will be the same — to be in an academic environment and working with people who are excited and passionate about what they are doing.
“I don’t know where that will be and I don’t know exactly what that will look like, but I know I will be surrounded by people who are all in, committed and making a difference,” Scott said.