Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
Rounds were over—finally—and I was exhausted. I kept reminding
myself that every July is the same. The new interns and students were both
petrified and striving to make a good impression, which translated into long
and sometimes painful bedside rounds.
There was, however, a bright spot, and her name was Kelli. A third-year
student assigned to our oncology service as her first rotation, Kelli offered
refreshing enthusiasm, charm, and encouragement daily to her patients. But
today something was different. She came to me and asked for a few minutes
to talk behind closed doors. Almost immediately she began to weep and between
sobs she laid her heart before me: "I feel so inadequate. The only thing I have to offer is my compassion. But now I wonder what
my words can mean as I look at Sheila. It's all so overwhelming. I'm not sure
I can keep doing this."
Lynch, Jr JW. Regaining Compassion. JAMA. 1998;279(18):1422. doi:10.1001/jama.279.18.1422