The skill that we were trained for was examining respiratory function of a patient. It was our second session, so we were supposed to revise the materials which have been taught on the earlier session and be graded for it. BCS sessions in my uni are stereotyped to being hardly punctual, because the tutors (who happen to be doctors) almost always come late (or never come at all after two hours of waiting in vain and so it often ends to reschedule). With that experience, I somehow tend to make a late appearance, including on today's session.
*me rushing to the BCS class carrying my lab coat on one hand and a plastic bowl of Instant Ind*mie on the other, I was two minutes late because I forgot that I had a BCS session that day and so I didn't bring my lab coat (which was required for us to wear throughout the session) so I had to buy one (yes, I bought one) (what? I don't really own a decent lab coat, most of 'em have undergone a gradual shift of color*
I was really surprised to see that the tutor for that evening actually came on time. Frankly, I was hoping he'd be checking in late because I haven't reviewed the topics. Oh God, I felt that I was doomed.
I knocked and he let me in peacefully. There were supposed to be seven students in the class but it appeared that I wasn't the last one to be late. Minutes later, the rest had walked in and taken their seats. And the doctor (who had never stopped interacting during the whole waiting, mostly was asking about who, in our class, was from Malaysia) finally addressed to us all in a moderate tone but sounding not any less convincing,
"You know, you students are about to become doctors. You aren't supposed to be late. Ever. Just imagine if one day, your patient is already dealing with chest pain, dizziness, nausea, and all other grueling symptoms and has to endure long for you to be present, and yet you come to face him knowing that you're already late, in a very relaxed manner. That is very unethical."
He spoke not in a strict demeanor, but more like a person who strongly believes in his principles, and strongly believes that they are beneficent. Truthfully, I fell into immediate respect towards this tutor, who stood up for something which had to be corrected in us. Unlike other tutors who, let alone letting those acts go by, barely attend the session befittingly. I was pretty sure we were all aware of the emphasis of being on time. In fact, I was sure that most of the time we do know the good qualities that shape us into a better individual, but nevertheless, most of us tend to think that we'd be given another moment in life to shape ourselves better.
"Let's begin. This is your second session, correct? So, prior to this, you have been introduced to performing physical examination of the respiratory tract, then. Who was your tutor?"
Silence. *seven foreheads frowning, hopelessly trying to recall the name of the tutor*
"How can you not know your tutor's name? Do you recognize me or not?", he asked, his beholding eyes towards me. His latter question wasn't indicating that he wished to be acknowledged, even though I did sense that he wasn't just any doctor, or any person. It was purely an appropriate question.
"Um..", I hesitated. He did look familiar. I think. But I took too long to think. And I didn't know why others fell into deep silence as well.
"Okay. I want one of you to step out right now, and find out about my name," he decided, "Now."
I wasn't the one sitting closest to the door, but my reflex was bizarrely the fastest. I somehow felt ashamed of not knowing the name of the person who was assigned to provide me knowledge of skills that I needed to master, to save at least a single soul of a patient in my later professional years.
I headed briskly to the BCS administration office, which was located right next to my class so it was a brief journey, searched through the files like a mad investigator, then I found the suspect's name: Prof. dr. M****** R****. But that wasn't just it, I had to look up our previous tutor's name as well, out of curiosity.
"After examining the trachea of the patient, how do you report your findings?", asked Prof. M.
A friend of mine, gave attempt in answering, "We.. state that it's normal and –"
"Normal? What defines normality?", he interrupted.
"You can't say it is normal. Because all of us are created in variety, including our trachea. None of us is normal. But that doesn't mean we're abnormal; we just vary. So, what you have to do is just simply elucidate what you see, what you feel, trust your senses."
There is no tracheal deviation.
"Learning is habit. So make a habit out of what you learn."
"Treat your patient exactly like how you want your doctors to treat you."
I trust that every incidence, no matter the magnitude (big or small), that happen in our daily life, contribute in changing, developing a part of ourselves into becoming who we are today.